Saturday, May 23, 2015

Mad Max

Mad Max / Mad Max. AU © 1979 Mad Max Pty. PC: Kennedy Miller Productions / Crossroads / Mad Max Films. P: Byron Kennedy. Assoc. P: Bill Miller. D: George Miller. SC: James McCausland, George Miller – based on a story by George Miller and Byron Kennedy. DP: David Eggby, Tim Smart – negative: 35 mm (Eastman 100T 5247) – camera: Arriflex 35 BL, Todd-AO Lenses – lab: Colorfilm Pty. Ltd. (Sydney) – Todd-AO 35 (anamorphic) – 2,35:1 – Eastmancolor. AD (vehicles): Ray Beckerley. SFX: Chris Murray. Cost: Clare Griffin. Makeup: Viv Mepham. M: Brian May. "Licorice Road" (Nic Gazzana) perf. Robina Chaffey, sung by Creenagh St. Clair. ED: Tony Patterson, Cliff Hayes. S: Gary Wilkins, Ned Dawson.
    C: Mel Gibson (Max Rockatansky), Joanne Samuel (Jessie Rockatansky), Hugh Keays-Byrne (Toecutter), Steve Bisley (Jim Goose), Tim Burns (Johnny the Boy), Roger Ward (Johnny the Boy), Roger Ward (Fifi Macaffee), Geoff Parry (Bubba Zanetti), Vince Gil (Crawford "The Nightrider" Montazano), David Baracks (Mudguts), Paul Johnstone (Cundalini), Nico Lathouris (Grease Rat), LuLu Pinkus (Lobotomy Eyes), LuLu Pinkus (Roop), John Ley (Charlie), Jonathan Hardy (Commissioner Labatouche), Robina Chaffey (nightclub singer), Sheila Florence (May Swaisey), Max Fairchild (Benno), Steven Clark, George Novak. 93 min
    There are two soundtrack versions of Mad Max: Australian and American.
    The film was not theatrically released in Finland – video release: 1986 Transworld Video (Betamax) – first telecast: 14 March 2015 Yle Teema – VET 102086 – VLV 1984: K18 – VET 1986: K16, 2001: K18 – MEKU 2015: K16
    Park Circus 2K DCP, the original Australian soundtrack version, viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Mad Max x 3), 23 May 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road [4] had its international premiere last week, and tonight we are screening the three previous Mad Max movies, all four directed by George Miller.

Thus I saw the first Mad Max (1979) for the first time; it was not theatrically released in Finland, and theatrical prints have been hard to come by in our part of the world.

I rate The Road Warrior / Mad Max 2 highly as a post-apocalyptic vision with a unique design, and I also like Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome as an original interpretation of the primordial Australian Weltanschauung called Dreaming. George Miller created for BFI's the Centenary of the Cinema series a fascinating Australian entry called 40,000 Years of Dreaming where he elaborates a philosophy of the cinema based on that approach.

Unfortunately the initial Mad Max is not on the same level of ambition and accomplishment as the later films of the cycle.

It is a well-made violent action entertainment movie. As a story of brutalization and collapse to a revenge mentality (the opposite of justice) it has affinities with the Death Wish series. Mel Gibson here starts to create a memorable antihero. The fighter against criminals becomes a sadistic outlaw. The mad policeman persona became a starting-point for Gibson's later the Lethal Weapon series.

George Miller has real talent in action cinema. He knows how to build, he knows how to alternate moments of quiet and violence. He knows how to make a road movie.

Mad Max belongs to one of the cinema's original subgenres: the car demolition chase movie, already mastered by Georges Méliès, followed enthusiastically by French and Italian farce makers, and soon revived by Keystone and other American comedy studios. Last year in Pordenone Elif Rongen-Kaynakçi curated a special program of early cinema's car chase movies. James Bond, Blues Brothers... there is no end to this list.

Watching the film I was thinking about my mother who died two months ago. She was a traffic safety champion and also a film lover who liked Jacques Tati's Trafic and Jean-Luc Godard's Weekend. Mad Max is an illustration of her worst nightmare: a car-dominated world that has become a hell for non-drivers (and drivers, themselves, as well). She was a registered nurse and would have nodded approvingly at Dr. George Miller's hospital sequences.

