• Scobie Malone

    Released by: Umbrella Entertainment
    Released on: May 3rd, 2017.
    Director: Terry Ohlsson
    Cast: Jack Thompson, Shane Porteous, Judy Morris, James Condon, Jacqueline Knott, Noel Ferrier
    Year: 1975

    The Movie:

    Aussie actor Jack Thompson is probably best known for his sensitive portrayal of a crusading lawyer in the classic BREAKER MORANT, but apparently he has a few skeletons in his acting closet - like this cheerful bit of low-rent Ozpoloitation.

    Mike Hammer. Hercule Poiret. Matt Houston. Scobie Malone isn't even up to door number three on that list in term of name recognition. The character - a swinging single homicide detective - was the staple of a number of bestselling novels in Australia in the 1970's but was never captured on film until this outing.

    Opening with a hilariously inappropriate theme tune that recalls a featherweight sitcom like "Three's Company", we are treated to Scobie cruising the freeway and pulling up to his sex bungalow no-couples apartment. Then he hops into bed wth a cute girl and starts beavering away at making the old beast with two backs. Then we get down to brass tacks. Scobie is at police headquarters assigned a case - a lady of loose morals has been murdered. Killed gruesomely at the famous Sydney Opera House, this is sensitive stuff - dead body Helga Brand (Judy Morris) had quite the list of lovers. The most interesting being a very married politician named Walter Helidon (James Condon).

    You've seen this movie quite a few times. Though mostly on YV. The film is structured like a "Colombo" episode with tits and some fun special regional sauce layered over the clich├ęs. Scobie has a comical partner. Model/actress/gold digger Helga is a blackmailer. Scobie has a stick up the ass police commander who orders him to back off the case at one point and Scobie ignores him. Scobie slaps around a couple of suspects and eventually wins the day and the truth wills out.

    So why is this so much fun? Mostly it's the boyish Thompson who manages to make a rather sleazy horndog appealing. He's just too wink-wink nudge-nudge to get offended at. Then there's Morris - she plays the gold digger with just enough range to make her likable. Sure she's screwing a politician for cash, but he's such an insufferable hypocrite you WANT her to fleece him. Mix in a couple of surprisingly effective murder scenes and music that cracks you up and you've got.. well, maybe not a winner but a fun outing.

    Fans of Australia will certainly lap this up. The vistas are pretty nice, and everybody has the right accent. And the whole thing bleeds the 70's aesthetic. It also helps if you love catchy sugary pop - the whole soundtrack pulsates like the loins of Olivia Newton John at an aerobics class.


    Umbrella have delivered a watchable standard def transfer here. The 1.78:1 anamorphic image has a number of issues - occasional wonky color correction, some light banding and minor print damage. It also looks like an automated cleaning program may have been run over the image. But none of these issues is overbearing.

    The Dolby 2.0 Digital Stereo audio is a little weaker. This seems to be a mono track processed into fake stereo which makes for a strange echoey effect at times. Range is also compromised with the high end getting somewhat tinny during the soundfield's more energetic moments. No crackles or pops though and I never had a problem understanding the dialog. There are no subtitles and the only extras are a group of decidedly ropey looking trailers for other films - with dodgy print damage.

    The Final Word:

    A fun diversion for those so inclined, SCOBIE MALONE is an entertaining trifle presented in an acceptable transfer. With plenty of tits and a fun and playful performance from a very likable Jack Thompson, this one comes mildly recommended.

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. LeeN's Avatar
      LeeN -
      Just one correction: this was not the first representation of the Scobie Malone character in a film. He was featured in the 1968 film 'Nobody Runs Forever' which was based on the Jon Cleary novel 'The High Commissioner' (actually the film's release title in some territories) and starred Rod Taylor as Scobie Malone.