Since we laid out our hopes and expectations for the Goodbye Pork Pie remake back in our episode about that film, we thought we’d quickly check in to share our thoughts on how Pork Pie turned out. Is it a satisfying update for our modern age? Spoiler alert: no.
Our look at the 1977 mini-series The Governor comes to an end as Hayden and L.J. discuss the production of the show, the budget controversy and ensuing enquiry, and what the TV landscape looked like at the time, as well as the show’s lasting importance and the logistical problems preventing it from being commercially screened or released.
As preperation for our upcoming look at Utu, we ring in 2017 by dissecting the (in)famous TV mini-series The Governor. A sprawling historical drama covering over half a century, The Governor explores the life and career of Sir George Grey – twice Governor and 11th Premier of New Zealand, and arguably the most influential figure in the country’s early colonial years. Split into six self-contained feature-length parts, the series explores Grey’s legacy and personality by examining the impact he has on the lives of others. This week we discuss the first three episodes: ‘The Reverend Traitor’, ‘No Way To Treat A Lady’, and ‘The Mutinous Lieutenant’.
For our last episode of the year, we’re rounding off 1982 by taking a look at Mike Newell’s disturbing Bad Blood, a dramatisation of the infamous 12-day manhunt for Koiterangi farmer Stan Graham. Socially isolated, increasingly paranoid, and in serious financial trouble, Graham and his wife Dot react aggresively when their rifle is requisitioned by local authorities for the war effort. As their behaviour begins to threaten the wider community, an attempt by police to control the situation leads to a tragic outburst of violence.
Director: Mike Newell Producer: Andrew Brown Screenplay: Andrew Brown based on ‘Manhunt – The Story of Stanley Graham’ by Howard Willis
Director of photography: Gary Hansen Editor: Peter Hollywood
Stanley Graham…Jack Thompson Dorothy Graham…Carol Burns Ted Best…Dennis Lill Les North…Martyn Sanderson Trev Bond…Marshall Napier Inspector Creswell…Bruce Allpress Jim Quirke…Kelly Johnson
The Australian DVD release of Bad Blood appears to be out of print – it is no longer listed on the Umbrella Entertainment website. It shouldn’t be too hard to track down though. Check out NZ Videos for more information, and if all else fails keep an eye on second-hand auction sites. A DVD is available from Simply Media in the UK, but we’re unable to vouch for the quality of it. It is most likely a port of the Australian transfer.
When your Dad carks it on a trip to Wellington, but your inheritance relies on him dying on the farm in Marlborough, what on earth can you do about it? That’s the problem facing Grant Tilly and Kelly Johnson in John Reid’s Carry Me Back, a raucous corpse-toting farce that gives Hayden and L.J. a bit more than they bargained for.
Director: John Reid Producer: Graeme Cowley Screenplay: Derek Morton, Keith Aberdein, John Reid Story: Joy Cowley Director of photography: Graeme Cowley Editors: Simon Reece, Michael Horton
Arthur Donovan…Grant Tilly Jamie Donovan…Kelly Johnson Aunty Bird…Dorothy McKegg TK Donovan…Derek Hardwick Girl…Joanne Mildenhall
The company that produced the DVD of Carry Me Back no longer has any internet presence, and the DVD appears to be officially out-of-print. Copies are still for sale through Aro Video and more information is available from NZ Videos. If you can’t find a copy of the DVD, fear not, the film is available to rent and buy in HD from NZ Film On Demand.
Carry Me Back is packed with recognisable faces in small roles, many of whom we didn’t get a chance to mention. Bruno Lawrence turns up briefly as a policeman, Ian Watkin as a strip show emcee, and Kate Harcourt makes an appearance as a motel owner.
Although information about Joanne Mildenhall is scarce she was obviously active in the Wellington theatre scene in the early ’80s, as evidenced by a photo reproduced on the website of Victoria University of Wellington, from an issue of the official Student’s Association magazine Salient. It’s attached to a review of a production of the Stephen Poliakoff play ‘Hitting Town’ at Downstage, in which Mildenhall played one of the leads.
Hayden muffs a couple of facts in this episode when speaking about Dorothy McKegg. She won her bursary to study at the Old Vic at the age of 19, and her appearances on The Black and White Minstrel Show were during 1955-1956. For more info on McKegg, you can read her biography at NZ On Screen.
The illustration on the original poster (above) is absolutely terrific. It’s a superb example of a type of evocative poster design than has fallen out of fashion in the past couple of decades. The signpost is somewhat inaccurate though, as the characters never travel farther north than Wellington.
It’s the apocalypse! The world has been decimated by the oil wars, leaving small settlements of survivors to fend off roaming outlaws. When Corlie (Annie McEnroe) escapes the clutches of her father, the evil Colonel Straker (James Wainwright), she is rescued by the reclusive Hunter (Michael Beck) and taken in by a small democratic commune. But Straker wants his daughter back, and he’s coming for her in his Battletruck!
Director: Harley Cokliss Producers: Lloyd Phillips, Rob Whitehouse Screenplay: Irving Austin, Harvey Cokliss, John Beech, from a story by Michael Abrams Director of photography: Chris Menges Editor: Michael Horton
It turns out that Battletruck is (God help us) getting a Blu-Ray release in Japan at the beginning of 2017. For more information on how to purchase the Blu-Ray, or the American DVD release, visit NZ Videos.
In some territories Battletruck was released under the title Warlords of the 21st Century.
While our own response to Battletruck was resoundingly negative, we should note that the film does have a fanbase. If you think our assessment was totally off, get in touch and let us know what you think we overlooked or got wrong. We’re always in the market for alternative viewpoints.
Roger Corman demanded the film be shot with lots of coverage so it could be built in the editing suite, but the editing was eventually undertaken in Wellington by Michael Horton without Corman’s input. After attending test screenings, Corman’s only demand was the removal of two lines of dialogue, because he didn’t like the way the test audience reacted to them.
If you want more information on the film, there’s an interview with director Harley Cokliss conducted by the BFI up on YouTube. His last name is spelled ‘Cokeliss’ here, a spelling he appears to have adopted professionally around the year 1990.