This first Mad Max is not a post-apocalyptic story, nor is there as yet a design for a world after Doomsday. It is, however, already a film thoroughly informed by the customized car and motorcycle aesthetique. And this tale of demon motorists on both sides of the law has a stark smell of the death drive. The world has not yet ended, but they are already living like there is no tomorrow.

The Thanatos principle is crystallized in the sequence where the outlaw motorcyclists murder Jessie and Sprog, mother and son, by riding over them in cold blood in the middle of the desert freeway. That experience makes Max mad.

The Park Circus 2K DCP mostly looks good. The colour is fine. Machines and urban milieux look good in digital. Nature does not look very good in this digital presentation.

OUR MAD MAX X 3 PROGRAMME NOTE BEYOND THE JUMP BREAK
OUR MAD MAX X 3 PROGRAMME NOTE BEYOND THE JUMP BREAK

MAD MAX x 3

Mad Max 2
Mad Max 2 – Asfalttisoturi / Asfaltkrigaren
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (US)

USA 1981. Tuotantoyhtiöt: Kennedy-Miller Entertainment / Byron Kennedy. Tuottaja: Byron Kennedy. Ohjaus: George Miller. Käsikirjoitus: Terry Hayes, George Miller, Brian Hannant. Kuvaus: Dean Semler, Andrew Lesnie (dokumenttijaksot). Lavastus: Graham Walker. Musiikki: Brian May. Leikkaus: David Stiven, Tim Wellburn, Mivhael Chirgwin, Michael Balson (montaasijakso). Erikoistehosteet: Jeffrey Clifford. Pääosissa: Mel Gibson (Max Rockatansky), Bruce Spence (gyrokopterin kapteeni), Vernon Wells (wez), Emil Minty (poika), Mike Preston (Pappagallo), Kjell Nilsson (Humungus), Virginia Heys (naissoturi), Syd Heylen (Curmudgeon), Moira Claux (Iso Rebecca), David Slingsby (hiljainen mies), Arkie Whiteley (rehevä tyttö), Steve Spears (mekaanikko), Max Phipps (Toadie), William Zappa (Farmari), Jimmy Brown (kultahiuksinen nuorukainen), David Downer (haavoittunut mies), Tyler Coppin (uhmakas uhri), Max Fairchild (murtunut uhri), Kristoffer Greaves (mekaanikon apulainen), Guy Norris, Tony Deary (moottoripyöräilijöitä). Helsingin ensiesitys: 25.12.1985. Televisiolähetyksiä: 8.10.1991 TV3, 28.7.1995 YLE, 2.9.2000 ja 7.7.2001 Nelonen TV2, 12.11.1998 ja 7.1.2006 MTV3. VET: 89995 – KK (1982), K18 (1982: leikattu), K16 (1994: leikattu), K16 (DVD: leikkaamaton) nyk. K15 – 2640 m / 96 min

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
Mad Max – ukkosmyrsky / Mad Max bortom Thunderdome

