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Saturday, November 21, 2020

They're A Weird Mob

Click here for Part 2 of the movie
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Regarded as a classic, this film, based on the book by the same name, takes a kind-hearted look at Sydney in the mid-60s. It's an Australia that no longer exists, making the film something of a social document worth watching.

The premise of the film is a reverse Crocdile Dundee, a fish-out-of-water comedy about a goofy, good-natured Italian who comes to Australia (rather than leaves it) and entertains the locals as he bumbles through day-to-day life, excusing his many faux pas with a nervous smile and a glassy-eyed look.

While it shows an Australia that no longer exists, it is the Australia which I came to love, warts and all, when I arrived here in 1965. Now over fifty years old, the film is an entertaining time capsule and a compilation of the many things that haven't changed - from small gestures like returning shouts of beer at a bar to the ongoing city rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney (highlighted in a scene featuring a cameo from Graham Kennedy) and the generous and welcoming spirit of the Australian people.

"They're A Weird Mob" is a warming and optimistic story which takes me back to a less cynical time and culture which is light years away from today's competitive, money-chasing reality. As John O'Grady writes in his entertaining book (which was published as early as 1957), "Anyone who thinks he recognises himself in these pages, probably does." I do!

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