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AFI research collection
Reference Type chapter
Title The Last New Wave, The Australian Film Revival
Chapter/Web article title Chapter 6 - Will the Real Filmaker Please Stand Up
Author(s)David Stratton
State Unknown
Country Australia
Publication Date
Citation Date
Comments The chapter gives a very in depth overview of Michael Thornhill’s career and his most famous productions. The Chapter begins with a synopsis of Thornhill’s professional reputation and then gives a history of his life from when he was born, up until the late 1970’s. David Stratton’s overall opinion of Thornhill was that he possessed a rather interesting yet confusing personality, unique compared to other directors. This was evident in that he often contradicted his morals from one production to the next. Stratton acknowledges Thornhill’s contradicting ways by comparing ‘Between The Wars’ (1974), which was renowned for its strong morality, to ‘The Journalist’ (1979), memorable for its “sexist” and “unfunny” humour.

The productions that shaped Thornhill’s career according to Stratton included ‘Between The Wars’, ‘The F.J Holden’, ‘Harvest of Hate’ and ‘The Journalist.’

From Strattons writing it is clear that he believes that ‘The FJ Holden’ was the most successful film of Thornhill’s career. It was acknowledged that the film found success overseas, selling in West Germany, Austria, and Sweden. Stratton also believed in 1980, at the time of publication, that the film would eventually recover its costs or it at least deserved to “because it is one of the most vital, energetic, honest and uncompromising Australian Films.

On the contrary, Stratton mentions the negative publicity that Thornhill’s film ‘The Journalist’ received and considers it a rather poor production himself. The film can be summarised by a quote in the chapter by Berverly Tivey of the ‘Sunday Telegraph,’ which harshly refers to “The Journalist as “a giant leap toward the days of bumbling amateurism.”

Synopsis This chapter looks at the life and career of Michael Thornhill.
tags: David Stratton Michael Thornhill. 
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