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International outlaws: Tony Richardson, Mick Jagger and Ned Kelly

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This article examines British director Tony Richardson's international version of Ned Kelly (1970) in the context of international Australian films and the national Australian cinema. Ever since Richardson was given government assistance to produce a film about the Australian bushranger Ned Kelly, pressure to help the local industry had been mounting, especially considering that Richardson's film under-cut some local productions under consideration. Outraged that a British director would be allowed to make a film about an Australian national hero when its own directors were begging for such opportunities, locals responded to Richardson and star Mick Jagger's arrival in Australia with great resentment. By looking equally at Richardson's calamitous making of the first international Kelly production, and the state of the Australian film industry, this article discusses Ned Kelly as a caution-ary tale about foreigners making films about historical Australian subjects. From start to finish, Ned Kelly was a disaster, and never again would an international production be given the same concessions as were granted to Tony Richardson.

Keywords: Australian cinema; Mick Jagger; Ned Kelly; Tony Richardson; Woodfall Film Productions; bushranger films

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/sac.4.3.255_1

Affiliations: RMIT University.

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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  • 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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