the plan for the future
As on April 5, 2011
Taken from: Wikipedia - Mad Max
Mad Max is a 1979 Australian dystopian action film directed by George Miller and written by Miller and Byron Kennedy. The film's starring role is played by Mel Gibson, who was relatively unknown at the time. Its narrative based around the traditional western genre, Mad Max tells a story of breakdown of society, love and vengeance. It became a top-grossing Australian film and has been credited for further opening up the global market to Australian New Wave films. The film was also notable for being the first Australian film to be shot with a widescreen anamorphic lens.
The first in the Mad Max franchise, Mad Max spawned sequels Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior in 1981 and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome in 1985. The fourth film in the series, tentatively titled Mad Max 4: Fury Road is in pre-production.
The film, set in a dystopian future Australia, law & order has begun to break down. Berserk motorcycle gang member, Crawford "Nightrider" Montizano, has escaped police custody and is attempting to outrun the Main Force Patrol (MFP) in a stolen Pursuit Special (Holden Monaro). Though he manages to elude his pursuers, the MFP's top pursuit man, Max Rockatansky, the more skilled driver, forces Nightrider in a high-speed chase resulting in the death of Nightrider in a fiery car crash.
Nightrider's motorcycle gang, led by "Toecutter" and the sociopath Bubba Zanetti, is running roughshod over a town, vandalizing property, stealing fuel and terrorising the populace. Max and officer Jim "Goose" Rains arrest Toecutter's young protege, Johnny "the Boy" Boyle, when Johnny hangs around after raping a young couple. But when no witnesses appear for his trial, the courts throws the case out and Johnny is released. Goose attacks Johnny and must be held back; both men shouting threats of revenge. After Bubba drags Johnny away, MFP Captain Fred "Fifi" McPhee tells his officer to go after the gangs, "so long as the paperwork's clean."
A short time later, Johnny sabotages Goose's motorcycle; it locks up at high speed, throwing Goose from the bike. He is unharmed, though his bike is badly damaged; he borrows a ute to haul his bike back. However, Johnny and Toecutter's gang are waiting in ambush. Johnny throws a brake drum at Goose's windshield, running him off the road; then Toecutter's instructs Johnny to throw a match into the gasoline leaking from Goose's wrecked ute, while Goose is trapped iside. Johnny refuses and Toecutter slaps him around; in the ensuing argument, the lit match lands in the wreckage, which erupts in flames.
Goose is severely burned. After seeing his charred body in the hospital, Max becomes disillusioned with the Police Force. Worried of what may happen if he stays in the job, Max announces to Fifi that he is resigning from the MFP. Fifi convinces him to take a holiday first before making his final decision.
While at the coast, Max's wife, Jessie and their infant son run into Toecutter's gang, who attempt to rape her. She flees, but the gang later finds them again at the remote farm where she and Max are staying. While attempting to escape, Jessie and her son are run down by the gang; their crushed bodies are left in the middle of the road. Max arrives too late to intervene.
Filled with rage, Max dons his police leathers and takes a supercharged black Pursuit Special (Ford Falcon XB GT 351) to pursue the gang. After torturing a mechanic for information, Max methodically hunts down the gang members: several are forced off a bridge at high speed; Max shoots Bubba at point blank range with his shotgun; Toecutter is forced into the path of a semi-trailer truck and crushed. While tracking down the gang members Max has his arm crushed by Bubba Zanetti's motorbike and is shot in the knee, which he braces with a makeshift splint. He relentlessly searches for the final gang member. Max finally finds Johnny, who is taking the boots off a car crash victim, he handcuffs Johnny's ankle to the wrecked vehicle and sets a crude time-delay fuse. Throwing Johnny a hacksaw, Max leaves him the choice of sawing through either the hi-tensile handcuffs (which will take ten minutes) or his ankle (which will take five minutes). As an emotionless Max drives away, the vehicle explodes.
- Mel Gibson as Max Rockatansky
- Joanne Samuel as Jessie Rockatansky
- Hugh Keays-Byrne as Toecutter
- Steve Bisley as Jim "Goose"
- Tim Burns as Johnny the Boy
- Geoff Parry as Bubba Zanetti
- Roger Ward as "Fifi" Macaffee
- David Bracks as Mudguts
- Bertrand Cadart as Clunk
- Stephen Clark as Sarse
- Brendan Heath as Sprog Rockatansky
- Mathew Constantine as Toddler
- Jerry Day as Ziggy
- Howard Eynon as Diabando
- Max Fairchild as Benno
- John Farndale as Grinner
- Sheila Florance as May Swaisey
- Nic Gazzana as Starbuck
- Paul Johnstone as Cundalini
- Vincent Gil as The Nightrider
- Steve Millichamp as "Roop"
- John Ley as "Charlie"
- George Novak as "Scuttle"
- Reg Evens as the station master
Conception and production
George Miller was a medical doctor in Victoria, Australia, working in a hospital emergency room, where he saw many injuries and deaths of the types depicted in the film. While in residency at a Melbourne hospital, he met amateur filmmaker Byron Kennedy at a summer film school in 1971. The duo produced a short film, Violence in the Cinema, Part 1, which was screened at a number of film festivals and won several awards. Eight years later, the duo created Mad Max, with the assistance of first time screenwriter James McCausland (who appears in the film as the bearded man in an apron in front of the diner). Some have speculated that Miller's medical background is reflected in the name of his chief character Max Rockatansky, perhaps a reference to Baron Carl von Rokitansky, who developed the most common procedure used to remove the organs at autopsy.
