Saturday, December 22, 2012

Book Launch Brings out Movie Crowd

He wasn't well known by the general public but within Australian cinema the late Albie Thoms was a name to be reckoned with. He completed his memoir My Generation days before he slipped away from cancer at aged 70, three weeks ago.
Albie Thoms, Charles Higham and Frank Thring
Bryan Brown & Gillian Armstrong

Thoms was a leading figure in the revival  of the local film industry in the 1970s when he began Ubu Films inspired by the French New Wave , British and US underground film movements.

Many of today's most recognisable names came within Albie's orbit and were inspired or encouraged by Thoms to pursue their dreams at a time when their hopes of success at best may have seen them appear in an episode of an ABC drama or a commercial TV cop show, in front of, or behind the camera.

Peter Clifton & Glen A.Baker
Claudia Karvan
At the celebration to honour Albie Thoms' life and to launch his just completed autobiography, many turned up to discuss old times. Actors Claudia Karvan, Bryan Brown and Judy Davis joined directors Bruce Beresford, Jan Chapman and Gillian Armstrong along with producers Jim McElroy, Margaret  Fink and Oz Magazine's Richard Neville.

Publisher Richard Walsh & Jim McElroy
Wendy Whiteley
Richard Neville
Over 300 guests packed Paddington Town Hall's newly decorated auditorium to take in screenings of some Albie's first movie productions like Bluto and Blunderball which were praised in their day by the late US film critic Charles Higham.
 There was also time to re-tell one of Albie's favorite stories : Thoms was commissioned to produce several episodes of the TV series Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo (still big in Eastern Europe) and the guest star was the high camp actor Frank Thring, star of Hollywood biblical blockbusters like Ben Hur.                                      
As the crew brought on yet another struggling  kangaroo in a sack for the day's shoot- Thring quipped  "If that's the star's friggin' dressing room, what's mine going to be like?"