User Login

Triumphant return of the cavalry

The Age

Friday April 1, 2011

Jim Schembri

Antony I. Ginnane delivers a lesson in crowd-pleasing with The Lighthorsemen, writes Jim Schembri. IT'S hard to catch Antony I. Ginnane when he's not excited about a film. The veteran Melbourne producer has a formidable career that spans five decades, covering the genre-driven Ozploitaton phase of the 1970s (Patrick, Fantasm, Thirst) and 1980s (The Survivor, Turkey Shoot), through to today.As president of the Screen Producers Association of Australia, Ginnane is bu1sy criss-crossing town with three projects on the go, including a remake of his 1978 horror classic, Patrick.Right now, he's enthusing about the remastered re-release of The Lighthorsemen, the big-budget horse opera he produced with director Simon Wincer in 1987. The film is getting a one-week theatrical run from Monday before coming out on DVD.Made for a whopping $10 million, the film is set in Palestine in 1917 and is famous for the restaging of a cavalry charge by Australian soldiers against Turkish troops."I haven't seen the film in a cinema since its original theatrical release here and in the US, so it's terribly exciting," Ginnane says, adding that the digital remastering makes it look better than ever."However nice and big your 60 or 70-inch TV is at home, seeing The Lighthorsemen in a new, restored, HD version on one of those big Hoyts screens with that final charge is something. If you think back to the great movies from the early 1960s through until 1988, that cavalry charge stands alongside a couple of the big moments in Zulu."It is a spectacular picture."And an instructive one. A controversial figure who has been outspoken about the plethora of dismal kitchen-sink local films that have failed to find audiences, Ginnane believes The Lighthorsemen has some lessons to impart."The film speaks to the fact that if people are going to go to the cinema, they expect value for their money," he says."A small-scale, intimate drama, you watch on television. In general terms, mainstream, multiplex audiences expect to see something big. They don't really like small. People want to see gloss."His advice to producers is to embrace the notion of fashioning a film for a defined market."Not only do Australian producers need to think about the market, they have to get skilled about what works in the market," he says."They have to be statistically savvy, they have to be as passionate about the business side and the artistic side. Not to the extent it blinds their creativity but so it enhances choices about what they should make and what they shouldn't make."The Lighthorsemen screens at Hoyts Melbourne Central, Chadstone and Eastland April 4-8.

© 2011 The Age

Back to News Index | Back to Home

News Archive

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

http://www.horse.com.au/horse-articles/2011/4/1/triumphant-return-of-the-cavalry/