Angel Baby is a 1995 Australian drama film written and directed by Michael Rymer. The film was produced in 1993–94 with a budget of A$3.5 million.
The film is a love story of two people with schizophrenia. Although the film did not do well at the box office the film swept the boards at the 1995 AFI Awards winning all the major categories as well as several major international film festivals.
Angel Baby tells the story of Harry (John Lynch) and Kate (Jacqueline McKenzie), who meet at an outpatient clinic in Melbourne for mental patients.
Harry falls instantly for Kate when he sees her at the clinic, but she doesn’t hang around with psychos, she tells him, but her feelings change when she receives a sign from her guardian angel, named Astral.
His method of communication is the Australian version of “Wheel of Fortune.” As the letters are turned over and the underlying phrases are revealed, Kate takes careful notes; she learns she’s pregnant, for example, when the Australian version of Vanna White turns over letters spelling out “Great Expectations.”
She believes it is Astral who is residing in her womb. She and Harry decide to move in together, despite the reservations of Harry’s protective brother Morris (Colin Friels) and his wife Louise (Deborra-Lee Furness).
Harry gets a job in a computer firm, they set up house and Kate becomes pregnant and seem for a time to be blessed with each other, and who then make the mistake of growing overconfident and discontinuing their medication, the results are disastrous, with both ending up back in hospital.
Harry re-stabilises himself, then rescues Kate from the mental ward. They hide in a tall building site and wait for their baby – called Astral – to enter the world.
This film is important as shows what it takes to overcome a mental illness and what affects they can have on your life and those around you.
All the Rivers Run II is an Crawford Production television 2 part miniseries which aired on Channel Seven on the 18th of March 1990.
Starring John Waters and actress Nikki Coghill who replaced Sigrid Thornton in the leading role.
The miniseries follows on where Nancy Cato 1958 novel, Australian historical finishes. The series was directed by John Power.
Series II takes up the story of Delie (Nikki Coghill) and Brenton Edwards (John Waters) at the turn of the century, at a moment when bad times have struck the once thriving river boat trade.
New roads and railway lines threaten the very existence of the grand old paddle steamers of the Murray and striking shearers threaten the lives of their crews.
Into the explosive situation walks Cyrus James (Parker Stevenson), a charming, but mysterious overseas entrepreneur. He is immediately attracted to Delie, but backs off when he encounters Brenton.
The three become close to friends. Trying to mediate in the dispute between the shearers and the riverboat skippers, Brenton is framed on a charge of seriously injuring a local businessman Arthur Blackwell (Tim Robertson).
He is sentenced to imprisonment in Melbourne. Without Brenton, Delie is faced with a custody battle over her children and the not altogether unwanted attentions of Cyrus.
Alone she must fight to keep her family and the riverboat “Philadelphia”. In a desperate attempt to help her, Brenton escapes. When trying to reach his children, a waiting policeman, the same man in the employ of the wealthy squatters who framed Brenton in the first place, shoots Brenton.
Brenton disappears in the murky waters of the swollen River Murray, leaving only a trail of blood behind. All the Rivers Run II has all the romance, adventure and even more intrigue than its internationally successful predecessor.
The series was shot on location in Echuca as well as locations in Melbourne. The paddle steamer PS Pevensey was filmed as the PS Philadelphia.
All the Rivers Run is a Crawford Production television 4 part miniseries which aired on Channel Seven on the 4th of October 1983.
Starring Sigrid Thornton and John Waters. The miniseries is based on the Australian historical novel by Nancy Cato, first published in 1958.
The series was directed by George Miller and Pino Amenta with a budget of $3 million. The series was a massive ratings success in Australia and was sold to over 70 countries around the world.
The mini-series is marketed with the tagline A sweeping saga of one woman’s struggle for survival.
The plot starts with a storm off the Victorian coast in 1890, a young English girl Philadelphia Gordon (Sigrid Thornton) was shipwrecked and orphaned.
Rescued by the only other survivor of the wreck Tom Gritchley (Gus Mercurio), the girl is taken in care by her Uncle Charles (Charles Tingwell).
