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  • The film is based on the true story of two Sydney filmmakers Rupe Kathner and Alma Brooks who in the late 1930s took on the Hollywood barons, a corrupt police commissioner and hostile press in their wild spree to make their movies. This was during a dark time when Hollywood ruthlessly dominated the Australian film industry. Its kind of an Aussie Bonnie and Clyde meet Ed Wood. Many of their actual films have survived and are also in the film. There is something crazy and exhilarating about their attempts to make their movies and the passion with which they would stop at almost nothing to get them finished and on the screen.Now their story is told using digital innovations that incorporate real actors into photographs and archival footage of the times, all in stunning black and white.
  • The film is a compelling story of a fascinating man but packs in lots of the atmosphere of the 1930s and 40s in Australia. This film shows what you can do with a clever mixture of modern recreations and archival footage that has come to light from digital archives. The director Alec Morgan and his cinematographer have done a great job bringing the people and photographs to life. One of the great effects was adding wings to the film business angels. It is really inspiring for other documentary makers who want to tackle historical issues. Ben Mendelsohn was the stand out performer but was supported well by the women who played his wife and lover.
  • Well what a wonderful surprise this interesting & informative collection of biographies has produced!

    I was looking for a time-passing program as I flicked across the dial & on came this unheralded docu-movie about a couple of legends of the Australian film industry on "Your ABC"! What followed was an absolutely superb insight into a couple of visionary if amateur film-makers & how they struggled in an era mostly unsupportive of their cinematic endeavours! Of course, they tampered with the facts in some of their primitive productions, at times casting multiple characters in the one role, as well as showing elements of being racketeers in some of their desperate financial woes under considerable trials.

    But what was found here was simplistic dream-making & an intriguing drive to produce media presentations & news coverage in current affairs or historical events, depicted in a way that would appeal to the interests & titilating scandals that brought cinema-lovers in Australia flocking to Hollywood productions in the 1930s & 1940s.

    Along the way, we have a little romance & some insight into the protagonists' private lives, as well as into some of the broader community. So we have the likes of characters such as the Police Commissioner of that time. He selectively suppresses stories, like those about bushrangers, because such were viewed by him as likely to add to anti-establishment hero sentimentality he personally opposed. But on the media-crazed case of the more recent "pyjama girl" murder, he eventually found his hands were tied, so sought to manipulate facts to get outcomes that would have him & his police force, perceived in a positive light, regardless of justice or fairness! No worries about the truth or misleading evidence getting in the way of his preferred outcomes!

    By contrast, the amateurish film-makers struggle with their need to produce movies on shoestring budgets & are never far in front of those pursuing them over promises not kept. For all that they achieved in their seemingly critically-condemned spectacles, their impressive persistent but flawed efforts to produce quality cinema, are probably most admirably found here in this intriguing adventure that the viewer could hardly be other than sympathetic to their unlikely & increasingly desperate efforts to produce a quality & profit-making cinema. They were up against the giant-killers from Hollywood who could easily outdo with professionalism anything these wide-eyed visionaries could hope to produce.

    But surely this pair & their ilk must be sitting up above on the clouds looking down now & marvelling at this cinematic masterpiece, as surely as they would have likely flourished in the 1970s under a more benevolent era of film-making that evolved in Australia under the broad-thinking of the Whitlam government that sought to bring welfare, tertiary education & multiculturalism to expand our country into a part of the global village, not an isolated island only of international significance for swimming, cricket & tennis & subservient war efforts in the eyes of others!

    Beyond this, I could think of so many of the 1970s Australian movies as being seeds that duly flourished in the aftermath of the likes of "Hunt Angels"! Surely, such as these gave some insight into the evolving genius of such as "Newsfront", "The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith", "Devil's Playground", "Caddie" & "Picnic at Hanging Rock" not to forget less well-known but EXCELLENT offerings like "The Last Wave" "Summerfield" "The Mango Tree" "The Getting of Wisdom" & even to the antics of the likes of "Alvin Purple"!

    Please do not let the opportunity pass to spend 90 minutes of your life on such a gem as "Hunt Angels"! You owe it to yourself to get ALL of the above & so much MORE too within 90 minutes for your precious minutes enjoying your popcorn & drumstick! Don't miss it!
  • ptb-812 December 2006
    Thoroughly engrossing and astonishing in both content and style, HUNT ANGELS tells the amazing story of 30s/40s Australian newsreel style feature director Rupert Kathner and his shyster production methods. Really a valentine to the sideshow level production antics of this shadowy film pioneer whose personal vision of elevating Australian street stories to feature films by cobbling together bumpy produced / poached scenes involving a vast array of unsuitable actors is both hilarious and fascinating. By scheming his way into anyone's confidences he was able to raise (and runaway with) production money that eventually paid his way through some terrible and bewildering entertaining films: mainly THE PYJAMA GIRL MYSTERY and THE GLENROWAN AFFAIR. Presented in the docu-drama style of Australian classics NEWSFRONT and the exquisite ETERNITY, this is a charming and visually enthralling b/w drama plays like one of Kathner's own Ed Wood style features. If it is at a Film Festival near you or seen on a DVD shelf, place HUNT ANGELS atop your must see delights for 2007.
  • Hunt Angels opens in a really thrilling and imaginative way and continues with the same audacity, wit and visual cleverness throughout. Its about the attempts of two emerging filmmakers to well, make films. Lack of finances, state censorship and cultural cringe all create obstacles for the intrepid duo, as do their own inner psychological flaws. Great drama or romance? Not quite, more like a lively humorous and real life farce. And a fantastic insight into Australian cultural history, or lack of. Although set in the 30's and 40's in Australia the film shows how really nothing much has changed, with Australian artists facing the same issues now, of trying to tell independent local stories in the face of globalisation (read Americanisation) of culture. Its actually enlivening though, rather than depressing, and confirms and affirms your own creative aspirations. Only one shortcoming; in classic Australian masculinist style, the abandoned wife is completely silent, and the woman partner's lips seem bigger than Angelina's!
  • For anyone who's passionate about films and film making. This is creative storytelling at its best. The compositing of dramatic actors with archive, blended with the memorable film epics of Rupe, takes this into new realm. It's a difficult line to tread, between authentic history and creative licence. Director/writer Alec Morgan tiptoes along that line without a net, and he does it fearlessly. Ben Mendelsohn is great in the lead. No surprises there. This is a fitting tribute to one of film history's unsung heroes. There's a street named after Rupe Kathner in Canberra. He was a footnote, not elevated to the status of legends by Morgan and co. In fact,,this is a better story and film than that other celebrated legend Ed Wood. By the closing credits I just wanted to get out and get involved. Let's make a movie!
  • I throughly enjoyed this very clever documentary drama about an (in)famous Australian filmmaker who never let minor things such as funding stand in his way. It is told with humor and heart and the visual effects are very clever and most effective. In fact the visual design is the film's most interesting feature. The use of old black and white photographs in a two dimensional format for the actor's to immerse themselves in does wonders in creating the world our two heroes exist in. Once again the wonderful producer Sue Maslin has found herself a great project which is challenging and interesting , and Alec Morgan's obvious love of the material stands the whole thing in great stead. Rupert Kathner is Australia's Ed Wood but with a more ample dose of the rogue about him. Congratulations!