Episode 14: Smash Palace (1981)

“She’s my daughter and I’ll do what I like!” hollers the tagline (and main character) of Roger Donaldson’s Smash Palace, a searing indictment of Kiwi masculinity, and the film that shot Bruno Lawrence to stardom. This week, Never Repeats looks back at Smash Palace to discuss the film itself, how it holds up 35 years on, and how it almost never got made in the first place.

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Smash PalaceDirector and Producer: Roger Donaldson
Associate Producer: Larry Parr
Screenplay: Roger Donaldson
Director of Photography: Graeme Cowley
Editor: Michael Horton
Music: Sharon O’Neill

Cast:
Al Shaw…
Bruno Lawrence
Jacqui Shaw…Anna Jemison
Georgie Shaw…Greer Robson
Ray Foley…Keith Aberdein
Tiny…Desmond Kelly
Frank…Sean Duffy

Notes:

  • Sadly, Smash Palace appears to currently be out-of-print on DVD. If you’re interested in owning a copy, the second-hand market is the way to go and NZ Videos can give you some tips on what to look for. If you live in New Zealand your local video rental store (if you still have one) should hopefully have a copy.
  • Thankfully the lovely restored version is available to rent or buy through the NZ Film On Demand website. It’s currently the best way to watch the film, until somebody gets around to releasing a Blu-Ray.
  • If you want to take a look at reviews of Smash Palace, both old and new, there are plenty of interesting links over at NZ Videos.
  • Want more Bruno Lawrence? Numero Bruno, a doco about his life and work, is available to watch in full at NZ On Screen.
  • A lengthy account of the making of Smash Palace, written to celebrate the film’s 30th anniversary, is available on the NZ Herald website. It includes a wonderful anecdote that we forgot to mention in this episode, regarding Bruno’s appearance at the 1982 Manila Film Festival.
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