In room 15 of the mysterious Roget clinic lies a young comatose murderer named Patrick (Robert Thompson). His doctor (Robert Helpmann) thinks he's nothing more than 160 pounds of limp meat hanging off a comatose brain, but a young nurse, Kathy (Susan Penhaligon), knows very differently. Patrick has burgeoning psychic powers and a crush on Kathy - and his affection is about to turn into a deadly and bloody obsession.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Thoroughly entertaining and intriguing, Patrick is one of Australia's commercially successful genre films of the 70s, a supernatural thriller about a bedridden young man who lies in a coma with his eyes wide open, apparently without any feelings. But we discover - as do some of the doctors and nurses around him - that he is capable of more than lying still and staring straight ahead. He has acquired telekinetic powers ... which are in harmony with electricity (and even electric typewriters).
This reissue is a welcome addition to the shelves, celebrating some of Australia's finest talents working in a disciplined, popular entertainment format.
Richard Franklin directs a clever script by Everett de Roche, both in complete synch with the material. Brian May makes a terrific contribution with his multi-coloured and apposite orchestral score, and the cast includes some of Australia's finest actors, from the classy Julia Blake as the mastiff of a matron to Robert Helpmann as the dangerous doctor. He's surprisingly good, except for a few scenes in the final act. Susan Penhaligon is feisty as the nurse who gets up close and very personal with Patrick - Robert Thompson in a demanding role as the comatose but not altogether incapable impatient patient. He does good eyes.
But it's the writing and direction that make the film such a populist pleasure, fresh ideas, good structure and all the pay-offs that the genre demands, from electrifying baths to sparky deaths. Telekinesis is the scientific word - creepy antics is the cinematic translation.
In Coffe Break with Antony I. Ginnane, one of the many extras on the DVD, the producer articulates why he chose to make genre films in Australia in the 70s and puts in context director Richard Franklin's relationship with one of his mentors, Alfred Hitchock, in outlining the genetic background for Patrick. Tony goes on to talk about many aspects of the film and the cast and how Franklin (who died in 2007) adapted Hitchcockian tools (like meticulous storyboarding), in a seamless and fascinating 20 minutes that is a great primer for a deeper appreciation of Patrick specifically and the genre in general.
Franklin's commentary is also valuable, providing plenty of 'film school' but also plenty of background interest on cast and his own shooting methods.
Published March 19, 2009
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PATRICK: DVD (M)
CAST: Robert Thompson, Susan Penhaligon, Robert Helpmann, Rod Mullinar, Bruce Barry, Julia Blake, Helen Hemingway, Maria Mercedes, Walter Pym, Frank Wilson, Carole-Ann Aylett,
PRODUCER: Richard Franklin, Antony I. Ginnane
DIRECTOR: Richard Franklin
SCRIPT: Everett de Roche
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Donald McAlpine
EDITOR: Edward McQueen-Mason
MUSIC: Brian May
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Leslie Binns
RUNNING TIME: 108 minutes
PRESENTATION: 16:9; DD 2.0
SPECIAL FEATURES: Ultimate Ozploitation Edition: "A coffee break with Antony I. Ginnane"; Archival on-set interview with Director Richard Franklin; Audio commentary with director Richard Franklin; Excerpt from dubbed US version; The Man Who Wasn't There - PDF file of the unproduced Patrick sequel treatment; Original Australian and US trailers; Stills and poster gallery; producer Antony I. Ginnane trailer reel.
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Umbrella
DVD RELEASE: February 10, 2009
RIVERSIDE SNEAK PEEK PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 4 consecutive Tuesdays - March 10, 17, 24, 31, 2015 - at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.