MED 231 CRITICAL REVIEW

MONEY MOVERS

“If one of your mob said good mornin’ to me, I’d put on me slippers an got bed. That’s how much I trust ya.”

- Brain Jackson as played by Brian Brown

Film Information

Australian release in cinema: 1st February 1978 in Sydney, New South Wales
Roadshow Entertainment

Australian release on Video: 7the September 1982
Australian Video

Australian released on DVD: 10th November 2004
Umbrella Entertainment

USA Release in cinema: 1979

File written by Adobe Photoshop® 5.0

DIRECTOR
Bruce Beresford

SCRIPTWRITER
Bruce Beresford adapted from the novel by Devon Minchin

CINEMATOGRAPHER
Don McAlpine

PRODUCER
Matt Carroll

PRODUCTION COMPANY
South Australian Film Corporation

Key Cast 

Terence Donovan
Eric Jackson

Tony Bonner
Leo Bassett

Ed Devereaux
Dick Martin

Charles Tingwell
Jack Henderson

Candy Raymond
Mindel Seagers

Brian Brown
Brian Jackson

Alan Cassell
Sammy Rose

Lucky Grills
Robert Conway

Jeanie Drynan
Dawn Jackson

Gary Files
Ernest Sainsbury

Hu Pryce
David Griffiths

Frank Wilson
Lionel Darcy

Ray Marshall
Ed Gallagher

Stuart Littlemore
News reporter

Production Major Funding

  1. New South Wales Film Corporation
  2. South Australian Film Corporation

Film Maker Media Bibliography

Director Bruce Beresford (and screenwriter) on Money Movers:

  1. http://movies2.nytimes.com/gst/movies/movie.html?v_id=33105

New York Times Film Review

  1. http://www.theyshootpictures.com/beresfordbruce.htm

Bruce Beresford Flimography

  1. http://www.hollywood.com/movie/Money_Movers/179205

Hollywood.com film review

Director Bruce Beresford on other works:

  1. http://www.filmfreakcentral.net/notes/bberesfordinterview.htm

Insightful interview on his career clearly authored by a fan

  1. http://www.contactmusic.com/new/artist.nsf/ArtistNames/Bruce%20Beresford

Most recent information on future movies

  1. http://www.filmreference.com/Directors-Be-Bu/Beresford-Bruce.html

Extensive information on his wide variety of works

  1. http://www.hbo.com/films/panchovilla/interviews/bruce_beresford.html

On making And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself

  1. http://www.hbo.com/films/panchovilla/interviews/bruce_beresford.html

Video clips of the director speaking on working within the film industry

  1. http://efilmcritic.com/feature.php?feature=170

Interview in 2000 about the upcoming Double Jeopardy

  1. http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/australian_cinema/10059

Profile on the Director by Joshua Smith

  1. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000915/

IMDb Director information

  1. http://www.mook-e.com/dire/beresford.htm

An unaccredited interview

  1. http://www.aftrsmedia.com/CSB/?p=49

Videos of Beresford speaking on his films and the Australian film industry (my favourite)

Bruce Beresford is a prominent director in the Australian cinematic world and has had a major role in shaping the industry since his first feature length film The Adventures of Barry McKenzie. Beresford is associated largely with the Australian ‘New Wave’ period, which began in the seventies with the emergence of a Labour Government that funded more arts based projects, particularly film. He also proved a success in the United States, with film the film Driving Miss Daisy (1989) made on a limited budget and for which he took no director’s fee.

Matthew Carroll Producer of Money Movers:

  1. http://en.allexperts.com/e/m/ma/matt_carroll_(producer).htm

A brief account of his career

  1. http://www.harrymmiller.com.au/Matt_Carrol.html

A personality management brief of his career

  1. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0140929/

IMDb link

  1. http://www.movies.yahoo.com/shop?d=hc&id=1800053154&cf=gen

Yahoo! Brief director information

Matthew Carroll is a highly regarded producer in Australian cinema, and has contributed many film and television productions such as Storm Boy, Breaker Morant, the television programe Farscape and more recently the mini-series Joanna Lees: Murder in the Outback. He worked for the South Australian Film Corporation and Channel Ten, producing movies and writing television dramas and miniseries. The managing director, Greg Coote and Carroll then left channel Ten and started the production company Roadshow, Coote and Carroll before breaking away and forming his own company in 1995 Matt Carroll Film Pty Ltd, producing mainly mini-series and made for TV movies.

