Friday, April 14, 2017

Soundtrack - Music From Great Australian Films (1982)

(Australian 1982)
OK , so this post is a little out of character to what I usually post on this blog, but this album has many characteristics that I really like.  The fact that the music is associated with homegrown 'Aussie movies' and in particular features what I believe to be some of the most compelling 'soundtracks' ever released - namely 'Gallipoli' and 'Picnic At Hanging Rock'.  The hairs on the back of my neck still rise whenever I hear the haunting pan flutes playing on Picnic At Hanging Rock and am filled with emotion when Jean-Michel Jarre's "Oxygen" is played during Gallipoli. The music itself is performed by the Neon Philharmonic Orchestra with excerpts from the original soundtracks making this a wonderful listening experience.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Newsfront (Motzing)
The very grand opening comes as a momentary surprise. It's been easy to forget the warnings that ran through this Australian classic, and to remember best Newsfront's tremendous, foot-tapping arrangement of The Road to Cundagai. This great Mammy song has never been put to music better than in Newsfront. You can judge from this track of it, because conductor Motzing created the Newsfront score.

Phil Noyce's film (1978) is about Australian news-reel cameramen — and through them about recent history. At first there is friendly rivalry. But as the '40s turn into the '60s what began as a world of mateship ends in angry political divisions, dreams of big international money — and TV putting the movie newsreels out.

Producer David Elfick
Director/screenplay Phil Noyce (from script by Bob Ellis)
Leading players Bill Hunter, Chris Haywood, Wendy Hughes, John Ewart, Angela Punch, John Dease, Bryan Brown

Gallipoli (Jarre/Albinoni/arranged by Motzing)
This was never meant to be a war film. It's about going to war — why and how the Australian
young men of 1914-15 flung themselves into a volunteer army, lied their way in if they had to.
Never forgetting the ultimate tragedy, David Williamson's script is often funny, and makes a great yarn. Young Archy is a sprinter who'll be in world class — given time. He wins his first big race in an outback WA town, then tries to enlist but they find out he's under age. He and Frank (the runner he won from) head out together for Perth, almost perish in the desert, but get through still laughing — and into the army.

They meet again at the staging camp near Cairo, and race again for the sudden sheer fun of it, across the desert and up to the top of a pyramid. It's mateship at its happiest and most likeable. But orders come through to move, and the score has been warning us of tragedy ahead, in the passages back grounded by the singing and crying of bullets through the air. Albinoni's lovely Slow Dance (the Adagio in G Minor) carries the emotional burden of a great Australian film.

Producers Robert Stigwood, Patricia Lovell
Director Peter Weir
Screenplay David Williamson
Photography Russell Boyd
Leading players Mark Lee, Mel Gibson, Bill Hunter, Bill Kerr, David Argue

My Brilliant Career (Schumann/arranged by Motzing)
In 1979 My Brilliant Career came probably closer than anything before or since to putting Australian film officially on the world scene through the then obligatory road of the Competition of the Festival of Film at Cannes.
Career was given a standing ovation, and the word was all over Cannes that it was on the short-short list for the Golden Palm. Of course, it couldn't win against such heavy metal as Coppola's Apocalypse Now. But it went on to commercial success, and overnight fame for Judy Davis (Sybylla) and Sam Neill (Harry).
Based on the Miles Franklin novel, it's about Sybylla, a natural-born feminist girl around the turn of the century, fighting for a life and therefore a career of her own.
She's been bred on a run-down farm. Her grandmother brings her to live in the mansion on a great grazing property, and be trained to 'make a marriage'. Sybylla does almost accept Harry the jackaroo. But there's that brilliant career to work for. Meanwhile, sometimes, she can relax with Schumann at her grandmother's grand piano.

Producer Margaret Fink
Director Gillian Armstrong
Screenplay Eleanor Whitcombe
Photography Don McAlpine
Leading players Judy Davis, Sam Neill, Wendy Hughes, Pat Kennedy, Aileen Britton

Tall Timbers (Evans/Rasbach)
A great Australian movie of 1937. Even 80 years ago they were worrying about trees. But this talkie was about who ought to be allowed to cut them down.
Rival timber companies are fighting for a major contract, felling entire hillsides of forest by the cruel but widely-used 'timber-drive' method: dynamite the row of trees at the hill crest. and the whole forest collapses downhill, domino-style.

