AT LAST BULLAMAKANKA THE MOTION PICTURE
Australia, 1984, 89 minutes, Colour.
Steve Rickan, Greg Kliger, Alyson Best.
Directed by Simon Heath.
At Last Bullamakanka the Motion Picture must lay claim to be one of the worst of Australian films. The film is written and directed by Simon Heath. (Written seems to be a euphemism.) The film is like a scratch concert and fairly raucous in its characterizations, send-ups, dialogue and language. It skits many of the Australian stereotypes, Angry Anderson (shaving his head while talking on the telephone) introduces the film and speaks about a corrupt senator taking political advantage of a visit to Bullamakanka. There is some satire on the rather leering senator during his visit.
However, the film also turns to corrupt local politics, with Rhino Jackson and his standover tactics for winning re-election as Mayor. His has an inept and fussy son called Taldo. There are, of course, some goodies especially in the form of Mark Hembrow as Jones. There is also Alyson Best as Claire and put upon father Walter whose property is being taken over by Jackson. There is also an episode about the country races for promoting Jackson - and the substitution of a horse for the real champion - as well as a substitution of a machine for the stolen horse. There are two eccentric horse thieves who provide knockabout comedy.
The film also opens with an effeminate and simpering minister who is overawed by Jackson and who has contacts with a league of grown up boy scouts - who are into drinking, raucous behaviour and inventions. The priest is played by Molly Meldrum. There are also some other guest appearances of a rather surprising nature: John Farnham as a policeman who is being accused of being gay; Derryn Hinch and Peter Russel Clarke as two gangsters henchmen; Gordon Elliot as the gangster. The plot, such as it is, focuses on Jackson and his standover tactics and corruption (including getting his secretary chosen as Miss Bullamakanka) and clashing with his rather stern wife (who, of course, is a repressed sexual athlete who breaks out). There are the horse substitutions, meetings in the town, the races themselves - and some fist fights and raucous knockabout comedy.
If that seems appealing - then this is an Australian comedy. Otherwise it is an inept farce.