Australia – Yhdysvallat 1985. Tuotantoyhtiö: Kennedy Miller Productions. Warner Bros. Tuotannonjohto: Antonia Barnard. Tuottaja: George Miller. Apulaistuottajat: Steve Amezdroz, Marvus D'Arcy Ohjaus: George Miller, George Ogilvie. Käsikirjoitus: George Miller. Terry Hayes, Doug Mitchell (co-producers). Kuvaus: Dean Semler. Lavastus: Graham "Grace" Walker (prod.des.), Anni Browning (art.dir), Martin O'Neill (set.deco.) Erikoistehosteet: Michael Wood (supervisor). Puvut: Norma Moriceau. Ehostus: Elizabeth Ann Fardon, Rosalina Da Silva, Helen Evans (makeup artists), Cheryl Newton (peruukit). Musiikki: Maurice Jarre. Laulut: Terry Britten, Graham Lyle "We Don't Need Another Hero – Thunderdome". Leikkaus: Richard Francis–Bruce. Ääni: Robert Savage (supervisor), Bruce Lamshed (sound designer, sound mixer). Pääosissa: Mel Gibson ("Mad" Max Rockatansky), Bruce Spence (Jedediah the Pilot), Adam Cockburn (Jedediah Jr.), Tina Turner (Aunty Entity), Frank Thring (The Collector), Angelo Rossitto (The Master), Paul Larsson (The Blaster), Angry Anderson (Ironbar), Robert Grubb (Pig Killer), Geroge Spartels (Blackfinger), Edwin Hodgeman (De. Dealgood), Bob Hornery (Waterseller),  Andrew Oh (Ton Ton Tattoo), Ollie Hall, Lee Rice, Max Worrall, Susan Leondard, Robert Simper, Virginia Wark, Geelin Ng, Ray Turnbull, Brian Ellison, Gerard Armstrong (Auntyn vartijat), Mark Spain (Mr. Skyfish), Mark Kounnas (Gekko), Rod Zuanic (Scrooloose), Justine Clarke (Anna Goanna), Shane Tickner (Eddie), Toni Allaylis (Cusha), James Wingrove (Tubba Tintye), Adam Scougall (Finn McCoo), Tom Jennings (Slake), Adam Willits (Mr Scratch). Helsingin ensiesitys: 11.10.1985 Arena 1, Bristol 1 – maahantuoja: Warner – Columbia Films. Televisio-lähetyksiä: 5.8.1995 YLE TV2, 19.11.1998 MTV3, 28.10.2000 ja 8.7.2001 Nelonen, 14.1.2006 MTV3 – VET 93037 – K15 (2001 lakimuutoksen jälkeen) – 2940 m / 107 min 

Mad Max -elokuvat sijoittuvat epämääräiseen tulevaisuuteen. Vakava energiakriisi on sysännyt sivilisaation takaisin epävakaaseen ja primitiiviseen tilaan jossa moottoripyöräjengit ja niiden ympärille muodostuneet yhteisöt hallitsevat laajoja alueita. Max on burnoutin ja henkilökohtaisen tragedian kokenut ex-poliisi jota kolmessa ensimmäisessä elokuvassa näytteli Yhdysvalloista Australiaan 12-vuotiaana muuttanut Mel Gibson. Mad Maxissa hän on maantiepoliisi, joka menettää perheensä ja parhaan ystävänsä moottoripyöräjengin yliajamina. Tapahtumat jättävät Maxiin luonnollisesti syvät haavat. Hänestä tulee yksinäinen ratsastaja joka pyrkii katkaisemaan kaikki siteensä sivilisaatioon ja muihin ihmisiin.

Mad Max -elokuvat ovat läheistä sukua muun muassa lännenelokuville. Molemmissa on kyse yhteisöistä joissa lain ja järjestyksen hataruus on ilmeinen ja joissa yksilö, sheriffi tai yksinäisen ratsastajan kaltainen sankari taistelee moraalin ja oikeudenmukaisuuden puolesta. Nykyaikaan sijoittuvissa vigilante-elokuvissa yksinäinen asvalttipoliisi puolestaan luo ympärilleen järjestystä järeillä keinoilla. Clint Eastwoodin Harry Calahan ja Death Wish -elokuvien Kersey (Charles Bronson) ovat Maxin moderneja vastineita.

Kolmessa ensimmäisessä Mad Max -elokuvassa, ja myös 30 vuotta myöhemmin tehdyssä Mad Max Fury Roadissa (2015) Max kuvataan vähäsanaiseksi toiminnan mieheksi. Ensimmäisessä elokuvassa häntä jopa nimitetään ”mykäksi”. Dystopiseen tulevaisuuteen sijoittuvissa Mad Max -elokuvissa puhe ylipäätään on rajoitettu minimiin, diskuteeraamisen sijaan keskitytään eloonjäämiseen ja kommunikaatiossa pitäydytään olennaiseen. Varsinkin kahdessa ensimmäisessä Mad Max -elokuvassa päähenkilön sanattomuus on silmiinpistävää. Kertojanääni Mad Max-elokuvan alussa kuvaa olennaisimman Maxin mielenmaisemasta: ”moottorin ärjynnässä hän on menettänyt kaiken. Hän on muuttunut ihmisen kuoreksi, loppuun palaneeksi yksinäiseksi mieheksi jota menneisyyden demonit vainoavat, hän on mies joka vaelsi autiomaahan. Ja tuossa riivatussa paikassa hän oppi jälleen elämään.”