Known as Delie she is an energetic and high-spirited girl who wants to paint, and not conform. She finds it difficult to understand why her Aunt Hester (Dinah Shearing), a tart and unsmiling woman, seeks to impose her ideas of womanhood, femininity, even good housekeeping on a girl who needs nothing more than the freedom to lead her own life.
It is her cousin, Adam (William Upjohn), who truly awakens in Delie the feelings of young womanhood. Tom, the seaman who rescued Delie, arrives in Echuca on a paddle steamer he bought with his reward.
It is the beginning for Delie of a remarkable ten years in her life. Her investment of part of her inheritance in the riverboat is, without her knowing it, the first step towards a turbulent marriage to a riverboat man and, indeed, to the boats who ply their great trade along the mighty, unpredictable and perilous river.
In a riverboat ceremony, Delie marries Brenton Edwards (John Waters), a cavalier riverman, who wins and loses the girl on their way to the alter.
Their years together are as unpredictable as the river, and more than once Delie is attracted to bohemian Melbourne, and the patronage of Alistair Raeburn (Adrian Wright), the gentleman art critic, who falls in love with his protégé.
Yet Delie remains magnetically drawn to Brenton and the river, the crew of their paddle-steamer Philadelphia, and the river community of Echuca, friends like Bessie Griggs (Constance Landsberg), a merchant’s daughter, and George Blakeney (Don Barker), the bluff rival riverboat captain.
Their community has grown from the 1850’s when it was merely a river crossing, established by Henry Hopwood, an English convict.
Mobs of cattle and sheep were driven across the Murray at Echuca on their way to the stockyards at Melbourne. Proudly, Delie and Brenton race the Philadelphia in dangerously narrow waters, and for a wager they cannot afford. They dare the Darling River in drought, a dash which could go for nearly 1000 miles across outback New South Wales, in the hope that rains will wash down from Queensland and allow their escape.
In tinderbox conditions, they survive a fire which all but bankrupts them. They have a son, in a way many women did at the time…on the riverbank, in circumstances far removed from Echuca, when hardened riverman became midwives.
Brenton turns against the law to find a way out of their financial maze, and the couple part before coming together again. Brenton is critically injured in a riverboat accident. It inspires Delie to turn her talents towards being a riverboat captain, to winning her own Master’s Ticket.
The series was shot on location in Echuca as well as locations in Melbourne. The paddle steamer PS Pevensey was filmed as the PS Philadelphia.
The Murder of Rachel Currell
23 February, 1926
Henry Tacke, 65, Importer, was charged in the Criminal Court today with the murder of Rachel Currell, 34, at St Kilda on December 15th.
Frederick George Currell, barman, admitted under cross examination that he knew his wife and Tacke went to Sydney and Adelaide together and that Tacke paid 80 guineas for an operation upon Mrs Currell. She acted in a secretarial capacity for Tacke. Currell denied he knew Tacke paid for the upkeep of his house.
Currell said he was awakened on the night of the shooting when in bed on the front verandah. He told Tacke he could not see Mrs Currell. They quarrelled at the gate and Mrs Currell said; “you had better come inside instead of making a scene in the street”. As they were going inside, Tacke hit Currell behind the ear knocking off his hat. When asked to return it, Currell saw Tacke turn as if to go and saw something shiny in his hand which he had whipped from his pocket. Tacke fired a shot at Currell but missed and hit Mrs Currell instead. When Mrs Currell retreated inside, Tacke fired a number of shots into the dark hallway in an attempt to scare Mrs Currell. Mrs Currell was shot dead and had 10 bullet wounds – 5 entry and exit wounds.
When arrested at Sorrento, Tacke said it was all an accident and he had intended to commit suicide.
In Tacke’s statement, he said he had spent 2500 pounds on Mrs Currell for dinners and theatres and by allowing her 2-10 pounds weekly for the past 3 years.
Tacke had met Mrs Currell in City Picture Theatre in February 1923. Their friendship developed into intimacy and he fell deeply in love with her. At the time of their meeting, he was friendly with own wife. He had lost his whole family of 8 in infancy. On Mrs Currell’s recovery from an operation he sent her to Daylesford and paid all her expenses. He was also in the habit of sending out roast fowls and bottles of wine when she was in ill-health.
The jury returned a verdict of manslaughter.
