Paul Cox

Assistant Director

Bernard Eddy


John Clarke

Paul Cox

Executive Producer

Philips Adams


John B. Murray


Yuri Sokol

Production Manager

Jane Ballantyne


Tim Lewis

Production Designer

Neil Angwin

Art Department

Phil Eagles

Sound Department             

Peter Burgess (sound editor)

Peter Fenton (sound mixer)

Ken Hammond (sound recordist)

David Parker (sound re-recording mixer)

Grant Stuart (boom operator)

Camera and Electrical Department

David Cassar (Key grip)

Michael Madigan (best boy)

Nino Gaetano Martinetti (focus group)

Editorial Department

Peter McBain (assistant editor)

Other crew   

Jo Weeks (continuity)

Original Music          

Norman Kaye


Actor / Actress


Wendy Hughes

Patricia Curnow

Norman Kaye

Peter Thompson

Jon Finlayson


Julia Blake


Jonathan Hardy


Irene Inescort

Patricia’s mother

Vic Gordon  

Patricia’s father

Ted Grove-Rogers

Peter’s father

Ron Falk      

Wig Salesman

Chris Haywood      


Diana Greentree

Sally Gordon

Margaret Steven     

Patricia’s psychiatrist

Kris McQuade


Myrtle Roberts       

‘Bye Bye Blackbird’ sister

Irene Hewitt

‘Bye Bye Blackbird’ sister

Jean Campbell        

Mrs. Morgan in park

Ernest Wilson          

Mr. Morgan in park

Jack Hill                   

Bingo Caller

Ernie Bourne           

Man in Toilet

Barry Chambers


Susanne Chapman

Girl in Bank



Additional Information
Production Companies       

  1.  Adams Packer Film Productions
  2. Publishing & Broadcasting Limited

Theatrical Distributors

  1.  Samuel Goldwyn Company
  2.  Publishing & Broadcasting Limited

Release Dates
Australia        -           1982
United States  -           September 4, 1983
Australia        -           November 8, 2001 (re-release)


Best Film - 1982 Australian Film Institute Awards
AFI Award Winners –Feature Categories 1969 – 2005


Best Screenplay, Original and Adapted for Lonely Hearts (1982) – John Clarke and Paul Cox



Bibliography of interviews with film makers  at the time of an subsequent to the film’s release.

I could not find any interviews which linked directly to the making or comments by the director of Lonely Hearts (1982). Most of the search results presented me with “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and interviews with Paul Cox on his other films, “Innocence”, The Diaries of Nijinsky” and other films Cox has produced.
Below are some of the interviews with director Paul Cox.

Interviews with Paul Cox:
The New York Times: FILM; Daring To Make A Love Story Life’s Last Chapter
(By Molly Haskel – Published on August 19, 2001)
Innersense (Bill Mousoulis)-

[Go to the above address and select “Melbourne Independent filmmakers “. Scroll down to find “Paul Cox”. There are three links at the bottom of the article, under the heading “Select Biography”, which lead to more interviews with Paul Cox].

1.         Senses of Cinema
: Paul Cox – Filmmaker. (By Philip Tyndall)

2.         World Socialist Web Site:  An interview with Paul Cox, director of Innocence: “Filmmakers have a duty to speak out against the injustices in the world” (By Richard Phillips) – January 6, 2001.

3.         Senses of Cinema:
The Diaries of Vaslav Nijinsky: The culmination of a career.  (By Philip Tyndall)


Bibliography of reviews in newspapers, critical essays in journals, discussions in books.
Review (online)
The New York Times – ‘Lonely Hearts,’ Australian Comedy
(By Vincent Canby – Published: September 4, 1983)
[To read the full article, sign up for free when prompted]
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- – The Regions Homepage 
(Published on October 14, 1983, Page E20, Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA)
[Unfortunately, I could not gain full access to the article because a fee is required to obtain it].
==================================================================================Discussions in books (There wasn’t any book printed solely in response to the 1982 film. The closest I can get to the director is with the 3 Screenplays).

  1. Rattigan, Neil. 1991. Images of Australia (100 films of the New Australian Cinema), First Edition. United States of America: Southern Methodist University Press.

[Lists 100 Australian movies with a discussion of the film’s storyline plus comments on its plot, characters, theme and more.]

  1. Murray, Scott. Australian Film (1978 – 1994) – A Survey of Theatrical Features. Melbourne Oxford University Press in association with the Australian Film Commission and Cinema Papers.

[Lists movies dating all the way back in 1978 to 1994 with the full list of production houses, crew and cast plus comments on the film itself and the factors influencing its production.]

