Mad Dog Morgan
The cunning casting of counter-culture icon Dennis Hopper as the anti-establishment rebel-cum-bushranger Daniel Morgan gives Philip Mora's film a deep resonance.
Filmed in many of the actual locations that Morgan frequented, the director elevates the film above mere exploitation flick. Aside from impressive action sequences, including a bloody attack on a Chinese mining camp, Mora strives for authenticity in this dark study of Morgan's slow descent into madness.
Making its way to the Cannes Film Festival on its release, Mad Dog Morgan sparked more than a little controversy. Brutal, violent, stark and gritty, it was a major depature from the 'softer' tone of Australian films at the time.
Although a period piece, the film embraces a blazing sensibility that reflects Hopper's legendary offscreen antics - some of which resulted in his being banned from ever driving a motor vehicle in Australia.
The film itself features a great cast including Jack Thompson, David Gulpilil, the always wonderful Frank Thring, Michael Pate, Bill Hunter, Graeme Blundell, Max Fairchild, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Grant Page, Bruce Spence and Roger Ward.