Starring: Dan Simmonds, John Hargreaves, Kate Fitzpatrick, Jackie Weaver
Director: Tom Jeffrey
Distributor: Umbrella Aussie DVD
In 1975, the Australian Film Commission was established and as part of it’s mission to share our film culture with the world, several cans of celluloid were shipped off to the Cannes Film Festival. Among them was the screen adaptation of David Williamson’s stage play The Removalists produced by Margaret Fink with set design by the woman who would direct her next film, Gillian Armstrong. This brutal expose of police procedures down under told the story of Constable Neville Ross (John Hargreaves) who rocks up to the cop shop for his first day on the job only to be given a depressing reality check by his world weary superior, Sergeant Dan Simmonds (Peter Cummins).
Circling his new young partner like a shark, Simmonds instructs Ross to relax until something interesting turns up. And it duly does in the form of Kate Mason (Kate Fitzpatrick) and her sexy younger sister Marilyn (Jackie Weaver). Director Tom Jeffrey ensures that we get the necessary cut away shots of Marilyn’s cleavage while the bossy Kate instructs her to expose the bruises that her husband has inflicted upon her. Naturally this causes much interest among the two men who later agree to help the abused Marilyn move house.
Chris Haywood is the professional removalist enlisted to assist them in the task of removing the furniture from under the wife beater’s nose. Kenny (Martin Harris) is handcuffed but he taunts Simmonds relentlessly and gets a good hammering as a result. Soon Ross is pulverising him too. And finally the two cops are left beating each other to a pulp.
Screening at Cannes alongside such period pieces as Sunday Too Far Away, The Removalists would have come across as a scathing indictment on contemporary Australia. No doubt that was Williamson’s intent.