  1. Stratton, David. 1998. 3 Screenplays – Paul Cox. Australia.

[I used this book to assist me in capturing dialogue which I missed whilst watching the film on videotape. The author compiled three of Cox’s famous screenplays with notes on modification to the script when the film was made. There is also a little Introduction written by Stratton of Cox’s way of life, philosophy and successes.]
Details of the film’s online presence in the web literature.
I really thought that I could get more information on the film and the processes Paul Cox went through in producing it seeing that it is such an old film but I guess I was mistaken. A basic search on using Google and Yahoo! Returns with more than 3,000 sites containing the words, “Lonely Hearts” and the year “1982”.  Alas, there isn’t any in depth information regarding the movie, other than a synopsis – only a collective mentioning in reviews, online news papers, and forums.
I found two sites with clips from the film though, and stumbled across a few other sites which I feel have relevant information of the film. Seeing that the DVD version was released only recently, one can also find short synopsis of the film and find out about the extra feature which is only available on DVD format.

àUrban Cinefile:  Lonely Hearts (1981) – Classic Clip
[I’m not sure whether this clip can be viewed or not as I do not have the necessary media player]

àAustralian Screen: Lonely Hearts (1981) - Clips
[These clips are on site so there won’t be a problem viewing them. The site also has informationand notes about the film.]


Other sites:




PART 2: Critical Review of Film and its Literature.

Film Synopsis
            The film opens with the funeral of Peter’s and Pamela’s mother, Josephina, Amalia Teresa Thompson and we learn that Peter has not been living his own life until now – he has not had a relationship for he has been caring for his mother all this while. He is already nearing 50 years of age. A piano tuner by profession, Peter Thompson (Norman Kaye) seeks the assistance of a dating agency, a stepping stone to ‘living his own life’ and meets with Patricia Curnow (Wendy Hughes) who, at first, was thought to be “ a bit young” for him. He was somewhat disappointed that she was plain and unsophisticated but things do work out looking at the amount of dates they go on. Patricia also starts living her own life by getting an apartment unit of her own to escape the clutches of her ever-prying parents.
            Both have a secret; Peter would not allow Patricia to know that he wears a wig and Patricia is psychologically fearful of sexual intercourse because she is inexperienced in it.
            The second half of the movie sees the two of them build up a sense of courage in themselves and reflect upon their behaviours and actions taking into consideration how the other person would feel and react towards them.


The essence of Lonely Hearts is said to be derived from the real life experiences of loneliness suffered by director Paul Cox when he first arrived in Australia. It was also said to be too dark a plot for a story that executive producer Philip Adams sought the expertise of John Clarke to inject an element of humour into it, thus, producing a screenplay for Lonely Hearts.
As Cox does not comply with mainstream cinema themes or conventions, his films mostly portray people who, we, as audiences, can relate to. The ‘ordinariness’ of the characters in this film is appealing . The two lead characters are not rich and famous nor popular or intelligent. They are average people who do average things like going to a Bingo game, getting caught for shoplifting (Peter) or participate in amateur theatre (especially important for Patricia who has always been dissuaded from ‘theatrical nonsense’ as her father would put it). We can find these people in our everyday lives. They do exist.
Another theme would be of first love – an obvious one from the very beginning and is emphasized even more when they are both awkward in expressing their affections for one another being first timers and all.
And also of alienation and self-discovery. The characters, in their encounters with the reality of their lives, build up some sort of realization and understanding of what they would have to do if they were to change circumstances or live better lives. The end marks a new phase for both Peter and Patricia. Both have now come to accept what each other has and do not expect for anything beyond their means.    

Own Commentary
Without expectations in plot or story line prior to watching the film, I found it an enjoyable watch as it played on personalities of individuals (an area of discussion I’m particularly attracted to) and the characters are represented as down-to-earth, living average lives, making a living, interacting with others around them, etc.
The hearse at the start of the movie was a comic relief in that it had to give chase and overtake Bruce’s car to take the lead.
In the beginning, it was interesting to see how eager Pamela was in picking out items and deciding on their value in her late mother’s house. Both she and her husband are portrayed as being materialistic – this occurs again when Peter informs her that their father needs to be put in a hospital for treatment and from Peter’s reaction over the phone, Pamela seemed to not want to have anything to do with it probably because costs are involved. She explains herself to her brother stating that she had also chipped in to care for their mother and that he, “... mustn’t think that Bruce and I would evade our responsibilities”. I have aunts who are like Pamela, calculative and inconsiderate.
The random scene of Peter pretending to be blind and is able to even drive caught me off guard. I didn’t think he would drive off whilst the woman was standing at her gate. I thought he would hail a bus or cab or something because a blind man driving a car didn’t make any sense.
Then the awkward scene where Patricia suggests that she and Peter sleep together but do nothing was inconceivable. Who in their right mind would sleep naked with a man, whom she believed she could trust, and expect nothing to happen? I wouldn’t say it was an illogical idea because Patricia is portrayed to be child-like (example: When he Dad first visits her, she finds the need to raise her voice a little to let herself be heard and when her father imposes authority, she becomes somewhat timid and bites her finger nails.) And like children, I guess she took herself literally, expecting Peter to do the same. Peter, being a man of wisdom at 50, could’ve been exposed to the belief that, “when a woman says no, she actually means yes” philosophy and thought that Patricia was that kind of lady.
I had hoped for a richer explanation of the characters’ pasts – Why Peter is presumably, ‘cut off’ from the outside world whilst his mother was still alive and his father is in an institution for old folks, and his shoplifting habits – where and why did he acquire this?; and why the relationship Patricia has with her parents is as such. There was little background explanations which was quite simplified and did not give enough substance to the film.
I loved the ending though. When Patricia finally has the guts to tell her father off after he is angered by what George says about leaving Patricia alone to live her life freely. I was waiting for that moment to come when watching the movie. It angered me, how Patricia’s life was dictated by her parents because back home, my parents are like that too. The only difference is that, I’ve been rebelling and talking back to them in a slightly different manner but when I do as how Patricia did, they think I’m being too smart for my own good. It’s hard to be a daughter. Anyways, digressing, Peter’s relief of seeing Patricia at his window signified that he cares about her and not even about how he looks without his toupee – he had all this while, felt that his baldness showed his age and he was ashamed of that. For him to come to this realization, he had now discovered his true self.


