The Picture Show Man 1977
Scone and Upper Hunter Historical Society; ‘Moving Images and the Theatre’; The Shiralee; Filming in the Upper Hunter; Scone’s Civic Theatre: Heather Ashford assisted by Mary Woodlands: Federation Publication No 1 Scone and Upper Historical Society Incorporated, Scone NSW 2337 Australia. 1997. ISBN 0 949187 14 3. © Scone and Upper Hunter Historical Society, Incorporated. Designed and printed by Pritchard’s Press Pty. Ltd. 206 Kelly Street, Scone NSW 2337.
Scene from Murrurundi courtesy of Hunter Valley News Photography and the above
A company comprising the Australian Film Commission, the NSW Government, the Women’s Film Fund and a few private investors arrived in Murrurundi in 1977 to commence filming the The Picture Show Man. The story is based on a cinema operator in the 1920s covering the towns of northern NSW.
Phil Mitchell of the Murrurundi Historical Society writes:
“The first day’s shooting took place here on Tuesday 19 October 1976. The shooting commenced with the horse-drawn van coming down the gravel road to cross the Pages River at the Mount Street crossing. Other scenes were shot in Mayne Street and at St Paul’s Anglican Church and Hall. There was only one days; shooting which was quite a wet one. From what I can remember filming proceeded to other locations.”
The local police valiantly tried to reduce background traffic noise on the day. The stars were Rod Taylor, John Meillon (again), John Ewart and Harold Hopkins. Many of the crews were the same as for Born to Run (Harness Fever) filmed at Denman earlier in the year.
The movie was a moderate success after opening on 5th May 1977 in Melbourne. It later won prizes in the Australian Film Awards for art direction, musical score, costume design and for best supporting actor (John Ewart). In the USA it was selected as one of the best ten films for 1977.