The Picture Show Man (1977)

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drednm

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The Picture Show Man (1977)

PostFri Jun 15, 2018 7:20 pm

Charming Australian film about a traveling picture show man (and his competitor) bringing silent films and music to rural communities in the 1920s. Although Rod Taylor gets stars billing, he has a supporting role as Palmer the competitor and it's John Meillon who plays Pym, a character based on the real-life Lyle Penn. Story follows Pym and his son (Harold Hopkins) and piano player (Ben Model ... I mean John Ewart) as they go from town to town showing silent films. We get to see a clip of the 1920 Australian film On Our Selection and there's a clip of The Grand Duchess and the Waiter (1926) with Florence Vidor and Adolphe Menjou. There's a short clip of a Western, which might be from Nevada (1927) since the horse-drawn wagon they travel in sports a poster of this film, but it's probably a Tom Mix film. The only stars outrightly mentioned are Gloria Swanson and Tom Mix.

As the talkies start to take over, there's a scene where they synchronize a record to the film (I have no idea what the film was, it might have been British) and of course the record starts to stick. There's also a discourse on how to play music in accompaniment to a silent film.

Meandering but very enjoyable. Meillon gives a terrific performance as the devoted picture show man who also provides the yokels with some song-and-dance. Ewart is excellent as the piano player, and Hopkins (who I'd just seen in the 1982 Oz miniseries Sara Dane is also fine. There's a nice segment where they pick up a stranded "act" and use them in the show. Patrick Cargill plays the leering emcee and Jelena Zigon the fake clairvoyant.

While I had hoped for more clips of silent films, it was fun to see the above mentioned.
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Donald Binks

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Re: The Picture Show Man (1977)

PostSat Jun 16, 2018 7:18 am

drednm wrote:Charming Australian film about a traveling picture show man (and his competitor) bringing silent films and music to rural communities in the 1920s. .....


The tradition of a travelling "picture show" continued well into the 20th Century. Where I live, every Thursday and Saturday nights all would trot off to the local "Mechanics Hall" in order to "go to the pictures" which were provided by "Western District Talkies". I believe that it was about 1980 or thereabouts when the last show was on.
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Re: The Picture Show Man (1977)

PostSat Jun 16, 2018 9:43 am

The film is very entertaining, they played this a year or two ago at the TCM Film Festival.
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Re: The Picture Show Man (1977)

PostSat Jun 16, 2018 10:00 am

I loved the part where they talk about good piano music vs. bad and state that once, during the scene in From the Manger to the Cross (1912) when Jesus is walking on water, the pianist broke into "Sailing, Sailing, Over the Bounding Main" or some such song.
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Re: The Picture Show Man (1977)

PostSat Jun 16, 2018 10:16 am

Wonderful film, Taylor is really good in later films like this and Welcome to Woop Woop. Had the pleasure of visiting an old "open air" cinema in Darwin, in Australia's Northern Territories, that supposedly has been in operation since the silent days, although I believe the structure itself was mostly rebuilt after the Japanese bombed the town in the Second World War. Cyclone Tracy in 1972 probably didn't do it any favours either.
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Re: The Picture Show Man (1977)

PostSat Jun 16, 2018 10:19 am

s.w.a.c. wrote:Wonderful film, Taylor is really good in later films like this and Welcome to Woop Woop. Had the pleasure of visiting an old "open air" cinema in Darwin, in Australia's Northern Territories, that supposedly has been in operation since the silent days, although I believe the structure itself was mostly rebuilt after the Japanese bombed the town in the Second World War. Cyclone Tracy in 1972 probably didn't do it any favours either.


I was at a fish shack in Darwin 10-12 years ago that had supposedly been an old-timey movie house but had been wiped out by WW II and finished off by a big hurricane in 2000 or thereabouts.
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Re: The Picture Show Man (1977)

PostSat Jun 16, 2018 10:29 am

any ideas as to what the talkie was? I didn't recognize any of the actors....
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s.w.a.c.

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Re: The Picture Show Man (1977)

PostSat Jun 16, 2018 12:59 pm

drednm wrote:
s.w.a.c. wrote:Wonderful film, Taylor is really good in later films like this and Welcome to Woop Woop. Had the pleasure of visiting an old "open air" cinema in Darwin, in Australia's Northern Territories, that supposedly has been in operation since the silent days, although I believe the structure itself was mostly rebuilt after the Japanese bombed the town in the Second World War. Cyclone Tracy in 1972 probably didn't do it any favours either.

I was at a fish shack in Darwin 10-12 years ago that had supposedly been an old-timey movie house but had been wiped out by WW II and finished off by a big hurricane in 2000 or thereabouts.

I wonder where that was, when we were there in 2010, there was a spot overlooking the water where they held a weekly "deckchair theatre", basically an outdoor screening area in the park where you'd rent a deckchair (or bring your own) and watch a classic or recent movie.
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Re: The Picture Show Man (1977)

PostSat Jun 16, 2018 1:55 pm

missdupont wrote:The film is very entertaining, they played this a year or two ago at the TCM Film Festival.


Recall seeing this on BBC almost as soon as it was shown at the London Film Festival, but not caught it since. My memories are rather hazy, but a pleasant film certainly and (for me) preferable to a good many of the Australian films getting airings at that time.
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Re: The Picture Show Man (1977)

PostSat Jun 16, 2018 2:42 pm

s.w.a.c. wrote:
drednm wrote:
s.w.a.c. wrote:Wonderful film, Taylor is really good in later films like this and Welcome to Woop Woop. Had the pleasure of visiting an old "open air" cinema in Darwin, in Australia's Northern Territories, that supposedly has been in operation since the silent days, although I believe the structure itself was mostly rebuilt after the Japanese bombed the town in the Second World War. Cyclone Tracy in 1972 probably didn't do it any favours either.

I was at a fish shack in Darwin 10-12 years ago that had supposedly been an old-timey movie house but had been wiped out by WW II and finished off by a big hurricane in 2000 or thereabouts.

I wonder where that was, when we were there in 2010, there was a spot overlooking the water where they held a weekly "deckchair theatre", basically an outdoor screening area in the park where you'd rent a deckchair (or bring your own) and watch a classic or recent movie.


I was there in 2008 but the city locations have gotten all scrambled. I do remember "Hector" though.
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s.w.a.c.

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Re: The Picture Show Man (1977)

PostMon Jun 18, 2018 7:08 am

drednm wrote:
s.w.a.c. wrote:
drednm wrote:I was at a fish shack in Darwin 10-12 years ago that had supposedly been an old-timey movie house but had been wiped out by WW II and finished off by a big hurricane in 2000 or thereabouts.

I wonder where that was, when we were there in 2010, there was a spot overlooking the water where they held a weekly "deckchair theatre", basically an outdoor screening area in the park where you'd rent a deckchair (or bring your own) and watch a classic or recent movie.

I was there in 2008 but the city locations have gotten all scrambled. I do remember "Hector" though.

The day we arrived marked the most intense downpour I've ever seen in my life, a real tropical rainstorm. Thankfully, the day was already earmarked for just getting our bearings, and when we embarked on our Kakadu outback trek a day later, the storm had taken some of the bite out of the region's famous humidity.

I love those Australian meteorological phenomena, like the cool breeze that blows daily from the south in Perth, via Fremantle, that they call "The Freo Doctor".
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