Injury at Pentridge
2 April, 1927
When wardens went to Tacke’s cell as usual, to escort him to the warders library where he worked as a librarian, Tacke suddenly climbed up the bars to a height of 18 feet, then pitched headlong to the stone floor of his cell. Tacke was conveyed to the Melbourne Hospital in an unconscious state.
Tacke was at one time a well known clubman, member of the MCG and conducted a successful business in the city.
The Death of Henry Tacke
10 September 1927
Henry Tacke, aged 65 years, who was serving a sentence of 7 years imprisonment for the manslaughter of Mrs Rachel Currell at St Kilda in December 1925, died in the Geelong Hospital last night.
Tacke was admitted to the Geelong Gaol on April 28 after he sustained a broken ankle the result of a fall from a gallery at Pentridge.
The coroner held an inquiry today. Dr Purnell, the gaol medical officer, said Tacke’s ankle remained in splints until the middle of May when massage commenced. On June 16, he went for a walk in the exercise yard. Dr Purnell then formed the opinion that Tacke had no desire to get better and malingered at every possible opportunity. He refused to try and walk and would let himself to the ground at every opportunity.
On July 30, while in the hospital, Tacke rubbed his back on the floors, producing large bed sores and feigned insanity. Towards the end of August, he refused to take nourishment. Death was due to heart disease.
A verdict in accordance with the medical evidence was recorded.
September 7, 1869
In 1938, a double murder took place in the now defunct Windsor Castle Hotel in Dunolly. One of the last sightings of the murdered men and their murderer was in the bar of the Railway Hotel in Dunolly. Join Twisted History for dinner and a paranormal investigation here on February 23, 2019.
Noise Said To Have Led To Deaths
December 13, 1938
An alleged statement that he had killed a man because he was making a noise upstairs, and that he had killed another man because he did not want him to be a witness, was read in the Supreme Court today when Thomas William Johnson, 40, of no fixed address, was charged with the murder of the two men.
The victims of the tragedy were: —
Robert McCourt Gray, 73, returned soldier and pensioner
Charles Adam Bunney, 61, war pensioner
They were found in a padlocked upstairs room of the delicensed
Windsor Castle Hotel at Dunolly on October 6 with their heads battered.
Johnson pleaded not guilty to the charges of having murdered Bunney and Gray.
Mr Cussen said that on October 3 there were five people living in the hotel. Gray and Bunney had lived there for years. On September 26 Johnson arrived there. He said that he was on sustenance and wanted to live there, but could not pay.
On Monday morning, October 3, Gray was seen alive and Bunney was seen alive about 5.15 p.m. by the postmaster. After that neither of the men was seen until the Thursday. In the meantime Bunney’s room, although it was open, had not been used. Gray’s room was
Two men looked for Gray and Bunney on the Thursday. One of them
climbed to the verandah and saw the men lying dead side by side. When entrance was gained the two men were found with their heads battered. A bloodstained axe was found in the corner.
Johnson, on the Monday, had no money. On the Tuesday he was seen on the road to Maryborough, and got a ride, for which he paid 1/. He returned later, and this time paid 2/6. When he walked into the Dandenong police station on the Friday he made a statement, although he was warned he need not make it.
Mr Cussen then read the statement alleged to have been made by Johnson. In it Johnson is alleged to have said that he was asleep on the ground floor of the delicensed hotel about 3 p.m. on October 3 when he heard Gray, who was on the top floor, hammering and making a loud noise. He took an axe upstairs and hit Gray on the head. Gray fell to the floor, Bunney came into the room, and he hit him on the head. He then locked the room with a padlock and
threw the key away.
His only excuse for killing Gray was because he was making a noise while he was trying to sleep. He had killed Bunney because he did not want him to be a witness.
He often became bad tempered, and he was in a bad temper when he killed Gray. He stayed at the hotel for two nights afterward. He then walked to Maryborough, rode on a transport to Melbourne on October 6, stayed in the city that night, and walked to Dandenong
the next day.
One of the witnesses was Elizabeth Whelan, the licensee of the Railway Hotel in Dunolly who testified that Cazneau, Johnson and a man named Alexander and Bunney were in the bar on the Monday morning. Bunney bought Johnson two drinks and left. Gray came into the hotel at 10.30 and bought a quart bottle of wine, but did
not drink it with the other men. He gave a £1 note and received his change in small silver. Gray took a quart bottle of wine a month.