Ensimmäisestä Mad Max -elokuvasta tuli yllättäen menestys. Niinpä Mad Max 2 sai paljon suuremman budjetin ja ilmeisesti siihen uhrattiin myös enemmän ajatusta: joka tapauksessa se on harvinainen esimerkki jatko-osasta, joka on parempi kuin edeltäjänsä. Edeltäjänsä tavoin Millerin vaikutteet ovat huomattavan eklektisiä, mutta tällä kertaa ne on ohjattu tiukasti kerronnan palvelukseen. Klassisen westernin asetelmasta (intiaanit hyökkäävät linnoitukseen) käsin Millerin futuristinen maailma jakautuu nyt selkeästi ja eloisasti hyviin (atomipommia edeltäneen sivilisaation jäänteet) ja pahoihin (punk-barbaarien lauma). Idän jatkuva vetovoima näkyy siinä, miten vastakkaisille voimille on annettu samuraimaisia kunnia- ja käyttäytymiskoodeja.

Mad Max 2 on kauttaaltaan ripeästi leikattu, ja sivilisaation romahdusta kuvaava alkujakso on erinomainen esimerkki montaasin melkein kadonneesta taiteesta. Kerronta rakentuu ihailtavasti kohti keskeistä yhteenottoa, jossa Humungus johtaa pakenevan saattueen hellittämätöntä takaa-ajoa. Mutta oikeastaan vasta pienet hienot kosketukset nostavat elokuvan parhaankin väkivaltaviihteen yläpuolelle: selittämätön epämuodostuma Humungusin naamion alla, pyhiinvaellusmatka Luvattuun Maahan, itse asiassa entiseen lomanviettopaikkaan. Tämä on ainesta, josta mytologia tehdään.

Kolmannessa, Beyond Thunderdome -elokuvassa elokuvasyklin korostunutta maskuliinisuutta pyrittiin loiventamaan. Kahdessa aiemmassa elokuvassa tapahtumat ovat sijoittuneet epämääräiseen dystopiseen välitilaan, mutta Thunderdomessa orastaa uusi sivilisaatio jonka johdossa on nainen, Tina Turnerin esittämä Aunty Entity. Hänen Bartertowninsa portilla on motto jossa kehotetaan rakentamaan parempaa huomista. Arvaamaton ja laajalle levittäytynyt väkivalta on pyritty rajaamaan ja suitsimaan perinteisten sirkushuvien avulla. Yhteenotot on rajoitettu valtavalle Thunderdome-areenalle, jossa yksinkertaiset viidakon lait vielä vallitsevat: kaksi sisään yksi ulos. Tämän vastakohtana on paratiisi jota asuttavat lapset. Siellä sivistyksen jäänteet ovat vielä voimassa: vaalinnan kohteena ovat pilvenpiirtäjät, levysoittimet, tietokoneet ja muut aiemmin elintason mittareina toimineet asiat.

- Dennis H. Barbour (Heroism and Redemption in the Mad Max Trilogy, Journal of Popular Film and Telvision Fall, 1999), David McGillivray (Monthly Film Bulletin, May 1982) ja Jari Sedegrenin pohjalta Pasi Nyyssönen 23.5.2015

WIKIPEDIA: MAD MAX (1979)

Mad Max is a 1979 Australian dystopian action film directed by George Miller, produced by Byron Kennedy and starring Mel Gibson. James McCausland and Miller wrote the screenplay from a story by Miller and Kennedy.

The film grossed substantially at the box office. It held the Guinness record for most profitable film for decades, and has been credited for further opening up the global market to Australian New Wave films. The film became the first in a series, spawning the sequels Mad Max 2 (a.k.a. The Road Warrior) in 1981 and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome in 1985. A fourth installment, Mad Max: Fury Road, starring Tom Hardy as Max, was released on May 15, 2015 to high acclaim.

