2 November 2007 | genet-1
An important early independent Australian film
Socialist author Frank Hardy offered his equally convinced left-wing friend Cecil Holmes part of his royalties from the controversial novel "Power Without Glory" to film his story "A Load of Wood", after which Holmes was able to finance two more segments, "The City" and "Joe Wilson's Mates". "A Load of Wood" remains, however, the best in the film,a bleak, almost Soviet tale of men suffering out the Depression in a country town. One of them, irritated by the meagre pay for their road-mending job and by the threat of a cold night, suggests a raid on a neighbouring landowner for firewood. Ross Wood's photography sets the mood of cold, misery and shame, while Jerome Levy as the burly revolutionary gives a performance of ferocious skill. By comparison, "The City" is trivial, and, as Holmes admitted, excessively influenced by Italian NeoRealism, while "Joe Wilson's Mates", though likable, is light-weight. When a tramp is found dead outside a country town with a union card in his pocket, other union members, even though they have never met him, club together for a proper funeral. Sweating in the heat, and making frequent stops to rest, drink beer and bicker, they put Joe Wilson to rest, and celebrate afterwards at a spirited wool-shed dance. With Australian distribution controlled by British and US companies, an independent production like THREE IN ONE was denied general release,supposedly because of its socialist tone. However, "Joe Wilson's Mates" was shown as a short in support of an Alfred Hitchcock film.