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Something to watch tonight: Wednesday 13 September
Walkabout (Roeg, 1971) is streaming on Netflix and Prime Video
Hunting around for an “on this day” post I noticed that back on 13 September 2016 I appeared on Jesse Mulligan’s Afternoons show on RNZ to refute a claim made by English author David Hepworth that 1971 had been a great year for music but had not been a great year for movies.
It was a preposterous statement and I wrote up my notes for an extended survey of 1971 films here:
Now, to be fair, I was only three years old then so my experience was more osmotic than first-hand but I have to say that that is not how I remember it.
So, I had a bit of a dig around to see how accurate my memory was. Here’s the result of that research – another of our regular chats with Jesse about the movies. We started with the biggest box office success of that year, Norman Jewison’s Broadway adaptation, Fiddler on the Roof.
The 44th Academy Awards took place on 10 April, 1972 and – as they still do – apply to films released in the previous calendar year. (Obviously it took them longer to count the votes back then.) Apart from The French Connection (9 Oct) taking out the big award, other nominees for Best Picture included Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (released on 19 Dec 1971), the aforementioned Fiddler on the Roof (3 Nov), Bogdanovich’s seminal The Last Picture Show (22 Oct) as well as the historical epic Nicholas and Alexandra which had been released on 13 December.
The list goes on to include Carnal Knowledge, The Omega Man, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Get Carter, The Beguiled, Death in Venice, The Conformist and many more.
Down under, I mention Ted Kotcheff’s amazing Wake in Fright (which will get a recommendation of its own here one day soon) and Nicolas Roeg’s Walkabout:
New Zealand had no film industry to speak of in 1971 but Australia was thinking about having one. In 1971 Australia became the subject (before becoming the object later on) and Nicholas Roeg’s eerie Walkabout presented The Railway Children’s Jenny Agutter in a whole new light and introduced the world to the phenomenon that is David Gulpilil.
In Walkabout, two English children are abandoned by their father in the remote Australian outback but form a bond with a young Aboriginal boy who helps them to survive. Seriously, one of those films you have to see before you die.
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