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For Love Alone is a 1986 Australian film directed by Stephen Wallace and starring Helen Buday, Hugo Weaving and Sam Neill. The screenplay was written by Wallace, based on the 1945 novel of the same name by Christina Stead. The film marked the screen debut of Naomi Watts.[2] The film was entered into the 37th Berlin International Film Festival.[3]

For Love Alone
For Love Alone.jpg
VHS cover
Directed byStephen Wallace
Produced byMargaret Fink
David Thomas
Written byStephen Wallace
Based onnovel by Christina Stead
StarringHelen Buday
Sam Neill
Hugo Weaving
Music byNathan Waks
CinematographyAlun Bollinger
Edited byHenry Dangar
Western Film Productions
Distributed byGreater Union
Release date
  • 22 May 1986 (1986-05-22)
Running time
102 minutes
BudgetAU$3.8 million[1]
Box officeAU$193,000 (Australia)



In the 1930s, Teresa (Buday) is a naive young woman dealing with the oppressive attitudes of society and her father's austere ways. She has a fling with university Latin professor Jonathan Crow (Weaving). It takes her some time to realize that he does not desire a serious relationship. Teresa then starts dating liberal-minded banker James Quick (Neill). Once she's settled down with Quick, the idealistic Teresa becomes enamored with another intellectual, poet Harry (Williams). Quick encourages the affair, hoping that Teresa will come to realize that there's more to true love than mere sexual impulsivity.

Principal castEdit

Actor Role
Helen Buday Teresa
Sam Neill James Quick
Hugo Weaving Jonathan Crow
Huw Williams Harry
Hugh Keays-Byrne Andrew
Odile Le Clezio Kitty
Naomi Watts Leo's girlfriend


The film was a pet project for Margaret Fink who took six years to raise finance. The bulk of the money came from a pre-sale to Greater Union and from UA. Fink had been impressed by Stir and asked Stephen Wallace to direct.[4]

Fay Weldon wrote some early drafts but neither Fink or Wallace were happy with them so Wallace did the adaptation himself.[1] Wallace says it took him three and a half years to write the script.[5]

Peter Strauss was originally cast to play James Quick but was replaced by Sam Neill. Genevieve Picot was tentatively cast in the lead role but it took two years to raise the money by which time it was felt she was too old so she was replaced by Helen Buday, who had only made one film previously.[1]

Most of the movie was shot in Sydney starting in March 1985 with a four-day shoot at Oxford University.[1][6]


The movie received poor reviews. Stephen Wallace says he was particularly shocked by the reviews from feminists and women's magazines. "They attacked it so viciously. So I guess it wasn't a totally competent film. I know it was a bit slow and clumsy and I have to accept that."[7]

For Love Alone grossed $193,000 at the box office in Australia[8] which was considered a disappointment. Stephen Wallace regrets his treatment of the subject matter was not bolder.[1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e David Stratton, The Avocado Plantation: Boom and Bust in the Australian Film Industry, Pan MacMillan, 1990 p178-179-181
  2. ^ Bozzola, Lucia (28 September 1968). "Naomi Watts > Overview". AllMovie. Retrieved 4 August 2010.
  3. ^ "Berlinale: 1987 Programme". Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  4. ^ "Facts and Figures", Cinema Papers, July 1985 p48-49
  5. ^ Paul Kalina, "Stephen Wallace", Cinema Papers, Feb-March 1985 p15
  6. ^ David Stratton, "Margaret Fink", Cinema Papers, May 1986 p42
  7. ^ "Interview with Stephen Wallace", Signis, 21 November 1998 accessed 21 November 2012
  8. ^ Film Victoria - Australian Films at the Australian Box Office

External linksEdit