Episode 12: The Films of John O’Shea (Part Two)

In the second part of our two-part retrospective on the films of John O’Shea we talk about the 1966 musical comedy Don’t Let It Get You, starring the great Howard Morrison, and talk about the early years of Pacific Films, the trailblazing company with which O’Shea created his legacy.

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Don't Let It Get YouDirector and producer: John O’Shea
Screenplay: Joseph Musaphia
Director of Photography: Anthony Williams
Editor: John O’Shea
Musical Director: Patrick Flynn

Cast:
Howard Morrison
(as himself)
Gary Wallace (as himself)
Judith Beech…Carmen Duncan
William Broadhead…Harry Lavington
Australia’s Queen of the Surf…Tanya Binning
Mrs. Beech…Alma Woods
With special guest stars…Normie Rowe, Ernie Leonard

Notes:

  • Thankfully, Don’t Let It Get You is available to watch in full at NZ On Screen. It’s never had a home video release, which is a great pity, but at least there’s an easy way to see it.
  • If you want to know more about the life and work of John O’Shea, his autobiography Don’t Let It Get You: Memories – Documents is a great read. It’s oddly structured, constantly veering off onto different trains of thought, but engaging nonetheless. It can be bought directly from the publisher Victoria University Press, and should also be held by most New Zealand libraries.
  • One of the musical stars in Don’t Let It Get You has actually been mentioned in this podcast before, though at the time we had no idea who he was. Lew Pryme was briefly name-checked in our episode about Squeeze as co-owner of one of the nightclubs that film was shot in. While many would remember Pryme as a pop singer, manager, and the influential executive director of the Auckland Rugby Union during the ’80s – most will probably remember him as one of the few high-profile New Zealanders to die from complications relating to AIDS. He remained in the closet until his death in 1990 at the age of 51. A documentary crew was allowed to make a film about him during the last months of his life, under the condition that it would only be screened after he had passed. That film, Lew Pryme – Welcome to my World, can be watched at NZ On Screen. Lew Pryme was far enough before our time that neither of us had heard of him, and he managed to slip through the cracks of our research when we recorded this episode. We regret not talking about him more – he’s a fascinating figure – and recommend you watch that documentary.
  • Turns out that Don’t Let It Get You did get a soundtrack release in 1966 on the His Master’s Voice label. Probably rare as hen’s teeth these days, so worth keeping an eye out for.
  • Ngā Taonga holds an extensive collection of documents and artefacts related to Pacific Films, some of which were on display during the retrospective at which we watched these films in 2015. Those items included original posters, part of the backdrop built for the climactic concert in Don’t Let It Get You, and the actual camera with which Roger Mirams shot Broken Barrier!
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