Wednesday, January 7, 2015
There are optical errors in time as there are in space
It's been half a week now since I saw Jim Sharman's 1978 film of Patrick White's screenplay, The Night the Prowler, and I have to say that the film works best at a distance since, as Proust writes, 'there are optical errors in time as there are in space'. Now, what even a day or two ago I still thought of as the more awkward attempts of the script seem mostly to have disappeared between scenes of beehive teas, leathered frumpings and the near smiling, high camping delight that the writers Dorothy Hewett and Merv Lilley take in their roles as nocturnal Centennial Park derros. The naked, emaciated man, whose death is signalled by a quiet runnel of urine, pulls the film towards something Beckettian, from which the film keeps itself, nevertheless, at a firm remove with all of its Easter Show bag, stiff cat artifice, as well as the whole 'Many and One' drag that Kerry Walker plays with such admirable, slow witted awkwardness -- because, how else to play that final, fatuous line?