Plot

A berserk motorcycle gang member named Crawford "Nightrider" Montazano (Vincent Gil), having killed an Australian highway patrol called the Main Force Patrol (MFP) rookie officer while escaping from police custody, is attempting to outrun the other MFP officers in a stolen Pursuit Special. Though he manages to elude his initial pursuers, the MFP's top pursuit-man, Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson), then engages the less-skilled Nightrider in a high-speed chase. During a sudden game of "chicken", the Nightrider breaks off first, his nerve suddenly broken in the confrontation with Max; he is unable to recover his wits, which leads to the Nightrider's death in a fiery crash.

The Acolytes, Nightrider's motorcycle gang, led by Toecutter (Hugh Keays-Byrne) and Bubba Zanetti (Geoff Parry), are running roughshod over a town, vandalizing property, stealing fuel, and terrorizing the population. Max and fellow officer Jim "Goose" Rains (Steve Bisley) arrest Toecutter's young protégé, Johnny "the Boy" Boyle (Tim Burns), who was too high to leave the scene of the gang's rape of a young couple. When neither the rape victim nor any of the townspeople show for Johnny's trial, the federal courts throw out the case. Goose, furious at Johnny's release, must be restrained as he and Johnny exchange violent threats at the city police station. After Bubba drags Johnny away, MFP Captain Fred "Fifi" Macaffee (Roger Ward) tells his officers to do whatever it takes to combat the gangs, "so long as the paperwork's clean".

Goose gets Max's attention one night, leading him to where the police mechanic reveals a Police Special under repair, but all in black. As Max looks on, Goose and the mechanic reveal the engine: a V-8 engine with a supercharger, which would make it the fastest car on the road. Max, almost hypnotized by the sight, agrees enthusiastically with Goose and the mechanic to get the car completed quickly for him to drive. Although the mechanic says he collected the parts to build the engine, a camera watching the scene reveals that Fifi commissioned the car to be built to be Max's own personal vehicle, to help convince him to stay on the force.

A short time later, Johnny sabotages Goose's motorcycle while he attends a show at a nightclub in the city. The next day while out on patrol in the countryside, the motorcycle locks up at high speed, throwing Goose into a field. An uninjured Goose calls a towing service, also borrows a ute to haul his damaged bike back to the MFP HQ. However, Johnny and Toecutter are waiting in ambush, with the former throwing a brake drum at Goose's windscreen, causing him to crash the ute. With Goose unable to get out of the ute, Johnny—under pressure from Toecutter—throws a match into the petrol leaking from the wreck, triggering an inferno that severely burns the helpless Goose. After seeing Goose's charred body in a hospital intensive care unit, Max becomes disillusioned with the MFP, and the fear of losing his sanity convinces him to resign. His superior, Fifi, talks Max into taking a holiday before making his final decision about the resignation.

While vacationing, Max stops at a roadside garage to have a tire repaired while his wife, Jessie (Joanne Samuel), and their infant son, Sprog (Brendan Heath), go for ice cream. The two encounter Toecutter's gang, who attempt to molest Jessie. Max and his family flee to a remote farm owned by an elderly friend named May (Shelia Florence), but the gang learns of their destination from the garage mechanic and follows them. Jessie is waylaid by the gang after a trip to the beach; May holds them off with a shotgun. May, Jessie, and Sprog manage to escape in the van. After the van breaks down on the road, Jessie attempts to flee with her son on foot, but they are run down by the pursuing gang on their motorcycles; Max arrives too late to intervene.

With Sprog having been killed instantly and Jessie near death, a rage-filled Max dons his police leathers, and takes the supercharged black Pursuit Special from the MFP garage to pursue the gang. After torturing the auto mechanic for information, and forcing several members of the gang off a bridge at high speed, Max methodically hunts down the gang's leaders. He shoots Bubba Zanetti at point blank range with a shotgun (after sustaining a significant gunshot leg-injury of his own), though Johnny escapes when he sees Bubba killed. As Toecutter flees on his motorcycle, tailed closely by Max, he veers into the path of an oncoming semi-trailer truck and is run over.

