In a recent interview with Tom Hardy, regarding the upcoming Mad Max: Fury Road film, he said that when we watch, the new film, we will basically be watching the “mind of George Miller.” It’s time to go back to 1979, and munch on the original Mad Max story, from George Miller himself!
George Miller and Mel Gibson were both a part of the “Australian New Wave”, that emerged from the 1980’s from Down Under to become successful artist in their fields, internationally. Aren’t we glad they did? George Miller has written and directed some wonderful pieces of cinema, Happy Feet, for example, is a wonderful movie about nature and our foreboding weight on it. Lorenzo’s Oil was a film that I saw when I was very young, and it brought me to tears, I haven’t been able to watch it since, with dry eyes. Babe is one of the most loveable pigs in cinema. George Miller’s Mind initially brought us Mad Max, and soon we will experience a rebirth of his ‘baby’, who’s excited? I AM!
George was a practicing physician before he became a filmmaker, and worked as an Emergency Room Doctor, to raise funds for his ‘baby’, Mad Max. No doubt he really really wanted to make this film, and it’s truly mad! Madness, mayhem and Mel Gibson! It’s interesting that up until The Blair With Project, Mad Max held the record for most financially successful film in cost to profit ratio. We can say that this very film catapulted both the career’s of Mel Gibson and George Miller.
We can say that the story has a sic-fi feel to it. It’s set “a few years from now…”, where madness rules the roads, and fuel, gasoline is a most wanted commodity. James McCausland, co-writer of Mad Max, stated that the film was written on the “thesis that people would do almost anything to keep their vehicles moving and the assumption that nations would not consider the huge costs of providing infrastructure for alternative energy until it was to late.” These comments makes me realise that the upcoming Mad Max instalment, 36 years on, is ever more relevant, in regards to the energy crisis. In addition to the seriousness of the issue, Miller has managed to create a truly entertaining series of films.
An interesting fact is that Mel Gibson did not intend to audition for this film, but he came along with his friend Steve Bisley. When George saw Gibson, and realised that Gibson has been in a fight the night before, because he looked like a “black and blue pumpkin”, according to Gibson, George asked him to come back and audition, because, he said, “we need freaks!”
The lack of dialogue in this film, and the simplicity of the story makes it echo some of the original works of cinema. George Miller has often stated that he was inspired by the silent film era, and the car chases that had been portrayed during that time. In addition this film was innovative in it’s use of angles and camera placements. The stunts are fantastic, and the music score fits perfectly.
When this film was originally released, it received a lot of hate, because of its bold portrayal of violence. Looking back, this film doesn’t particularity seem violent, by comparisons to some of the films today. How desensitised we have become! Regardless, this film has had a profound influence on cinema, and today it is considered to be one of the better films made. What do you think FilmMunchers?
TRIVIA COOKIES: Max’s surname is Rockatansky. This is in reference to pathologist Carl von Rakitansky, who originated the Rokitansky procedure, used in autopsies. This is George Miller saying, ‘I am a doctor.’
Mel Gibson’s face was not used in any of the promotional material for the US, since he was not known at the time. Instead shots of the road and car chases were used.