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It was just like in the movies. This bloke on the prosecution asks me, "What would you do if you saw an Asiatic attacking your mother?" – remember this is 1953. I said, "I'd try to stop him". He said, "What if the only way was to kill him?" I said, "I'd kill him." He said. "Well, that's what a soldier does, so why are you objecting to being a soldier?" I said, "Now wait a minute, you asked me what I'd do, what decision I'd take on my own initiative. If I'm a soldier someone else takes the initiatives for me, and that's an entirely different thing." This went on for an hour; at one point they tried to ascertain whether there were any religious grounds on which I wouldn't be a soldier. I said, "No, it seems to me the best soldiers get religion" – and that didn't go down too well either.
He attended Sydney University as an undergraduate from 1953 to 1971 eventually attaining a BA Honours.
John Flaus has been active in the film society movement since 1953, published his first film reviews in 1954, and was sacked during the same year when he wrote that On the Waterfront was right-wing propaganda. He was also a member of the Sydney Push. In the 1960s, he was a member of the Sydney University Film Group and the WEA Film Study Group with such notable people as Frank Moorhouse, Michael Thornhill, John Baxter and Ken Quinnell.
He has lectured on film at various tertiary institutions, was Head of Education at the AFTRS, and designed the original Cinema Studies course at La Trobe University in 1975, the first of its kind in Australia. He became a professional actor in 1978 and has over 100 credits in theatre, film and television.
He was honoured by the Australian Writers' Guild in 1994 for his services as a script editor on various Australian films. He presented the radio program Film-buff's Forecast with fellow film critic Paul Harris on 3RRR from 1980 to 1989.
His first book of poems, PARALLACTS, was published in 2012.
- Tracks (2013)
- Jack Irish (2012)
- Pinion (2010)
- I Love You Too (2010)
- Mary and Max (2009)
- Harvie Krumpet (2003)
- Crackerjack (2002)
- The Dish (2001)
- The Castle (1997)
- Lilian's Story (1996)
- The Nun and the Bandit (1992)
- Bloodlust (1992)
- See Jack Run (1992)
- Spotswood (1992)
- In Too Deep (1990)
- Jigsaw (1990)
- Nirvana Street Murder (1990)
- Warm Nights on a Slow Moving Train (1989)
- Grievous Bodily Harm (1988)
- Devil's Hill telemovie (1988)
- Ghosts of the Civil Dead (1988)
- Hungry Heart (1987)
- Feathers (1987)
- Traps (1986)
- My Country (1986)
- Bootleg (1985)
- Strikebound (1984)
- The Plains of Heaven (1982)
- Wronsky (1980)
- Blood Money (1980)
- Palm Beach (1979)
- Newsfront (1978)
- The Love Letters from Teralba Road (1977)
- Queensland (1976)
- Yackety Yak (1974)
- The American Poet's Visit (1969)
- Anne Coombs (1996). Sex and anarchy : the life and death of the Sydney Push. Ringwood, Vic. : Viking. ISBN 0-670-87069-2.
- Brian McFarlane, Geoff Mayer, Ina Bertrand (Ed.) (1999). The Oxford companion to Australian film. Melbourne, Australia ; New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-553797-1.
- Sydney Libertarians and Anarchism Index
- David Stratton The last new wave: the Australian film revival Sydney: Angus & Robertson 1980