Johnson had four pots of beer up to 11 a.m., when he left, and he had one again at 2 p.m.
Thomas William Johnson would be found guilty of the murders of Robert McCourt Gray and Charles Adam Bunney and was sentenced to death.
Johnson was executed at Pentridge Prison on January 23, 1939. When asked by the Sheriff in the condemned cell whether he had anything to say, Johnson shook his head and indicated that he wanted the execution to proceed.
January 4, 1905
On Monday night, between 12 and 1 o’clock, the licensee of the Railway Hotel, heard loud knocking at the door of the hotel, but declined to respond.
A little later the thirsty ones returned, and broke seven of the plate-glass windows facing Broadway with bricks, which were thrown
with force through tho windows. The ruffians then took to their heels and got away.
The matter was at once reported to the police, who have the affair in hand, and believe they have a clue to the guilty persons.
Alvin Rides Again is a 1974 Australia sex-comedy film sequel to Alvin Purple. It was directed by David Bilcock and Robin Copping, who were regular collaborators with Tim Burstall. It was rated M unlike its predecessor which was rated R. Alvin Rides Again still features a lot of full frontal nudity. And like the prequel was written by Alan Hopgood, with a budget of $300,000 Australian dollars.
The premise of the movie is that Alvin Purple (Graeme Blundell) is unable to hold down a job because of his appeal to women. He and his friend Spike Dooley (Alan Finney) help a team of women cricketers win a match by playing in drag, and decide to spend their share of the prize money in a casino. Alvin discovers he is identical in appearance to gangster Balls McGee. When Alvin Purple, is introduced to his doppelganger, Balls McGee, a gangster from America. The gangster wants to watch his favourite TV show – “Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo”, and sings along to the theme music.
Graeme Blundell plays both roles with surprising panache – all the more surprising considering that the screenwriters contrive to off the Balls McGee character almost immediately so that we can be subjected to some tedious switcheroo gags as police come looking for Balls, find Alvin, Alvin goes to get dressed up as Balls, returns. This is funny by default, apparently.
Supposedly there was less nudity this time around, which makes sense considering the intelligence that apparently went into the making of both films. The only reason anyone saw the original film was for the nudity, so why not include less nudity in this installment?
There is also a bigger budget, though unless you pay close attention during the more boring moments, you might miss this. The original movie was a big success in Australia, so of course the sequel has to have something to show for it…
The answer is, a pointless car chase at the end of the movie, featuring a car with guns mounted to the side. I don’t know if the driver was ever introduced, or if reasons were ever given for why he wants to kill Alvin, but no matter. The chase scene is as tedious as it is pointless, and it features two explosions – so THAT’s where the money went! – and ends in the surprisingly violent death of an innocent bystander. Yes, this is the sort of comedy where men impersonate women without shaving moustaches and sideburns and yet fool everybody, people run in and out of rooms chasing each other in fast forward while zany music plays, dwarven actors have their voices dubbed to make them sound as high pitched as possible, and forklift operators are violently machine-gunned to death. One of these things is not like the other.
Some comedies are so witless that they approach surrealism. “Alvin Rides Again” doesn’t quite reach that level, for while the violence is bizarre and completely out of place, its presence as an afterthought simply suggests the writers had no idea what to do with the budget they had or the movie they had to make. It is also portrayed so unrealistically that you could miss it pretty easily. There is, after all, perhaps the least painful meat cleaver to the face shot I have ever seen in a movie.
Tim Burstall, Alan Hopgood and Graeme Blundell weren’t particularly interested in making a sequel to Alvin Purple but the film was so successful, Hexagon Productions wanted a follow up. Blundell wanted to avoid being typecast so a story was created which gave him a chance to play a double role. Burstall, who claims he wrote most of the script with Al Finney, says that: When it came to the crunch, Blundell failed to differentiate between paying Balls and playing Alvin pretending to be Balls. In my view, the film fails for precisely that reason, i.e. Alvin is lost.
Alvin Rides Again was the recipient of some more controversy when it was released but was only rated M. It did not perform as well as its predecessor but still grossed $600,000 by the end of 1977 and ended up taking $1,880,000 at the box office in Australia, which is equivalent to $12,690,000 in 2009 dollars.
