NO ROOM TO RUN
Australia, 1978, 101 minutes, Colour.
Richard Benjamin, Paula Prentiss, Barry Sullivan, Noel Ferrier, Ray Barrett, Cul Cullen, Anne Haddy.
Directed by Robert Michael Lewis.
No Room To Run was the first in a series of telemovies produced by the Australian Broadcasting Commission in conjunction with the American television industry. It is a political thriller-romance, of the rather more conventional type. There are many improbabilities but there is some excitement while the film is on the screen. Americans imported for the leading roles were the husband and wife team of Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss. Barry Sullivan also stars. There are quite a number of Australian artists in the film including Ray Barrett. Others in the series were more successful especially Ralph Nelson's film about a retarded boy, Because He's My Friend starring Karen Black, Keir Dullea and Jack Thompson. No Room To Run is average improbable espionage and crime melodrama.
1. The quality of this telemovie: home audiences and interest in themes, styles? The use of television techniques, close-ups, the use of scenery frightening the audience?
2. The quality of the film as an Australian-American? co-production: American stars, local actors, Australian-American? plot, American style of thriller? The use of Australian locations?
3. How credible a thriller plot? Believable characters, situations? Contrived for the purpose of excitement and melodrama?
4. Audience interest in the themes: multinationals and their power, their use of individuals, ruthlessness, plots and cover-ups, murder, money, control? The nature of multinational control in most areas of society, even culture? The film's critique of multinationals?
5. The impact of the prologue, the television news, the background of racial discord and revolution and the indication of the companies' involvement? The repercussions of this throughout the film?
6. The portrayal of Garth, the portrayal of him as a pleasant family man, his devotion to h-is daughter, to Nick? And yet the nature of his control, the network of espionage and money deals? His smooth style, playing God? The use of tapes and the irony of American politics in recent years? His being confronted by his tapes? Audience response to his exposure? How credible a villain?
7. Nick as a hero, a P.R. man, his loyalty to Garth and putting him on a pedestal despite the marriage? His involvement in cultural interests? His knowing of Garth's various henchmen? The significance of the Australian mission? The ordinary side of his character? His arrival, the scene at the airport and the involvement in the death? The importance of the ordinary man being victimised and on the run? His involvement with the girl and her help? The confrontation with the dead man's wife? With Fleming, with the police? How well were the thriller conventions of the victim being chased used?
8. The dramatic impact of the hero on the run, the various sequences of danger, using his wits, the experience of death, his confrontation of Garth?
9. The various henchmen? The subplot of Fleming, the man with the money, his widow, the deals, the tough gangsters with their threats and beatings, deaths?
10. The sub-plot of the faked death? The build-up of this at the beginning, the sequence on the beach, the reappearance of the dead man in order to save Nick?
11. How attractive was the girl as a heroine for this kind of film? An American in Australia, her job, her shielding Nick, putting off her boyfriend, falling in love, sharing the dangers?
12. Comment on the melodrama of the exposure of Garth at the Opera House? The cultural theme, the glorification of Garth, the playing of the tapes and his breaking down? Good melodrama?
13. The irony of the potential happy ending, the love scene, the gangsters watching at the end? How satisfying for audiences to be left with a threat?
14. How conventional a telemovie, average or above average? A portrayal of realistic world themes adapted for the television medium and the expectations of a home television audience?