The Last of the Knucklemen
|The Last of the Knucklemen|
|Directed by||Tim Burstall|
|Produced by||Tim Burstall
|Written by||Tim Burstall|
|Based on||play by John Power|
|Music by||Bruce Smeaton|
|Edited by||Edward McQueen-Mason|
|Distributed by||Umbrella Entertainment|
|Box office||A$180,000 (Australia)|
- Gerard Kennedy as Tarzan
- Michael Preston as Pansy
- Peter Hehir as Tom
- Dennis Miller as Horse
- Michael Caton as Monk
- Steve Rackman as Carl
- Michael Duffield as Methuselah
- Steve Bisley as Mad Dog
- Stewart Faichney as Tassie
- Gerry Duggan as Old Arthur
|The Last of the Knucklemen|
|Written by||John Powers|
|Date premiered||19 November 1973|
|Place premiered||Russell St Theatre, Melbourne|
|Setting||a mining camp, north-west Australia|
John Power's play had been produced in 1973.
Leslie Rees described it as "a sequence of sketches using the same basic characters but without much development or thematic resolution".
Before Tim Burstall started on Eliza Fraser he thought Hexagon Productions should make a male bonding film, and considered Rusty Bugles, The Odd Angry Shot and Last of the Knucklemen. He eventually decided on the latter. He had to wait to get the rights because the Melbourne Theatre Company were negotiating to sell the rights to the US but this fell through.
Burstall did the adaptation himself, which was largely faithful to the play. He felt that the film was weak in the first half setting up characters. Burstall:
I was trying to take the ocker stuff and cross it, as I think John Powers' play was, with anthropology. Before I rehearsed the cast, I got them to read 'The Territorial Imparity of the Native Aid'. I wanted it to be seen not just as ockerism but as anthropology. But the only people who got that were the French. It was bought in France and it's done terribly well there - much better than it ever did in Australia.
The movie was shot over six weeks in September and October 1978 mostly on sets at Melbourne's Cambridge Studios.
I don't think they knew how to market it. A lot of women said to me, 'I'd never go to a picture that had the title The Last of the Knucklemen'. But nobody ever looked at it as an analysis of the way men work. It's a right-wing view of unionism.
The Last of the Knucklemen was released on DVD by Umbrella Entertainment in January 2012. The DVD is compatible with region codes 2 and 4 and includes special features such as the trailer, photo gallery and interviews with John Powers, Gerard Kennedy, Dan Burstall, Steve Bisley and Michael Caton.
- David Stratton, The Last New Wave: The Australian Film Revival, Angus & Robertson, 1980 p38
- The Last of the Knucklemen at Ausstage
- Leslie Rees, Australian Drama in th 1970s, Angus & Robertson, 1978 p 207
- Scott Murray, 'Tim Burstall', Cinema Papers Sept-Oct 1979 p577
- Interview with Tim Burstall, 30 March 1998 accessed 14 October 2012
- Film Victoria - Australian Films at the Australian Box Office
- "Umbrella Entertainment". Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- Murray, Scott; (ed.) (1994). Australian Cinema. St.Leonards, NSW.: Allen & Unwin/AFC. p. 266. ISBN 1-86373-311-6.