The Getting of Wisdom (film)
|The Getting of Wisdom|
|Directed by||Bruce Beresford|
|Produced by||Phillip Adams|
|Written by||Eleanor Witcombe|
|Based on||novel by Henry Handel Richardson|
|Edited by||William M. Anderson|
Southern Cross Films
|15 June 1977|
The film is set in 1890s Victoria, when Laura (Susannah Fowle) enters an exclusive Melbourne ladies' college based on Presbyterian Ladies' College. The film follows her struggle for acceptance, conformity, romance, friendship and achievement over the next four years. Lesbian overtones between two schoolgirls are made explicit in the film, more so than in Richardson’s novel.
Laura Rambotham is sent to attend boarding school in Melbourne at the turn of the century. During her second year she tells everyone about a made-up romance between herself and the school's minister, Reverend Shepherd. She forms an attachment with an older girl, Evelyn. When Evelyn leaves, Laura throws herself into her studies and wins the school literary and music prizes.
- Susannah Fowle as Laura Tweedle Rambotham
- Hilary Ryan as Evelyn
- Terence Donovan as Tom McNamara
- Patricia Kennedy as Miss Chapman
- Sheila Helpman as Mrs. Gurley
- Candy Raymond as Miss Zielinski
- Barry Humphries as Rev. Strachey
- John Waters as Rev. Shepherd
- Monica Maughan as Miss Day
- Dorothy Bradley as Miss Hicks
- Phillip Adams, cameo role as mathematics teacher
- Kerry Armstrong as Kate, one of the worldly-wise students
- Sigrid Thornton as Maria, one of the worldly-wise students
Bruce Beresford wanted to make the film after The Adventures of Barry McKenzie (1972) and tried to get finance from Reg Grundy. Grundy said he would think about it if Beresford made a McKenzie sequel. Beresford made Barry McKenzie Holds His Own (1974) but Grundy declined to make Wisdom.
The film was the first production from the newly formed Victorian Film Corporation, who provided $100,000 with additional funding from the Australian Film Commission and the Nine Network. Six thousand girls were interviewed for the school pupil roles. It was shot at the Methodist Ladies' College and in the town of Eddington in January and February 1977.
The Getting of Wisdom grossed $982,000 at the box office in Australia, which is equivalent to $4,517,200 in 2009 dollars.
The Getting of Wisdom was nominated for five AFI Awards in 1978 and won in the Best Adapted Screenplay (Eleanor Witcombe) category.
- Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998 p316-317
- Hal Erickson The Getting of Wisdom (1977) Review summary in The New York Times,
- David Stratton, The Last New Wave: The Australian Film Revival, Angus & Robertson, 1980 p46
- Film Victoria - Australian Films at the Australian Box Office