Is Nell Based On A True Story – Based on a bad ballad (by Canadian author Robert Service, or in the style of Robert Service, or by Noel Coward, in the style of Service ballads, or others anon) the true story of Eskimo Nell is set. Australia’s goldfields in the mid-19th century.
Dick (Max Gillies) is a one-eyed, impotent, yarn-spinning wimp, and Mexican Pete (Serge Lazareff) is a cowgirl.
Is Nell Based On A True Story
Dick is guided by a faded postcard, and with wild dreams of the perfect woman and a woman, the pair begin to search for their ideal, the legendary Eskimo Nell, as Victoria Annooks becomes the dream of Eskimo Nell and Paddy Madden. True.
Eskimo Nell (1975)
After various adventures involving Kurt Beimel as Waldo the Great and Abigail as Esmerelda the Leopard Woman, they wait for Nell at the hotel in the mining town, a little bigger.
Indulging in the usual voyeurism – when Mexican Pete and Dream Nell hit him – Dick takes the deadly table and heads for the southern aurora borealis…
Budget: $200,000, financed mostly by the Australian Film Development Corporation (according to Oxford Australian Film). According to director Richard Franklin, AFDC contributed $105,000, with Australian distributor Filmways and a private investment syndicate remaining.
Report, June 12, 1975. (For a first-time director’s low-budget cheesy pawn comedy, that number seems high).
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Filmways declared it to be the most expensive film in its Australian film restoration to date, but this was not known, and the Filmways edition may have been close to the $200,000 budget suggested by Oxford.
Director Franklin confirmed these numbers in a July 1974 Motion Picture Production Report, with DOP Vince Monton putting the budget at around $150-200k. In his DVD interview, Franklin Budget c. $180,000. (David Stratton of The Last New Wave put it at $240,000).
Locations: Victorian countryside, including False Creek for snow scenes, and improvised studios in Melbourne’s Exhibition Building for the interior of the Nell Hotel. Most of the exits are at Sovereign Hill near Ballarat. An old disused theater in Ballarat and some exteriors in Sunbury were used for filming.
Director, DOP and actor Max Gillis in the second unit for a day in a large room built for the 1967 Montreal Expo.
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A Canadian crew was hired to film the sequence in St. Iles, Quebec – following Griffith’s Road to the East-style snowstorm – but the material was poor, and most of the sequence was re-set in Melbourne. . The final shot, where Grandpa Dick Eskimo saves Nell from going through the wells, was actually shot at Ditza Falls in Yarra, near Melbourne (it was a small waterfall that everyone was comfortable with after accidentally falling in, says director Franklin).
Running time: 103 minutes (Oxford Australia Films); 102 minutes (David Stratton, Late New Wave). According to Oxford, around seven minutes of material were cut after Melbourne’s first release, reducing the running time to 94 minutes.
Cash: n/a, but bad. The film ran for eight weeks in Melbourne and was re-cut for a Sydney release, but did poorly at the box office. The film did not travel internationally, and the release of a UK soft film titled Eskimo Nell further confused its market position.
“One of my biggest disappointments – I learned a lot from it and showed it to my American friends – they were making Phantasm when we were there, and they found they weren’t joking. It was humor that didn’t really travel well. They appreciated the filmmaking, they appreciated the craft, but only one joke. They didn’t laugh. So, the pathos, etc., for me, was taken from the spiritual Midnight Cowboy, but not the comedy. So my next film was trying to make a universal genre film with the same financiers. It was Patrick, which I would call my first film if you ask me. I was. Even if it was half a movie before that.” (Director Richard Franklin, interview on Mondo Stumpo)
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Producer Anthony Ginnan handled the film’s international marketing, where he and Franklin co-starred in the 1976 punk film Phantasm (Franklin credited Richard Bruce as “half” of the film).
The film was released in Region Four with Umirzaya in several packages (including a two-disc edition dedicated to the Great Aussie sex symbol Abigail).
The picture is anamorphic 16:9 in good quality and has the “Not Pretty Hollywood” Hartley 30’38” entertainment label. 2004 Umbrella.
The film features interviews with director Richard Franklin, who died of prostate cancer in July 2007, and his final thoughts on the film. Also features interviews with writer Alan Hopgood and star Serge Lazareff.
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There is also a photo gallery designed in period style, with smooth graphics on the featured image page.
The lucky winner of the Abigail Great Aussie Sex Symbols issue will receive a copy of the 1977 Reg Grundy TV series starring Johnny Pace, Mike Preston, Noel Ferrier, Johnny Lockwood, Stuart ‘The Waggers’ Wagstaff and Cornelia. Bad Dave Gray, Barry Creighton, directed by Igor Osins. This is a must-see for Aussie movie fans who want to indulge in 80 Minutes of the Life of an Australian TV star.
The film was based on Robert Service’s “Stag Night” and “Football Club”, but director and writer Richard Franklin later realized that it was only known in Canada (Service Canada) and Britain. and Australia (a copy of the Australian version is included in the pdf for the music credits on this site).
The original poem was actually banned in Australia, which did nothing to diminish its popularity at ragga bugger nights, where it was read and performed as part of an oral tradition of macho sexism.
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I produced The Jumping Jeweler of Lavender Bay with Gerald Ryan in Sydney when Danny Deacon came in with a tape version of the poem “Eskimo Nell”. I thought it was wonderful, but for three or four months nothing happened, and one day I decided to start treatment. Instead of a dead-eyed dick who bangs 40 prostitutes at once, I came up with the character of one-eyed Ratzo, who wanders around with sexual notions about Eskimo Nell. The first draft was actually set in the original locations of the poem, the Rio Grande and Alaska. I took the script with me to the States in 1972, but it never got anywhere. The Hollywood agents you should contact first are truly amazing. They’ll say, “Is Eskimo Nell a cool script? Like snow and ice?” I’d say, “Oh, there’s a few snow scenes, and the show takes place in Alaska.” “Forget it,” he’d say, “They built the Ice Castle, and it bombed. They built the Zebra Ice Station, and it bombed. Nobody wants cool scenarios.” That was as much as you could do.
So in 1972 I took my tail and my pride to Australia. It suddenly dawned on me that something like this could very easily happen in the Australian goldfields, and the more I worked on it, the better the whole idea seemed. This is the story of Dead-Eyed Dick, who began searching for Nell, an Eskimo in the Klondike, followed him into the California gold rush in 1849, and ended here in the Ballarat gold fields in 1852.
I then sent the project to the Australian Film Development Corporation, which was rejected as obscene rubbish with no social value. However, on the advice of Tom Stacey, I went to Sydney with letters, met three appraisers, showed them a series of stills from Sovereign Hill and other settings, and told them the story. I didn’t find it very exciting, but everyone changed their minds…
Franklin asked AFDC to get two marketing ideas, and he secured a script development grant, and he approached Alan Hopgood, who had impressed AFDC with his work on Alvin Green:
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They suggested his name or said they were happy with his work. I thought it would make them happy. I have to say
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