 Critical Uptake Of The Film.
The performances by the lead actor and actress have received numerous praises and acknowledgement and that the film served as a platform in introducing Paul Cox as a new film-making talent. There have been snide comments in reviews at the time of its release stating that the title is unfit, that the screenplay was not properly executed – seen as over exaggerated, etc. However, these are rare in reviews and published material so all in all, the film has received good responses overall (cast and crew included) probably due to the fact that director Paul Cox works with only a small budget but manages to implement complex themes which don’t even comply with mainstream cinema. The film garnered the Best Film Award in 1982 at the AFI Film Awards and Norman Kaye was nominated Best Lead Actor.

I could not get any interviews with Norman Kaye so the only helpful information I could get was via Wikipedia (
Interview with Wendy Hughes (By Greg King)

Situate the film
Prior to feature films, Dutch-born Paulus (Paul) Henriques Benedictus Cox, also known as Paul Cox, had been rejecting the reality of being financially crippled whilst honing his film making skills over a period of thirty years. When he first settled down in Australia, he took pride in his photography and managed to gain some recognition through his photos. In the meantime, he pursued the hobby of making Super 8 films and this reeled him into film making. His first movie “Matutta” (1965) was followed by a series of documentaries and short films. His first feature “Illuminations” (1976) gave Australia something to talk about with the success of “Lonely Hearts” (1982) which garnered the Best Film Award in 1982. This then led to more feature films which were nominated and received awards not only for film but also for the cast and crew.
Labelled an auteur, Cox’s style of film making has often put critics in disagreement; some say his efforts paid off well. Others said his films were paced and had too much conversation going on. His philosophy of not complying with mainstream cinema conventions created this never-ending discussion.
His most recent work “The Remarkable Mr. Kaye” (2005), a documentary and portrait of his dear friend Norman Kaye who had Alzheimer’s and was taken off the stage because of his inability to memorize scripts. The condition he had didn’t allow him to sustain and remember anything he did. 
The Age
"We both believed that if one wants to do anything seriously, it must remain a hobby. As soon as it becomes a profession a degree of compromise comes in and compromise, we believed, was just another word for mediocrity." (Cox speaking on behalf of Kaye).
Lonely Hearts (1982) - A Melodrama?
According to Gillard (2008) the melodrama genre is a special kind. The term originating from theatrical contexts has been applied to many films since its adaptation. It actually serves to represent a story accompanied by music which emphasizes the underlying drama of the plot and increase the emotional response amongst the audiences.
In the early days, plots were considered to be the main element of melodrama cinema; there were thrills, shock, happenings, and coincidences – practically anything to create drama. Its application to style was exaggerated, “over the top” kind. Cinematographically, the over-use of the camera, and the excessive jump cuts – all of these make up melodrama.
In my opinion, the film does not fit in entirely with this genre. Sure it has its dramatic moments (example: When Patricia screams for Peter to stop doing whatever he was with her on his bed) but it has that satirical comedy element in real life. This can be seen when Peter, nearing 50, is gullible for his age and is persuaded easily to pay another AUD50 to obtain Patricia’s number and also to buy the expensive toupee from the smooth talker wig salesman – because he was desperate? Or was he always extorted like this by his sister Pamela when they were growing up?
 The issue of alienation for example, Peter from the world, his mum’s death enables him to live again and Patricia from emotional commitment, her parents being the main oppressive and interfering culprits also represents a bit of “realism” in the film because these events do happen in the real world – Doesn’t mean we don’t see it means it doesn’t exist.
Shot by Paul Cox who adopted Melbourne as his second home, Lonely Hearts is not an ordinary comedy-romance flick. It is a story about the yearning of the human heart to find a home where it will be safe from all harms. Its appeal to mass audiences lie in the exploration of complex issues which revolve around human relationship and communication where there is oppression, interference, fear and deceits – all of which exist in the real world and happen to real people, young and old alike. It is a touching tale but it does not leave you weeping. It is a film that touches you without tearing you apart. It allows you to empathize with the characters. With this, you will learn to appreciate the life lessons the character go through as you would.
References other than the ones already stated.
The New York Times: Lonely Hearts – Cast, Crew, Director and Awards
Wikipedia – Paul Cox
Paul Cox – Biography