Max eventually locates Johnny, who is looting a car crash victim he presumably murdered. In a cold, suppressed rage, Max handcuffs Johnny's ankle to the wrecked vehicle, and sets a crude time-delay fuse involving a slow fuel leak and Johnny's lighter. Throwing Johnny a hacksaw, Max leaves him the choice of sawing through either the handcuffs (which will take ten minutes) or his ankle (which will take five minutes). As Max casually walks away, Johnny started pleading, then laughing, calling Max "...mad! Yer MAD!" as he fumbles with the hacksaw. As Max drives away from the bridge, the wrecked vehicle explodes, presumably killing the inept Johnny. Now a shell of his former self, Max drives on to points unknown, pushing deep into the Outback.

Cast

    Mel Gibson as Max Rockatansky
    Joanne Samuel as Jessie Rockatansky
    Hugh Keays-Byrne as The Toecutter
    Steve Bisley as Jim "Goose"
    Tim Burns as Johnny the Boy
    Roger Ward as "Fifi" Macaffee
    Geoff Parry as Bubba Zanetti
    Lisa Aldenhoven as Hospital Nurse
    Peter Felmingham as Emergency Room Doctor
    Neil Thompson as TV News Anchor
    David Bracks as Mudguts
    Bertrand Cadart as Clunk
    David Cameron as Barry
    Stephen Clark as Sarse
    Jonathan Hardy as Commissioner Labatouche
    Robina Chaffey as Nightclub Singer
    Brendan Heath as Sprog Rockatansky
    Jerry Day as Ziggy
    Howard Eynon as Diabando
    Max Fairchild as Benno
    John Farndale as Grinner
    Sheila Florence as May Swaisey
    Nic Gazzana as Starbuck
    Paul Johnstone as Cundalini
    Vincent Gil as Crawford "The Nightrider" Montazano
    Steve Millichamp as "Roop"
    John Ley as "Charlie"
    George Novak as "Scuttle"
    Reg Evans as Station Master
    Nico Lathouris as Mechanic

Production
Development

George Miller was a medical doctor in Sydney, Australia, working in a hospital emergency room, where he saw many injuries and deaths of the types depicted in the film. He also witnessed many car accidents growing up in rural Queensland and had as a teenager lost at least three friends in accidents.

While in residency at a Sydney hospital, Miller met amateur filmmaker Byron Kennedy at a summer film school in 1971. The duo produced a short film, Violence in the Cinema, Part 1, which was screened at a number of film festivals and won several awards. Eight years later, the duo produced Mad Max, working with first-time screenwriter James McCausland (who appears in the film as the bearded man in an apron in front of the diner).

Miller believed that audiences would find his violent story to be more believable if set in a bleak dystopian future. Screenwriter McCausland drew heavily from his observations of the 1973 oil crisis' effects on Australian motorists:

    Yet there were further signs of the desperate measures individuals would take to ensure mobility. A couple of oil strikes that hit many pumps revealed the ferocity with which Australians would defend their right to fill a tank. Long queues formed at the stations with petrol—and anyone who tried to sneak ahead in the queue met raw violence. ... George and I wrote the [Mad Max] script based on the thesis that people would do almost anything to keep vehicles moving and the assumption that nations would not consider the huge costs of providing infrastructure for alternative energy until it was too late.
    —James McCausland, writing on peak oil in The Courier-Mail, 2006[3]

Kennedy and Miller first took the film to Graham Burke of Roadshow, who was enthusiastic. The producers felt they would not be able to raise money from the government bodies "because Australian producers were making art films, and the corporations and commissions seemed to endorse them whole-heartedly," according to Kennedy.

They designed a 40-page presentation and it was circulated among a number of different people, and eventually raised the money. Kennedy and Miller also contributed funds themselves by doing three months of emergency medical calls, with Kennedy driving the car while Miller did the doctoring. Miller claimed the final budget was between $350,000 and $400,000.[5] His brother Bill Miller was an associate producer on the film.

Casting

Miller deliberately wanted to cast lesser known actors so they did not carry past associations with them.

