As preperation for our upcoming look at Utu, we ring in 2017 by dissecting the (in)famous TV mini-series The Governor. A sprawling historical drama covering over half a century, The Governor explores the life and career of Sir George Grey - twice Governor and 11th Premier of New Zealand, and arguably the most influential figure in the country's early colonial years. Split into six self-contained feature-length parts, the series explores Grey's legacy and personality by examining the impact he has on the lives of others. This week we discuss the first three episodes: 'The Reverend Traitor', 'No Way To Treat A Lady', and 'The Mutinous Lieutenant'.
For our last episode of the year, we're rounding off 1982 by taking a look at Mike Newell's disturbing Bad Blood, a dramatisation of the infamous 12-day manhunt for Koiterangi farmer Stan Graham. Socially isolated, increasingly paranoid, and in serious financial trouble, Graham and his wife Dot react aggresively when their rifle is requisitioned by local authorities for the war effort. As their behaviour begins to threaten the wider community, an attempt by police to control the situation leads to a tragic outburst of violence.
When your Dad carks it on a trip to Wellington, but your inheritance relies on him dying on the farm in Marlborough, what on earth can you do about it? That's the problem facing Grant Tilly and Kelly Johnson in John Reid's Carry Me Back, a raucous corpse-toting farce that gives Hayden and L.J. a bit more than they bargained for.
It's the apocalypse! The world has been decimated by the oil wars, leaving small settlements of survivors to fend off gangs of roaming outlaws. When Corlie (Annie McEnroe) escapes the clutches of her father, the evil Colonel Straker (James Wainwright), she is rescued by the reclusive Hunter (Michael Beck) and taken in by a small democratic commune. But Straker wants his daughter back, and he's coming for her in his Battletruck!
In an attempt to revise their opinions on director Tony Williams (Solo), Hayden and L.J. take a slight detour to look at the obscure Australian horror movie Next of Kin. The story of a young woman who takes over the running of a rural nursing home after her mother's death, Next of Kin began life as a local Kiwi production, but gradually morphed into an Aussie film for various financial reasons. Does it hold up better than Solo did?
Ronald Hugh Morrieson's 'The Scarecrow' has one of the most memorable opening lines in NZ literature, setting a tone that could prove difficult to translate from page to screen. Never Repeats takes a gander at Sam Pillsbury's 1982 film adaptation and discusses the production, how the film holds up, and whether it manages to capture the gothic, darkly humourous tone of Morrieson's writing.
To close out 1981, Never Repeats goes on a wild adventure with David Hemmings' Race for the Yankee Zephyr, at the time the most expensive film ever made in New Zealand. So what does $6 million buy you in 1981? International stars (Donald Pleasance, George Peppard), gorgeous Queenstown locations, and some spectacular helicopter stunts and jet boat chases. But is it any good?
Never Repeats takes a journey up the Wanganui River with Michael Black's historical drama Pictures. A fictionalised portrait of Dunedin-based photographers the Burton brothers, the film depicts Alfred Burton's historic journey through King Country, while he and his brother Walter each come to terms with the harsh reality of colonialism in New Zealand.
"She's my daughter and I'll do what I like!" hollers the tagline (and main character) of Roger Donaldson's Smash Palace, a searing indictment of Kiwi masculinity, and the film that shot Bruno Lawrence to stardom. This week, Never Repeats looks back at Smash Palace to discuss the film itself, how it holds up 35 years on, and how it almost never got made in the first place.