They're a Weird Mob (1966)

The only film you will ever need to own is this one: They're a weird mob, which was -briefly - released on DVD.

It is the greatest Australian film known to man, fuck that, the greatest film known to man, Australian or otherwise. Why? It has the following creative content: Mid-sixties babes; 1950s and 60s cars; Drinking; mid-sixties Scenery; mid-sixties style; 1950s attitudes; Views of Sydney during the mid-sixties; The beach during the mid-sixties; mid-sixties babes on the beach, in hot mid-sixties clobber.

The novel was released in the early 60s, and written by John O'Grady (under the alias, Nino Culotta). It is fucking hysterical. It is based upon the endeavours of a young Italian immigrant, forced (by honour) to pay back his cousins business debts. To do so he must endure working on a building site, with a bunch of legends, Including Ed Deveraux and John Mellion. Everyone always talks about the 'bar scene', which yes, is a complete corker, in which a local tries to explain what a 'shout' is, Have a look:

Buy it.

Dirty Deeds (2002)

This film is a scorcher.

It is set in the last year anything resembling style was present in Australia, 1969.
Darcy, played by Sam Worthington, returns from Vietnam, and goes to work for his Uncle, played by Bryan Brown. What evolves is fantastic, but irrelevant to the main issue, that issue being the attention to detail -- as this film is one of the best-produced Australian films around.

It really puts you in the time and place, and well worth a look at if you want to see how Hep Australia was, right up until the hippies fucked it up, and Billy Thorpe grew long hair.

The Year My Voice Broke (1986)

OK, it's really hard to comment on this film without sounding a bit soppy, as it is a 'coming-of-age' teen-flick, and deals with the all the typical awkwardness/bullying/first crush stuff really well. HOWEVER, the great thing about this film is the quality of the production.

It is set in early 1960s rural Australia (and filmed in Braidwood, NSW) and it is ALMOST a perfect reproduction of the times. There are a few 1980s fashion moments sneaking in. But in general the film offers a great insight into the times, and well worth a look at.

The main characters are perfect, Noah Taylor is brilliant, as are Leone Carmen and Ben Mendelson. Noah Taylor's character, Danny, narrates the film with a lot of patronising humour, and Leone Carmen's character, Freya, is really kind and sweet to our protagonist, Danny.

You cannot find this film on DVD for love nor money, and even the VHS will set you back about $75. We all might have to wait this one out until it rocks up on DVD eventually.
There was also a sequel, Flirting, with Nicole Kidman, and it's pretty cool too.

Newsfront (1978)

I absolutely love this film, but even almost thirty years after seeing it for the first (and last) time, still really saddens me. This was possibly the first film I ever really saw that pictured this amazing period of Australian history.

It is set in 1948, and covers the election in which Robert Menzies sweeps to power over Ben Chifley.

It stars a very young Bryan Brown, Bill Hunter, Chris Haywood and a whole swag of others who went on to better things (it even has Bruce Spence in it, as does The Year My Voice Broke).

To be honest I have not seen this film since I was a kid, but I’ll track it down and write a better review of it when I get the chance.


Also, it's hard to go past the absolute genius which is the ABC Series Long Way to the Top. This covers the history of Australian Rock'n'Roll from the fifties to the present. Many of the acts appear on the Jukebox Bop CD (on our hep-music page) and is a fascinating in sight into fifties culture.

Sure the seventies stuff is crap, I mean the only good stuff is when rockers were rockers.