Cinematographer Don McAlpine

  1. http://www.cinematographer.org.au/features/flashback/mcalpine

The Australian Cinematographers Society interview on how he got into the industry

  1. http://www.kodak.com/US/en/motion/forum/onFilm/mcAlpineQA.shtml

Kodak On Film interview

  1. Magid, R., "Playing for Keeps: Patriot Games," interview in American Cinematographer (Hollywood), vol. 73, no. 6, 1992.

An interview in American Cinematographer magazine

  1. http://www.cameraguild.com/index.html?magazine/stoo302-a.htm~main_hp

An interview on The Time Machine (2002) for the International Cinematographers Guild

  1. http://www.butterflies.radish-spirit.com/int_aboutpplwpd.html

A short interview about the production of Peter Pan (at the bottom of the page)

Don McAlpine is another big name in Australian cinema history, he worked on projects in the early days such as the Barry McKenzies series and Breaker Morant with Bruce Beresford. He got started in the film industry when he was a school teacher in a small country town covering outback news stories for the ABC, which were always needed by the broadcaster. He broke away from teaching, taught himself the technical basics and got a full time job as a cameraman for the ABC. He then teamed up with Beresford to make a short film and later The Adventures of Barry McKenzie in London, which prompted him to become a freelance cameraman. He  then made the move to the United States and has worked on such features as Moulin Rogue! And recently The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.  

On-Line Media Presence

Money Movers as the singular film itself has very little web presence, it has no dedicated fan-sites nor does it have an official website. Rather, the sites usually deal with the more prominent works of the director, producer and cinematographer and make a passing reference to the film in this context. There are a few reasons for this, the first being that it has been described as critically and commercially ignored (Cinephilia, 2000) and was basically a genre film (crime/action) designed to make money at the box office in order for Beresford to fund Breaker Morant. For this reason, it is not highly regarded as one of the better films produced by the recognized Australian cast and crew. The success that the director, producer, cinematographer and some actors went onto achieve leaves Money Movers as simply a well made film, however not recognized on a larger scale.

Critical Review

Plot Synopsis

An absolute gem of an Australian genre film, Money Movers is a brilliant example of a crime / action / caper movie. It relies on the use of dramatic crime conventions, providing many ‘edge-of-your-seat-moments,’ complete with shots of large amounts of money, security lock-ups, seedy looking types and the obviously rich all seamlessly editing to highlight greed as a huge theme throughout the film.

Money Movers is set in Sydney, New South Wales and follows two brothers, Eric and Brian Jackson (Terence Donovan and a young Brian Brown) and a chain smoking ‘cough up a lung’ older man Ed Gallagher, the union boss (Ray Marshall) in their attempt to rob the security company ‘Darcy’s’ counting house for $20 million. The audience is introduced to the three characters as employees of the company, having worked their for some time, as they have built up a trustworthy relationship with the management. They have been planning the heist for about five years, but as it is coming together the head of the firm Lionel Darcy (Frank Wilson) receives a newspaper note telling of a robbery at the counting house. Meanwhile, one of Darcy’s armored vans is being robbed by another group, who get double-crossed by a crime kingpin Jack Henderson (Charles Tingwell).

And so begins the narrative of corruption, deceit and violent encounters in the security services industry. The three central robbers are put off by the robbery by a rival ‘gang’ and the note that was delivered to the office of Darcy’s stating ‘your counting house will be robbed soon.’  Meanwhile, the trio of robbers require more funds for their robbery and use inside information to steal $50,000 from a cosmetics company that Darcy’s Security Services were supposed to be protecting, murdering a colleague in the process.

As the security processes at Darcy’s becomes more intense, Eric Jackson incites suspicion of a young new recruit Leo Bassett (Tony Bonner) and a retired policeman Dick Martin (Ed Devereaux). This leads him to plant a bug in the young recruits flat, however getting caught in the process by Jack Henderson’s hired help, exposing his plan to rob Darcy’s to the organized crime ‘guru’ as well as exposing Bassett’s suspicious involvement with the company as an outside insurance investigator.

