Graeme Blundell & Alvin Purple

A huge influence in Australian cinema during the 1970's, Graeme Blundell was a driving force in many of Tim Burstall's films, and continued to be a figure in Burstall's career and life, both men being associated with 1970's Australian film.

Blundell is an iconic Australian actor due to his character in Burstall's film Alvin Purple playing the sex-crazed Alvin. Alvin Purple is considered to be successful due to it's commercial value, being a film generally about sex and human's desire for sex, Alvin Purple was also extremely risque for the time, and reflected the lives, thoughts and the changing culture during the 1970's. Alvin Purple connected with audiences also because Blundell's realistic performance as a real teenager with real issues and real thoughts and feelings about his sexual desires; something many teenagers of the day, even still today can connect with.

In Blundell's biography 'The Naked Truth: A life in parts'  he writes that the world after the 1960's explored a huge market for sex, and Alvin fit into that market. The exciting idea about Alvin was that sex was treated in a way that audiences accepted it as a script "...that scored it's points with a wink rather than a sneer, and a smile rather than a leer".

Alvin Purple managed to get audiences to accept the film as a charming comedy about sex, and a man's ideas and hesitance about it, while it was "raunchy" for it's time, the film projected societies anxieties about sex rather than blatantly placing it on film for 'shock value'. Blundell and Alvin are forever remembered together, and were used as a tool in the 1970's to bring to light the new fascinating culture surrounding Australian cinema and the new ideas people were accepting as every day life from the stubborn and clean earlier years.

"Stork" Interview 2004 (Part 1)

Hexagon Productions

Hexagon productions was born out of the company associated with the members of the underground Australian film culture and Village Roadshow members, and produced titles such as:

The Last of the Knucklemen
High Rolling
Eliza Fraser
End Play
The Love Epidemic
Australia After Dark
Alvin Purple & Alvin Rides Again

Notably, many of the productions were Tim Burstall's doing, forming the production company with Roadshow (John J. Benson, 1983) and creating most of his 1970's films under that name. Hexagon is credited along with Burstall's name as being a pioneer company of the Australian new wave cinema; ACMI claims in it's history that Hexagon, along with other young filmmakers was responsible for the emerging films making their way through young people's culture and as a result, Australian universities. (Australian Center for the Moving Image, 2012)

AFI chairman Alan Finney
Hexagon Productions was the first company to embark on a 'joint venture' with production and distribution entities. (AFI, 2012) It appeared that Hexagon's aim in the Australian film industry was to create commercially successful films both in Australia and overseas.
Alan Finney; current member of the AFI board of directors, was a keen member of Hexagon Productions, using his position at Village Roadshow to create the production company alongside Burstall after distributing 'Stork'.


John J. Benson and Australian Film Institute, 1983, An Annotated and Critical Bibliography on Australian Filmmaker Tim Burstall, Research & Information Centre, viewed 18/05/2012, <>. 

Australian Center for the Moving Image, 2012, Our History, Australian Center for the Moving Image, viewed 12/05/2012, <>.

The Australian Film Institute, 2012, AFI Board of Directors, Board and Staff, viewed 12/05/2012, <>.

La Mama Writers' Theatre

Owned by Tim Burstall's wife, Betty Burstall - La Mama was a haven for artists to express themselves separate from the norms of Australian theatre. Taken from the La Mama website:

La Mama was established by Betty Burstall in 1967 as a playwright’s theatre,  
“a place where new ideas, new ways of expression can be tried out; a place where you can hear what people are thinking and feeling”

The venue's name and idea was taken from the kind of theaters that Betty experienced when visiting America. La Mama was also an inspiration and a place for Tim Burstall to find actors and writers for his films. The script for Stork was taken from the play that was performed at La Mama 'The Coming of Stork' written by David Williamson whom is an Australian icon today. The idea that Tim Burstall could come to any one of La Mama's plays and give a writer or an actor an opportunity to be involved in a feature film, was a revolutionary one for Australia's underground artists.
Bonza database information on the people who have worked at La Mama

La Mama was such an influence on the early 1960's and mid 1970's artists because it is credited with assisting the Australian new wave cinema. And particularly how Burstall used the stories coming out of La Mama to his advantage in creating modern films that audiences relate to and enjoy - these films are credited with his success as a filmmaker during this time. 

Who is Tim Burstall?

Tim Burstall (20 April 1927 - 19 April 2004) was born in England, however is best known as one of Australia's most successful filmmakers during the 1970's when Australia was struggling to have a film industry, with his 'ocker-comedy' films such as Alvin Purple (1973), Stork (1971), and Eliza Fraser (1976). He is also famous for his 1980's films such as Attack Force Z with the production of Lee Robinson , Kangaroo,  and Great Expectations: The Untold Story, however this blog will focus only on Burstall's fame during the 1970's.

Here are the trailers for Alvin Purple and Stork:

Next Post: Hexagon Productions


Hello Readers,

This blog is dedicated to Australian filmmaker Tim Burstall. The posts will focus on Burstall's years in the 1970's, and how he influenced the Australian film industry during that time through my research.

Next Post: Introduction to Tim Burstall.