Tag Archives: John Meillon

Crocodile Dundee (1986, Peter Faiman)

When Crocodile Dundee starts, it’s deceptively bold. For roughly the first half of the picture, Linda Kozlowski–without any previous theatrical credits on her filmography–is the protagonist. She’s not really believable as a tenacious newspaper reporter, but she works as Jane to Paul Hogan’s Tarzan. Sorry, Mick Dundee.

During that first half, when Dundee is the odd couple trekking across the Australian wilderness, Hogan is at his best. He’s playing what should be a comic role with complete seriousness. The approach endears Hogan so much he can survive the rocky second half, when the couple heads to New York for Kozlowski to show off her caveman.

Hogan’s able to survive the vague racism, bad soundtrack and mean-spirited homophobia. He’s so charming, one doesn’t even want to blame him… even though Hogan co-wrote the script.

Kozlowski, however, doesn’t do so well in the New York parts. She’s saddled with a boring boyfriend–Mark Blum is terrible–and a boring father. The father, played by Michael Lombard (who’s bad), shows up just to give the movie a couple more scenes. The writers clearly ran out of content for the New York half.

Director Faiman misuses the Panavision frame enough one has to think he was thinking about the inevitable VHS release, though there is a great tracking shot at the end of Central Park. His cinematographer, Russell Boyd, does a wonderful job, saving the visuals.

Peter Best’s score is sometimes sublime, sometimes awful.

Dundee is half a good comedy.

1.5/4★½

CREDITS

Directed by Peter Faiman; screenplay by John Cornell, Paul Hogan and Ken Shadie, based on a story by Hogan; director of photography, Russell Boyd; edited by David Stiven; music by Peter Best; production designer, Graham ‘Grace’ Walker; produced by Cornell; released by Hoyts Distribution.

Starring Paul Hogan (Mick Dundee), Linda Kozlowski (Sue Charlton), John Meillon (Walter Reilly), Mark Blum (Richard Mason), David Gulpilil (Neville Bell), Michael Lombard (Sam Charlton) and Reginald VelJohnson (Gus).


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Crocodile Dundee II (1988, John Cornell)

Crocodile Dundee II isn’t really a comedy. It’s an action movie with a lot of comic moments, but it’s not a comedy. Figuring out how it’s going to not be a comedy–since it’s a sequel to a successful comedy after all–is one of its biggest problems. Director Cornell and writers Paul Hogan and Brett Hogan take about half the movie to figure it out and, by the time they do, it doesn’t really matter anymore.

The movie opens with Paul Hogan still in New York with girlfriend Linda Kozlowski. He’s still being a fun-loving Aussie, but she’s getting bored (this subplot goes nowhere). He’s got a new buddy–Charles S. Dutton, who’s sort of good, sort of not–but longs for a return to the bush. But Dundee II isn’t about Hogan returning to Australia… it’s about Kozlowski’s past getting them involved with South American drug dealers.

It’s an eighties sequel so there are drug dealers. It’s a sequel so Kozlowski, the protagonist for the original, is reduced to a damsel in distress. Dundee II stumbles into all the traditional sequel pitfalls.

But then the second half, with Hogan playing games–in the Australian bush–with the drug dealers and their thugs, is great. It easily makes up for the rocky first half.

Hechter Ubarry is terrible as the drug dealer; the rest of the supporting cast makes up for him.

Nice score from Peter Best (except when he’s too action-oriented).

Dundee‘s a lot of fun.

2.5/4★★½

CREDITS

Directed by John Cornell; screenplay by Paul Hogan and Brett Hogan, based on characters created by Paul Hogan; director of photography, Russell Boyd; edited by David Stiven; music by Peter Best; production designer, Lawrence Eastwood; produced by Cornell and Jane Scott; released by Paramount Pictures.

Starring Paul Hogan (Mick Dundee), Linda Kozlowski (Sue Charlton), Charles S. Dutton (Leroy Brown), Hechter Ubarry (Luis Rico), Juan Fernández (Miguel), Dennis Boutsikaris (Bob Tanner), Ernie Dingo (Charlie), Kenneth Welsh (Brannigan) and John Meillon (Walter Reilly).


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They’re a Weird Mob (1966, Michael Powell)

I could have gone forever without knowing the Archers (Pressburger wrote the film under a pseudonym) were capable of such a piece of shit. They’re a Weird Mob is not about gangsters–specifically small time gangsters, which is what I thought–it’s about Australians, as seen by a recent Italian immigrant.

It’s really, really bad.

Oddly, the acting is fine, it’s the writing. I sat through the film blaming the writing without knowing it was Pressburger. I have no idea what happened to him. The insightful, human dialogue that defines the other Archers’ films is missing here. It’s not even a real film, it’s a travel commercial for Australia–where the men drink and the women lose… Oddly, according to what I’m reading, the film’s financial success lead to the creation of an Australian film industry (Australia makes some really good films these days, once they got rid of Weir anyway).

This film is also the last Archers’ film. Pressburger came on to sort on the screenplay issues after Powell signed to do it. John Ford made some bad films, lots of them actually (anything to do with the calvary really), but I always had the Archers on a pedestal. I had thought that Peeping Tom was Powell’s last before the 1970s, that he and Pressburger had already broken up.

I’m glad to point out that this film has no US release–ever, apparently. No VHS, no LaserDisc, no nothing. The UK doesn’t have it either. So it’s only folks in Australia that need fear seeing this film and having all their high opinions of Powell and Pressburger tarnished. It’s a really sad end to the greatest filmmaking duo. Sad….

1/4

CREDITS

Produced and directed by Michael Powell; screenplay by Emeric Pressburger, from the novel by John O’Grady; director of photography, Arthur Grant; edited by Gerald Turney-Smith; music by Alan Boustead and Lawrence Leonard; released by Z.

Starring Walter Chiari (Nino Culotta), Clare Dunne (Kay Kelly), Chips Rafferty (Harry Kelly), Alida Chelli (Giuliana), Ed Devereaux (Joe Kennedy), Slim DeGrey (Pat), John Meillon (Dennis) and Charles Little (Jimmy).