Dead on arrival: The fate of Australian film noir
Author: Verevis, Constantine
Source: Studies in Australasian Cinema, Volume 4, Number 3, December 2010 , pp. 243-253(11)
Abstract:In the late 1960s, producer-entrepreneur Reg Goldsworthy brought American television director Eddie Davis to Australia to make three feature films, It Takes All Kinds (1969), Color Me Dead (1969) and That Lady from Peking (1970). The second of these, Color Me Dead, was a direct (credited) remake of the film noir classic D.O.A. (Mat, 1949). Discarding the flashback structure of the original, Color Me Dead begins with an atmospheric night-sequence, but soon settles into a routine (if convoluted) thriller in which the poisoned protagonist attempts to track down his own killer. While the Davis version closely follows the dialogue and plot of Mat's film, the form and style of the Australian remake owes less to its precursor than it does to post-classical noirs (Harper, 1966; The Detective, 1968; Lady in Cement, 1968), and television noir (Dragnet, 19511959; Naked City, 1958 1963; The Fugitive, 19631967). This article looks at the antipodean, cultural remaking of D.O.A., historically situated midway between its classic original (1949) and its second, neo-noir remaking, D.O.A. (Morton and Jankel, 1988). The remake's television aesthetic (and US cable release) adds weight to the suggestion that, through the 1960s, the noir of the classic sensibility was kept alive mainly through television series.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Monash University.
Publication date: December 2010
- Launched in 2007, the journal engages in critical discussion of cinema from the Australian, New Zealand and Pacific region. Australia, New Zealand and other Pacific regions are home to many indigenous nations and immigrant cultures from all around the world. Studies in Australasian Cinema will maintain an emphasis on this diversity with a special interest in postcolonial politics and contexts.
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