Alvin Purple is an 1973 Australian comedy film written by Alan Hopgood and directed by Tim Burstall for Hexagon Productions at a cost of $202,000 Australian dollars. Filming and was shot on location in Melbourne over five and a half weeks in March and April of 1973.
The film is a sex farce which follows the misadventures of a naïve young Melbourne man Alvin Purple, whom women find irresistible. Working in door to door sales, Alvin (unsuccessfully) tries to resist legions of women who want him.
Alvin is so worn-out he seeks psychiatric help to solve his problems. His psychiatrist is, of course, a woman. Alvin ultimately falls in love with the one girl who doesn’t throw herself at him. She becomes a nun, and Alvin ends up a gardener in the convent’s gardens.
Hopgood originally wrote Alvin Purple for the English production company Tigon Films, but they turned it down. Hopgood’s story was originally half comic, half serious, and Burstall originally envisioned it as a 20-minute section of a multi story picture. However he then decided to make the story strictly comic and expand it to feature length. Burstall says he rewrote much of Hopgood’s script, adding many chases and the water bed sequence, and turning Dr McBurney (George Whaley)
figure into a sex maniac. The original script played more emphasis on the relationship between Alvin (Graeme Blundell) and his virginal girlfriend but this was cut in the final film.
The budget was provided by Hexagon, half from Roadshow, half from Burstall, Bilcock and Copping – apart from a short-term loan from the Australian Film Development Corporation, which was repaid before the film’s release.
Tim Burstall remembers his choice of cast Graeme Blundell in the lead:
I remember Bourkie [Roadshow executive Graham Burke] saying, ‘You’ve got to cast somebody like Jack Thompson.’ I said, ‘Absolutely not. You’ve got to cast somebody who wouldn’t, on the surface, seem a stud or even particularly attractive’. I actually thought that Alvin wasn’t, that the comic element was connected with having a Woody Allen or a Dustin Hoffman figure who is not very obviously sexually attractive, and the girls rushing him. This becomes much funnier than if he was a stud figure.
The film was released on the 20th of December 1972 and received largely negative reviews from local film critics. Despite this it was a major hit with Australian audiences. Alvin Purple became the most commercially successful Australian film released to that time, breaking the box office record set by Michael Powell’s pioneering Anglo-Australian comedy feature They’re a Weird Mob (1966). The film made $4,720,000 at the box office in Australia, which is equivalent to $36,721,600 in 2009 dollars. This is 7th highest grossing Australian film of all time when adjusted for inflation.
A 1974 film sequel Alvin Rides Again toned-down the sex scenes and nudity, adding more camp comedy. This was followed by a 1976 ABC comedy television series titled Alvin Purple. Blundell reprised the title role in both, as well as in the 1984 movie Melvin, Son of Alvin.
The score and title theme were composed by iconic Australian singer-songwriter Brian Cadd.
Against the Wind is a 1978 historical drama television mini-series based on the British rule of Ireland and the transportation of convicts to New South Wales. The production was the most challenging historical series to be produced for television in Australian at the time.
The show was produced by Crawford Productions and Pegasus Productions and ran for 13 episodes, first airing on the 12th of September to the 31st of October 1978, on the HSV7 Seven Network. The series was the idea of Bronwyn Binns, who had grown up in President Road, Kellyville, New South Wales, where she had found old convict remnants on the family property. Kellyville is not far from the site of the colonial Vinegar Hill uprising also known as the Castle Hill convict rebellion.
“As a child one heard stories of the convict days and the Castle Hill Rebellion’, Bronwyn Binns recalls. ‘I used to play among some old stone ruins near an orchard, where an iron ring was set in a crumbling wall. I now believe that this was all that remained of the Castle Hill prison farm”. She remembers her father working on their house at Kellyville and discovering some very old brickwork. On one of the bricks was the mark of a broad arrow. “During my research for ‘Against the Wind’, I discovered that the original house on the site had been visited by the Castle Hill rebels the night of the uprising”, she said.
Bronwyn worked as a researcher at Crawford Productions in Melbourne and had developed the project over a number of months, Bronwyn teamed up with Crawford’s colleague Ian Jones and presented it to Channel Seven, who agreed to finance a series. The series was directed by George Miller and Simon Wincer.