Miller believed that audiences would find his violent story to be more believable if set in a bleak, dystopic future. The film was shot over a period of twelve weeks in Australia, between December 1978 and February 1979, in and around Melbourne. Many of the car-chase scenes for Mad Max were filmed near the town of Lara, just north of Geelong. The movie was shot with a widescreen anamorphic lens, the first Australian film to use one.
Co-writer James McCausland drew heavily from his observations of the 1973 oil crisis' effects on Australian motorists:
Mel Gibson, a complete unknown at this point, went to auditions with his friend and classmate, Steve Bisley (who would later land the part of Jim Goose). Gibson went to auditions in poor shape, as the night before he had got into a drunken brawl with three men at a party, resulting in a swollen nose, a broken jawline, and various other bruises. Gibson showed up at the audition the next day looking like a "black and blue pumpkin" (his own words). He did not expect to get the role and only went to accompany his friend. However, the casting agent liked the look and told Gibson to come back in two weeks, telling him "we need freaks." When Gibson returned, he was not recognised because his wounds had healed almost completely; he received the part anyway.
Due to the film's low budget (A$380,000), only Gibson was given a jacket and pants made from real leather. All the other actors playing police officers wore vinyl outfits.
The film's post-production was done at Kennedy's house, with Wilson and Kennedy editing the film in Kennedy's bedroom on a home-built editing machine that Kennedy's father, an engineer, had designed for them. Wilson and Kennedy also edited the sound there.
Max's yellow Interceptor was a 1974 Ford Falcon XB sedan (previously, a Victorian police car) with a 351 c.i.d. Cleveland V8 engine and many other modifications.
The Big Bopper, driven by Roop and Charlie, was also a 1974 Ford Falcon XB sedan and also a former Victorian Police car, but was powered by a 302 c.i.d. V8. The March Hare, driven by Sarse and Scuttle, was an in-line-six-powered 1972 Ford Falcon XA sedan (this car was formerly a Melbourne taxi cab).
The most memorable car, Max's black Pursuit Special was a limited GT351 version of a 1973 Ford XB Falcon Hardtop (sold in Australia from December 1973 to August 1976) which was primarily modified by Murray Smith, Peter Arcadipane and Ray Beckerley. After filming of the first movie was completed, the car went up for sale but was found no buyers, eventually it was handed over to Murray Smith (Film mechanic).
When production of Mad Max 2 (The Road Warrior) began the car was purchased back by George Miller for use in the sequel. Once filming was over the car was left at a wrecking yard in Adelaide and was bought and restored by Bob Forsenko. Eventually it was sold again and is currently on display in the Cars of the Stars Motor Museum in Cumbria, England.
The Nightrider's vehicle, another Pursuit Special, was a 1972 Holden HQ LS Monaro coupe.
The car driven by the young couple that is destroyed by the bikers is a 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air sedan.
Of the motorcycles that appear in the film, 14 were KZ1000s donated by Kawasaki. All were modified in appearance by Melbourne business La Parisienne - one as the MFP bike ridden by 'The Goose' and the balance for members of the Toecutter's gang, played in the film by members of a local Victorian motorcycle club, the Vigilantes.
By the end of filming, fourteen vehicles had been destroyed in the chase and crash scenes, including the director's personal Mazda Bongo (the small, blue van that spins uncontrollably after being struck by the Big Bopper in the film's opening chase).
The film initially polarised critics. In a 1979 review, the Australian social commentator and film producer Phillip Adams condemned Mad Max, saying that it had "all the emotional uplift of Mein Kampf" and would be "a special favourite of rapists, sadists, child murderers and incipient [Charles] Mansons." After the initial US release, Tom Buckley of The New York Times called it "ugly and incoherent". However, Variety magazine praised the directorial debut by Miller.' As of April 2010, the film had a 95% "Fresh" rating on the Rotten Tomatoes, and is considered by many as one of the best films of 1979. In 2004, The New York Times placed the film on its Best 1000 Movies Ever list.
Though the film had a limited run in the United States and earned only $8 million there, it did very well elsewhere around the world and went on to earn $100 million worldwide. Since it was independently financed with a reported budget of just A$400,000, it was a major financial success. For twenty years, the movie held a record in Guinness Book of Records as the highest profit-to-cost ratio of a motion picture, conceding the record only in 1999 to The Blair Witch Project. The film was awarded three Australian Film Institute Awards in 1979 (for editing, sound, and musical score). It was also nominated for Best Film, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (Hugh Keays-Byrne) by the AFI. The film also won the Special Jury Award at the Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival.
Both New Zealand and Sweden initially banned the film, the former due to the scene where Goose is burnt alive inside his vehicle. It mirrored an incident with a real gang shortly before the film's release. It was later shown in New Zealand in 1983 after the success of the sequel, with an 18 certificate. The ban in Sweden was removed in 2005 and it has been shown in TV and is also available in videostores.