The Tale of Ruby Rose

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The Tale of Ruby Rose
The Tale of Ruby Rose.jpg
Directed by Roger Scholes
Produced by Bryce Menzies
Andrew Wiseman
Written by Roger Scholes
Starring Melita Jurisic
Chris Haywood
Rod Zuanic
Sheila Florence
Martyn Sanderson.
Music by Paul Schutze
Cinematography Steve Mason
Edited by Roger Scholes
Seon Films
Release dates
1987 (Venice Film Festival)
18 August 1988 (1988-08-18) (Australia)
Country Australia
Language English
Budget AU$1.2 million[1][2]

The Tale of Ruby Rose is an Australian movie, released in 1988. It is 100 minutes in length. It was written and directed by Roger Scholes and produced by Andrew Wiseman and Bryce Menzies. The cast included Melita Jurisic, Chris Haywood, Rod Zuanic, Sheila Florence, and Martyn Sanderson.


In the wild and isolated wilderness of the Tasmanian highlands, Ruby Rose is overcome by her fear of darkness. Ruby cries out to the elemental spirits that surround her. She is driven to take a harrowing journey out of the mountains to seek help from her lost grandmother.


The film was the feature film debut of Roger Scholes, a Tasmanian born film director. In the 1980s he undertook a collection of oral histories of people living in the Central Highlands of Tasmania, from which he took more than 500 photographs of places and people in the region. These became the basis of the screenplay which he first wrote in 1983. He enrolled in a filmmaking course and managed to get funds raised though Antony I. Ginnane's Film and General Holdings Company. Scholes said that of the $1.2 million raised, only $730,000 was used to make the film the rest went into fees[1] and that he only managed to make the film because Ginnane made it part of a package which included The Lighthorsemen, which is what investors really wanted to put money into.[3]

The film was meant to be shot over six weeks, three of which took place in rugged locations. However at the end of filming only 70% of the movie had been shot, so a second unit was sent back to the location for three more weeks of filming. Several scenes were cut during filming and 12 minutes was removed in post production by the American distributors.[1][3]


The film was screened widely at festivals throughout the world.[1] however Scholes was disappointed with its distribution:

It was a disaster for me because it meant that I had no work. The problem with making films is you have got to play the game - and the game is that your first film has got to give you a bit of a shunt on. If you don't get that, you're the mercy of styles and trend. Within the bureaucratic institutions, it's just like a sea, it can go one way or the other. So it's taken me ten years, basically, to get to the point where the next feature film I'm doing can be made.[3]


1987 Venice Film Festival, Main competition - Critics' Awards:

  • Winner - Best Actress[4]
  • Winner - Best Director[4]

Won the Best Original Music Score (Paul Schutze) award at the AFI Awards.


The film received generally positive reviews. Christine Cremen from The Australian described it as "a masterly evocation". Keith Connolly from The Age called it "an artistic gem". David Stratton from The Movie Show gave the film 4 out of 5 stars, describing the film as "visually magnificent". Walter Goodman from The New York Times however gave the film a negative review, describing it as "undernourished and overcooked, like the possums on which the household [in the film] survives".[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d David Stratton, The Avocado Plantation: Boom and Bust in the Australian Film Industry, Pan MacMillan, 1990 p75-77
  2. ^ "Australian Productions Top $175 million", Cinema Papers, March 1986 p64
  3. ^ a b c "Interview with Roger Scholes", Signis, 19 August 1996 accessed 21 November 2012
  4. ^ a b "Passionate Apprentices - Biographies". Special Broadcasting Service. Retrieved 23 May 2010. 
  5. ^ Goodman, Walter (25 May 1988). "The Tale of Ruby Rose (1987)". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 May 2010. 

External links[edit]