Duet for Four

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Duet for Four
Directed byTim Burstall
Produced byTom Burstall
Tim Burstall
Written byDavid Williamson
StarringMichael Pate
Wendy Hughes
Diane Cilento
CinematographyDan Burstall
Edited byEdward McQueen-Mason
Tim Burstall Nominees
Distributed byGreater Union
Release date
Running time
97 mins

Duet for Four is a 1982 film directed by Tim Burstall.


A middle aged man, Ray Martin, faces a series of problems – his wife is cheating on him, his mistress wants to get married and Americans want to take over his toy business.


  • Mike Preston as Ray Martin
  • Wendy Hughes as Barbara Dunstan
  • Michael Pate as Al Geisman
  • Diane Cilento as Margot Martin
  • Gary Day as Terry Byrne
  • Vanessa Leigh as Dianne Sanders
  • Warwick Comber as Cliff Ingersoll
  • Sigrid Thornton as Carline Martin
  • Clare Binney as Jacki Nesbitt


The script by David Williamson was originally commissioned by Hexagon Productions in the wake of the success of Petersen (1974). Tim Burstall asked Williamson to write a script on a mid life crisis even though he was young at the time. Williamson wrote the script in eight days under the title The Toy Man but Hexagon decided not to make it, even though at one stage it was announced as a vehicle for Jack Thompson.[1][2]

In the 1980s Williamson's reputation remained high and Burstall decided to make it. Burstall:

I was going through a mid-life crisis of some sort and thought – 'What is the nature of work? Have I wasted my time? Am I doing the right thing?' That sort of thing. And toys was the industry we decided to use because it was being taken over by the Yanks. It was a sort of image of what was happening in film at the time. I don't think the picture works very well.[3]

The title during shooting was Partners. The film was shot in Melbourne and Queenscliff. According to David Stratton the movie features some in jokes about the Australian film industry of the early 1970s.[1]

Finance was partly provided by the Australian Film Commission and Victorian Film Corporation.[4]

Wendy Hughes later described making the film as "one of my most enjoyable experiences" but thought "the role I was playing... seemed more a part of the early 1970s, when in fact it was written".[5]


  1. ^ a b David Stratton, The Avocado Plantation: Boom and Bust in the Australian Film Industry, Pan MacMillan, 1990 p116
  2. ^ "Fertile year for this film-making team". The Australian Women's Weekly. National Library of Australia. 6 November 1974. p. 27. Retrieved 25 February 2013.
  3. ^ Interview with Tim Burstall, 30 March 1998 Archived 15 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine accessed 14 October 2012
  4. ^ Adrian Martin, 'Duet for Four', Australian Film 1978-1992, Oxford University Press, 1993 p97
  5. ^ Richard Brennan, "Wendy Hughes", Cinema Papers, October 1982 p431

External links[edit]