The inclusion in the score of the unadorned tune of Joyce Kilmer's Trees (saying that trees are more lovely than poems) might be better — but less interesting — if Tall Timbers had been about not cutting forests down at all.

Producer/director Ken G Hall
Screenplay Frank Hurley
Leading players Frank Leighton, Shirley Anne Richards, Campbell Copelin, Harvey Adams, Aileen Britton, Joe Valli

Cathy's (Child Motzing)
Her immigrant father steals her from her mum, Cathy Baikas, and takes her back home so that she can grow up Greek. Don Crombie's film gets very close to one of the most paraful sides of the migration experience. It also makes an interesting 'true' story about the real-He efforts of the Sydney Sun's 'Hot Line' reporter (Dick Wordley) to get the child back to the distracted Cathy, splendidly played by Michelle Fawdon.

The strings in Motzing's selection, here, speak of Cathy's loneliness; the clever little arrangement for electric piano and percussion talks of hope, and home.

Producers Pom Oliver, Errol Sullivan  
 Director Don Crombie 
Screenplay Ken Quinnell from Dick Wordley's book 'A Piece of Paper' 
Leading players Michelle Fawdon, Alan Cassell, Bryan Brown, Arthur Dignam, Willie Fennell

Eliza Fraser (Smeaton) 
Audiences of 1976 didn't feel the fate of Captain Fraser and his wife Eliza was as funny as David Williamson and Tim Burstall hoped. The fat Captain and his pretty wife put their ship into the infamous Moreton Bay convict settlement in 1836. After farcical bedroom adventures they sail again only to be dashed ashore and stranded with a murderous crew. They escape these to be taken by Aborigines — and enslaved, according to Eliza later. The Captain is killed. The wandering crew turn to cannibalism. Eliza is rescued and spends her days telling versions of her adventure at fairgrounds and circus sideshows.

Bruce Smeaton's music, here, is in part a clever, pop 'homage' to a Prokofiev piece about a Russian soldier-hero who never existed. Is Smeaton saying something about Eliza's tales.

Producer/director Tim Burstall
 Screenplay David Williamson
Leading players Susannah York, Trevor Howard, Noel Ferrier

Breaker Morant (Stuart/arranged by Motzing)
Nobody watching the API Awards of 1981 will forget the almost non-stop rendering of Soldiers
of the Queen as Breaker took almost every award.
Soldiers of the Queen was the ironical theme of this enormously successful film about two Australians and the Anglo-Australian remittance-man, horsebreaker and poet, 'Breaker' Morant, who in 1901, at the Boer War, were executed by the British high command on what many believe were false and political charges of unlawfully shooting Boer prisoners.

In 1980 it became Australia's third successive film to be invited to Cannes; and it brought the first Cannes award — to Jack Thompson as Best Supporting Actor (as the Australian defending officer.)

Producer Matt Carroll
Director/screenplay Bruce Beresford (screenplay from the play by Kenneth Ross)
Leading players Edward Woodward, Jack Thompson, Bryart Brown, John Waters

The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (Smeaton)
This was Australia's first film invited to Cannes. Part of its financial failure afterwards may have been due to the tremendous hype it was buried in at Cannes. And although critics went on praising it, audiences were often alienated from the hero by the brutality of the Blacksmith
Smeaton's echoes of operatic themes fits this entirely operatic story of race, rebellion and wholesale slaughter. The dark warnings of Fate bring memories of Bizet's Carmen.

Producer/director/screenplay Fred Schepisi
Leading players Tommy Lewis, Freddy Reynolds, Ray Barren, Jack Thompson, Angela Punch

The Picture Show Man (Best)
Perhaps the most lovable of our 'small' films. It's the mid-20s, Maury is a travelling picture show man, wandering from town to town in his horse-drawn van, with his cranky arc lamp and shaky gear, his son Larry and his shiftless pianist Lou. Of course he has a rough competitor — the American, Palmer. The plot is hopeless; but the wanderings are wonderful, the scenery and camerawork lovely, John Meillon at his best as Maury, and his Tap, Tap, Tap, song-and-dance number is irresistible.

