peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2023 08 20 WillsAndBurke

Wills & Burke (1985)

/noise/movies | Link

A bit further down SBS's Homegrown Cinema list is this mid-1980s failed comedy which aimed to take down the contemporaneous big serious film about the explorers in the spirit of Monty Python. It's probably more fun to compare casts: obviously I'd take Garry McDonald over Jack Thompson any day, and didn't Nicole Kidman go so much further than Greta Scacchi? (The outro starring her as Burke in a stage production is remarkable; something like a dry run for Moulin Rouge.) Also I can't imagine much improvement on Kim Gyngell's Wills, which is to say that the serious effort is probably just as drecky and wasteful of its actors. Chris Haywood lays it on too much as a colonial constable in a Wake in Fright scene. Mark Little went on to bigger things in A Cry in the Dark. Peter Collingwood has the most fun as the universally-adored Sir William Stawell. This movie is inexcusably cringeworthy for the time and to claim that it belongs to any "selection of the best Australian cinema" is taking the piss.

Ozmovies: universally panned. One for the Kidman completists. David Stratton said this is Kidman's first adult role. Shot in 4:3 format and what SBS is serving up looks like a VHS rip.