Set in Australia’s colonial era between 1798–1812, the series follows the life of Mary Mulvane (Mary Larkin), a daughter of an Irish school master. At 18, Mary is transported to New South Wales for a term of seven years after attempting to take back her family’s milk cow which had been seized by the British “in lieu of tithes” to the local proctor. Mary endures the trial of a convict sea journey to New South Wales and years of service as a convict before her emancipation and life as a free citizen. During the journey out she makes a lifelong friend of fellow Irish convict, Polly McNamara (Kerry McGuire), and in the course of the series we see their friendship continue, Polly’s relationship and life with taverner Will Price (Frank Gallacher) develop, and Mary’s relationship with Jonathon Garrett (Jon English) a fellow convict grow, leading to eventual marriage when both have served their term. Together they face the difficulties of establishing a farm and a young family in the new country, and must deal with the tyranny of the corrupt military running the colony.
The series was filmed at Old Sydney Town near Gosford, and at Belgrave Heights, Warrandyte, Colac, Geelong and Emu Bottom homestead at Sunbury. It had a budget of over a million dollars. The series was a large ratings success, being the second most popular show on Australia in 1978, being seen by 2,174,000 people in four cities and was the first major Australian TV production to be broadcast in the United States market.
Further success was at the 1979 Logie Awards where Jon English won the “Best New Talent” for his role in the miniseries as “Jonathan Garrett”.
A soundtrack for the series was released by Polydor Records, and the song Six Ribbons written by Jon English was released as a single. Six Ribbons entered the Kent Music Report on the 5th of December 1978, before peaking at number 5 on the Australian charts in 1979. The song peaked at number 1 in Norway and 10 in Sweden in December 1981.
Channel Seven released a remarkable 70-page book relating to Against the Wind, comprising historical background notes, character biographies, and the detailed storylines with drawings of props and costumes.
We came across a reference to an unusual murder case the other day. And although it isn’t Australian, there is very definitely some Twisted History to it!
Pype Hayes Park in Erdington, Birmingham, England has been the scene of two murders – one in 1817 and another in 1974. Now you might not think that is particularly interesting but the parallels between these two cases is uncanny!
On May 27, 1817, the belle of the parish, Mary Ashford attended a dance at Tyburn House Inn with her friend Hannah Cox. The two young ladies left around midnight and would return to Hannah’s house. Mary would leave and would not be seen alive again. Her body would be discovered a few hours, where a worker discovered a puddle of blood and two sets of footprints leading to the muddy ditch. Mary had been sexually assaulted and left to drown.
On May 27, 1974, childcare worker Barbara Forrest spent the night out dancing with her boyfriend at various pubs before he escorted her to the Colmore Circus bus stop. It would be the last time anyone saw Barbara alive. Her semi-naked body was found under bracken in a shallow ditch just 500 yards from her house on the edge of the park. Barabara had been raped and strangled.
Two men would be arrested, one for each crime – Abraham Thornton in 1817 and Michael Thornton in 1974. At their respective trials both men would be acquitted for lack of evidence. In 1817, Abraham admitted to having sex with Mary but 3 witnesses gave him an alibi which saw the case dismissed. In 1975, Michael was arrested after blood stains were found on his pants and an alibi proved false. The case was dismissed.
Both cases remain officially unsolved to this day.
But there are a few interesting facts related to the 1817 murder. Firstly, Abraham Thornton’s boot print was matched to those leading to Mary’s body. It was one of the earlist recorded cases of footwear identification. Secondly, after the dismissal of the first trial, Mary’s brother William launched an appeal stating the evidence was overwhelming against Thornton. Thornton was rearrested and claimed the right to trial by battle – a medieval law that had never been repealed by Parliament. Ashford declined and Thornton was freed from custody. The law was repealed in 1819.
But we will leave the final words to Mary Ashford’s family. On her grave in Sutton Coldfield Churchyard is the following inscription:
“As a warning to female virtue and a humble monument to female chastity, this stone marks the grave of Mary Ashford who on the twentieth year of her age having incautiously repaired to a scene of amusement without proper protection, was brutally murdered on 27th May 1817”