Mel Gibson, who had only one film role, in Summer City (1977), went to auditions with his close friend and classmate, Steve Bisley, who landed the part of Jim Goose. Gibson went to auditions in poor shape, as the night before he had got into a drunken brawl with three men at a party, resulting in a swollen nose, a broken jaw, and various bruises. Gibson showed up at the audition the next day looking like a "black and blue pumpkin" (his own words). He did not expect to get the role and only went to accompany his friend. However, the casting agent liked the look and told Gibson to come back in two weeks, telling him "we need freaks". When Gibson returned, the filmmakers did not recognise him, because his wounds had healed almost completely; he received the part anyway.

Due to the film's low budget, only Bisley and Gibson were given jackets and trousers made from real leather. All the other actors playing police officers wore vinyl leather outfits. Most of the biker-gang extras were members of actual Australian outlaw motorcycle clubs, and rode their own motorcycles in the film. Many of the other cast had previously appeared in Stone (1974).

Vehicles

Max's yellow Interceptor was a 1974 Ford Falcon XB sedan (previously, a Victorian police car) with a 351 c.i.d. Cleveland V8 engine.


The Big Bopper, driven by Roop and Charlie, was also a 1974 Ford Falcon XB sedan and also a former Victorian Police car, but was powered by a 302 c.i.d. V8. The March Hare, driven by Sarse and Scuttle, was an in-line-six-powered 1972 Ford Falcon XA sedan (this car was formerly a Melbourne taxi cab).

The most memorable car, Max's black Pursuit Special was a 1973 Ford XB Falcon GT351, a limited edition hardtop (sold in Australia from December 1973 to August 1976), which was primarily modified by Murray Smith, Peter Arcadipane, and Ray Beckerley. The main modification is obviously the Concorde front end, and the supercharger protruding through the bonnet (which is for looks only and did not work). The Concorde front was a fairly new accessory at the time, designed by Peter Arcadipane at Ford Australia as a showpiece, and later becoming available to the general public due to its popularity. After filming of the first movie was completed, the car went up for sale but no buyers were found; eventually it was handed over to Murray Smith (film mechanic).

When production of Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior began, the car was bought back by George Miller for use in the sequel. Once filming was over the car was left at a wrecking yard in Adelaide since it again found no buyers, and was bought and restored by Bob Forsenko. Eventually it was sold again and was put on display in the Cars of the Stars Motor Museum in Cumbria, England. The museum recently closed and the Black on Black car went to a collection in the Dezer museum in Miami, Florida.

The Nightrider's vehicle, another Pursuit Special (one of two in the film), was a 1972 Holden Monaro Coupe HQ LS, also tuned but deliberately damaged to look like it has been involved in crashes.

The car driven by the young couple that is vandalized and then finally destroyed by the bikers is a 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air Sedan, also pretuned to look like a hot-rod car with fake fuel injection stacks, fatter tires and a flame red paint job.

Of the motorcycles that appear in the film, 14 were Kawasaki Kz1000 donated by a local Kawasaki dealer. All were modified in appearance by Melbourne business La Parisienne—one as the MFP bike ridden by 'The Goose' and the balance for members of the Toecutter's gang, played in the film by members of a local Victorian motorcycle club, the Vigilanties.

By the end of filming, fourteen vehicles had been destroyed in the chase and crash scenes, including the director's personal Mazda Bongo (the small, blue van that spins uncontrollably after being struck by the Big Bopper in the film's opening chase).

Filming

Originally the filming was scheduled to take ten weeks—six weeks of first unit, and four weeks on stunt and chase sequences. However four days into shooting, Rosie Bailey, who was originally cast as Max's wife, was injured in a bike accident. Production was halted and Bailey was replaced by Joanne Samuel, causing a delay of two weeks.

In the end, the shoot took six weeks over November and December 1977 with a further six weeks second unit. The unit reconvened two months later and spent another two weeks doing second unit shots and re-staging some stunts in May 1978.

Shooting took place in and around Melbourne. Many of the car chase scenes for Mad Max were filmed near the town of Little River, just north of Geelong. The early town scenes with the Toe Cutter Gang were filmed in the main street of Clunes, just north of Ballarat. Much of the streetscape remains unchanged. Some scenes were filmed at Tin City at Stockton Beach. The "execution of the mannequin" scene was filmed at Seaford Beach in Seaford, Victoria.