Once Jack Henderson learns of the plan to heist Darcy’s, he forcibly involves himself and his men, offering his funds and services for a fee. The three boys develop their plan and go ahead with the heist. However, (as always) it goes wrong, Leo Bassett and Dick Martin arrive at the counting house during the heist, the management at Darcy’s become aware of possible discrepancies in procedures and Jack Henderson’s men become ‘trigger happy.’ The robbery is ruined as Dick Martin (the ex-cop) discovers the plan and incites a bloody shootout, where each member of the heist gang is killed in a spectacular fashion and the plan is foiled. In a magnificent final sequence, Eric Jackson has a note in his pocket stating ‘get Jack Henderson’ which is unfortunately discovered by the corrupt investigator Sammy Rose (Alan Cassell) who extorts Henderson for a large sum, ending the film, ‘no one will breathe a word.’

Critical Uptake

The literature available for the film is very limited. Apart from the above-mentioned websites that site Money Movers, there is a very little information of any relevance to the reception of the film. It was also stated above that he film was created in order to provide funds for Bruce Beresford’s film Breaker Morant. Although the subsequent film had limited funding it can perhaps be said that Money Movers helped fund an Australian Classic.

Position of Key Players

Beresford

The director of Money Movers, Bruce Beresford is today (2007) a director that can be credited to having produced some of the most important work for the Australian Film industry to date. He was part of what is known as the Australian ‘new wave’ which was conceived because of more available film grants that were made available to the young filmmakers established through the Labour Government.

Beresford began his career in the Australian film industry with the Barry MacKenzie movies in 1972, designed to increase the status of the Australian film industry. The commercial success of these two films enabled Beresford the public and industry leverage to experiment with a wide range of work. He went on to direct a few more Australian features, after establishing himself through Breaker Morant. Most famously in the United States circuit with the film Driving Miss Daisy, which won an Academy Award for Best Picture among others.

Brown

Brian Brown has perhaps been captured in his first on screen role as a young looking criminal. His renowned presence for playing the ever-intimidating mob type character is initially portrayed in Money Movers as he plays the smart mouth, yet softhearted, ‘spunky’ Brian Jackson. Brown has appeared in over six other Australian crime films, and it is interesting to note that he is a largely associated with the crime genre in Australian cinema. This is perhaps of his ability to play tough, strong character with rough edges combined with his blue-collar Australian roots and strong physique.

Position in Australian Cinema and Genre

In the research that was conducted, it was difficult to find information based particularly on the film, rather most resources made passing mention. Despite this, it is easy to see after viewing the film and reading of other works by the filmmakers that Money Movers somehow constitutes an important part of the Australian film industry. The film is highly convention driven, it uses aesthetics such as dark sequences, quick editing shots, images of greed, clean cut sets as well as narrative elements such as plot twists, the sympathetic view of the criminals and the love for the underdog to come out on top. However, whilst based on crime films made in Hollywood, it still has a distinctive Australian edge that incorporates rough characters and a slightly dirty situations and settings. The characters themselves within the genre reflect a distinctly Australian edge: corrupt cops, honest ex-cops that got caught in a compromising position, a gay Welshman, loud and demanding bosses, flirtatious young ‘girl next door’ types.

The film also incorporates a couple of Australian ‘asides’ that can be defined as (usually smart ass) comments that a kind of like a jab at the viewers. First is the Sales Manager that slaps the bottom of his secretary asking the question ‘still think I’m the sexiest man since Erroll Flynn?’ Then there is Jack Henderson, a supposed high class ‘businessman’ (actually just a professional thug) listening to a record of classical music called ‘How to appreciated Classical Music,’ presumably in an attempt to become more sophisticated. Then there is the union boss who is actually planning to rob his workplace, perhaps the ultimate form of worker action, who is continually smoking and coughing. In the final scenes of the film, the Sales Manager is locked in the safe that will only unlock after a certain period of time, sitting drinking the beer that the guards store their.

The film can certainly be defined as an Australian crime movie, along side such contemporaries as Two Hands, Idiot Box, Dirty Deeds and The Bank with a huge influence from the major aspects of the genre. The film, although not widely documented is one the can be accredited to helping develop the careers of some of the biggest names in the Australian industry.