The Great Macarthy
|The Great Macarthy|
|Directed by||David Baker|
|Produced by||Richard Brennan
|Written by||John Romeril|
|Based on||the novel A Salute to the Great Macarthy by Barry Oakley|
|Music by||Bruce Smeaton|
|Studio||Stoney Creek Films|
|Distributed by||Seven Keys|
|Release dates||7 August 1975|
|Running time||90 minutes|
The Great Macarthy is a 1975 comedy about Australian rules football. It was an adaptation of the novel A Salute to the Great Macarthy by Barry Oakley. It stars John Jarratt as the title character (in his film debut) as a local footballer who is signed up (or more appropriately, kidnapped) by the South Melbourne Football Club (now Sydney Swans). It also stars Barry Humphries and Judy Morris. It was released at a time when Australian films were starting to re-emerge. It was not very successful despite its high profile cast.
MacArthy is a county football player who is kidnapped by the South Melbourne Football Club and made a star player in the city. The Club Chairman, Colonel Ball-Miller, give MacArthy a job in one of his companies and makes him attend night school. He is seduced by his English teacher, Miss Russell, and has an affair with Ball-Miller's daughter, Andrea.
MacArthy and Andrea get married but then divorce. MacArthy goes on strike to claim the family four tine.
- John Jarratt as MacArthy
- Judy Morris as Miss Russell
- Kate Fitzpatrick as Andrea
- Sandy Macgregor as Vera
- Barry Humphries as Colonel Ball-Miller
- John Frawley as Webster
- Colin Croft as Tranter
- Chris Haywood as Warburton
- Colin Drake as Ackerman
- Ron Frazer as Twentyman
- Max Gillies as Stan
- Dennis Miller as MacGuinness
- Lou Richards as Lou Arnold
- Jack Dyer as Jack Diehard
- Jim Bowles as Les
- Bruce Spence as Bill Dean
- Peter Cummins as Rerk
David Baker was an emerging director who was interested in Barry Oakley's novel. Richard Brennan optioned it for him and they agreed to make the film together, hiring playwright John Romeril to do the adaptation. According to Brennan, Romeril's second draft was "fantastic" but later drafts included too much sex and slapstick to make it more like other successful Australian films at the time such as The Adventures of Barry McKenzie and Alvin Purple.
Philip Adams later claimed he always knew the film would struggle "because of its idiosyncratic and complex nature".
The film performed poorly critically and at the box office.
- Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998 p289
- David Stratton, The Last New Wave: The Australian Film Revival, Angus & Robertson, 1980 p223-224
- Gordon Glenn & Scott Murray, "Phil Adams: Producer", Cinema Papers, March–April 1976 p343
- The Great Macarthy at the Internet Movie Database
- The Great Macarthy at the National Film and Sound Archive
- The Great Macarthy at Oz Movies
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