Mad Max was one of the first Australian films to be shot with a widescreen anamorphic lens, although Peter Weir's The Cars That Ate Paris (1974) was shot in anamorphic four years earlier.

Post-production

The film's post-production was done at a friend's apartment in North Melbourne, with Wilson and Kennedy editing the film in the small lounge room on a home-built editing machine that Kennedy's father, an engineer, had designed for them. Wilson and Kennedy also performed sound editing there.

Tony Patterson edited the film for four months, then had to leave because he was contracted to make Dimboola. George Miller took over editing with Cliff Hayes and they worked on it for three months. Kennedy and Miller did the final cut.

Music

The musical score for Mad Max was composed and conducted by Australian composer Brian May (not to be confused with the guitarist of the English rock band Queen). George Miller wanted a gothic, Bernard Herrmann–type score and hired May after hearing his work for Patrick (1978). "With the little budget that we had we went ahead and did it, and spent a lot of time on it," said May. "George was marvelous to work with; he had a lot of ideas about what he wanted although he wasn’t a musician." A soundtrack album was released in 1980 by Varèse Sarabande.
 

Release

Mad Max was first released in Australia through Roadshow Entertainment (now Village Roadshow Pictures) in 1979.

The movie was sold overseas for $1.8 million, with American International Pictures releasing in the United States and Warner Bros. handling the rest of the world.

When shown in the United States during 1980, the original Australian dialogue was redubbed by an American crew. American International Pictures distributed this dub after it underwent a management re-organisation. Much of the Australian slang and terminology was also replaced with American usages (examples: "Oi!" became "Hey!", "See looks!" became "See what I see?", "windscreen" became "windshield", "very toey" became "super hot", and "proby"—probationary officer—became "rookie"). AIP also altered the operator's duty call on Jim Goose's bike in the beginning of the film (it ended with "Come on, Goose, where are you?"). The only dubbing exceptions were the voice of the singer in the Sugartown Cabaret (played by Robina Chaffey), the voice of Charlie (played by John Ley) through the mechanical voice box, and Officer Jim Goose (Steve Bisley), singing as he drives a truck before being ambushed. Since Mel Gibson was not well known to American audiences at the time, trailers and television spots in the United States emphasised the film's action content.

The original Australian dialogue track was finally released in North America in 2000 in a limited theatrical reissue by MGM, the film's current rights holders. It has since been released in the U.S. on DVD with the U.S. and Australian soundtracks on separate tracks.

New Zealand and Sweden banned the film, the former due to the scene where Goose is burned alive inside his vehicle. It mirrored an incident with a real gang shortly before the film's release. It was later shown in New Zealand in 1983 after the success of the sequel, with an 18 certificate. The ban in Sweden was removed in 2005. The film has been shown on TV since, and is also in video stores.

Reception

Upon its release, the film polarised critics. In a 1979 review, the Australian social commentator and film producer Phillip Adams condemned Mad Max, saying that it had "all the emotional uplift of Mein Kampf" and would be "a special favourite of rapists, sadists, child murderers and incipient [Charles] Mansons". After its United States release, Tom Buckley of The New York Times called the film "ugly and incoherent". However, Variety magazine praised the directorial debut by Miller. In 2004, The New York Times placed the film on its Best 1000 Movies Ever list.

Mad Max grossed A$5,355,490 at the box office in Australia and over US$100 million worldwide. For twenty years the film had the highest profit-to-cost ratio of any motion picture, conceding the record to The Blair Witch Project in 1999. The film was awarded three Australian Film Institute Awards in 1979 (for editing, sound, and musical score). It was also nominated for Best Film, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor (Hugh Keays-Byrne) by the American Film Institute. The film also won the Special Jury Award at the Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival.

Mad Max currently holds an 89% of 54 positive critic reviews on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, marked "Fresh", with consensus being "Staging the improbable car stunts and crashes to perfection, director George Miller succeeds completely in bringing the violent, post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max to visceral life."
(Wikipedia)

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