Producer/screenplay Joan Long
Director John Power
Photography Geoff Burton
Leading players John MeiHon, Rod Taylor, John Ewart, Judy Morris, Harold Hopkins

Picnic at Hanging Rock (Smeaton/Enesco/arranged by Motzing/traditional arrangement by Motzing)
1975, but even now not many can hear pan-pipes without remembering Georghe Zamphir's pipes haunting the score of this enchanting fantasy about three senior schoolgirls just disappearing forever during a bush picnic in Victoria on St Valentine's Day, 1900. Four of the girls from Miss Appleyard's boarding school outing climb the huge Hanging Rock. Only one ever comes back.

Peter Weir wove a wonderfully fascinating film around this story from the (fictional) novel by Joan Lindsay. Here, Motzing brings us reminders of those pan-pipes; and reminders of the menace of Hanging Rock.

Producers Hal and Jim McElroy
Executive producer Pat Lovell
Director Peter Weir
Screenplay Cliff Green
Leading players Rachel Roberts, Dominic Guard, Helen Morse, Jacki Weaver, Anne Lambert, Karen Robson, Jane Vallis, Christine Schuler

The Mango Tree (Wilkinson)
A lilting old-time country melody takes us back to Ronald McKie's story of the melodramas of growing up in a Queensland country town during World War One. Jamie Carr, rising 17, learns about sex from his pretty French teacher. The Professor — an alcoholic English remittance man — runs into trouble with wartime patriotism. The Preacher goes out of his brain and kills the local cop. It was good fun.

Producer/screenplay Michael Pate
Director Kevin Dobson
Leading players Geraldine Fitzgerald, Robert Helpmann, Christopher Pate, Gerard Kennedy, Diane Craig

Dimboola (Dreyfus)
Ocker, sometimes funny but not often enough. An English feature writer Mr Vivian Worcester-Jones, from The Times arrives, bemused by this Victorian town, round about dawn (the music could be dawn music). Gangling and ocker Morrie (Bruce Spence), is about to marry Maureen. The astonished Worcester-Jones gets mixed up in the bucks' parties, the brawls and the grog.

Producer JohnWiley
Director JohnDuigan
Screenplay Jack Hibberd
Photography Tom Cowan
Leading players Bruce Spence, Natalie Bate, Max Gillies

Caddie (Flynn)
Perhaps the best hard-times movie since The Sentimental Bloke, and the best jazz of this recording.
It's 1925. Caddie, with her two small kids, walks away for good from her suburban home: her husband's been having an affair. She takes a job in a seedy suburban bar, finds a seedy room — with bugs, one of the kids almost dies and she sadly has to put them in a home. Jack Thompson, as the pub bookie, names her Caddie: she has class, like his new Cadillac tourer.

The years pass. Peter, a Greek, is her lover. He leaves her to face the Depression alone. Bill, a simple rabbit-oh, sees her through — and so it goes. Direction and acting make it work like love's old sweet song. And like an old sweet song Flynn's music comes through here, before it shifts into some great jazz trumpet.

Producer Anthony Buckley
Director Don Crombie
Screenplay Joan Long
Leading players Helen Morse, Takis Emmanuel, Jack Thompson, Jacki Weaver, Kirrily Nolan
This post consists of FLACs ripped from my virgin vinyl and includes full album artwork and label scans.  So sit back and relax to this wonderful compilation of famous Aussie Movie Themes.
Track Listing
01 - Newsfront
02 - Gallipoli
03 - My Brilliant Career
04 - Tall Timbers
05 - Cathy's Child
06 - Eliza Fraser
07 - Breaker Morant
08 - The Chant Of Jimmy Blacksmith
09 - The Picture Show Man
10 - Picnic At Hanging Rock
11 - The Mango Tree
12 - Dimboola
13 - Caddie
Music From Great Australian Movies FLACs (257Mb)


  1. What a lot of time and effort being put in to these posts, Guy. Magnificent work. Thanks a bunch. :)

  2. been looking for this album for ages... it seemed impossible to get it on the internet... thanx a bunch, pal!!!

  3. ooooh thank you! this brings back all my childhood memories. i have been wondering what the album was. thank you soooo much for taking the time to post this :)