I'M NOT DEAD YET
A life chronicle and contempo portrait of Chad Morgan as a 78 year old man; once an infamous drunk and womaniser, he found his life partner in plain speaking Joanie, who is his roadie, selling CDs and merchandise while Chad performs. He started at 19 on the 1952 radio talent quest Australia's Amateur Hour as a nervous, buck toothed writer/performer, with his own The Shiek from Scrubby Creek, written as a response to his unrequited love for a local beauty. He has since performed the song over 10,000 times and his buck teeth are his trademark.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Back in the day, Chad Morgan, "the Borat of Australian country music ... was an inspiration to every ugly bloke who'd given up hope of ever getting a root," as narrator Tex Perkins puts it. And despite several reports of his death, Chadwick is still very much alive - and a lively bloke at that. (At time of writing, that is ...)
He's old now, 78 when this doco was made, and he needs crutches to walk, hobbles and wobbles managing the domestics with his wife and one-time roadie (before age restrained her), Joanie. But once he takes to the stage and dons his trademark army 'giggle hat' with the flap turned up, he's the star, the king, the entertainer. His excessive buck teeth are his facial performance signature, but the man can really sing -and what he sings doesn't look like anyone else doing the same song. And he can crack a joke, which does on or off stage, as does Joanie, whether self deprecating or ribbing each other.
Broderick Smith of The Dingoes claims that Chad was "influenced by the devil ... I don't think we're talking music here, we're talking something else."
Filmmaker Janine Hosking takes us back to Chad's boyhood in a couple of re-enactments intended to 'show' not just tell his life story. He was one of 14 Morgan children in the tiny Queensland community of Duckinwilla, better known by the locals' label, Scrubby Creek. When he burst onto the scene with his The Sheik of Scrubby Creek, 'sheik' was local slang for a stylish bloke who was highly attractive to women. It was wishful singing.
At one big country music gig, Chad's humour deserts him when he comes off stage swearing like a trooper at the young musos backstage whose noisy antics were drowning him out via the on-stage speaker. It's Chad unleashed and uncensored, showing another side to the old trooper.
The doco traces his life in fits and starts; we learn of his army days when he would perform country porn songs, and how he began attracting glamorous women. How he joined a circus, his first marriage and - fleetingly - his bad old drinking days that ended that marriage, as well as his rebellious stand against record labels.
What stands out most is the twin personas of Chad Morgan: the off stage, teetotalling, happily married everyman and on stage, the politically incorrect, eccentric musical entertainer. And the film ends on a high note at Tamworth.
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I'M NOT DEAD YET (M)
CAST: Documentary featuring Chad Morgan, Tex Perkins, John Williamson and others
NARRATION: Tex Perkins
PRODUCER: Janine Hosking, Stephen Hopes
DIRECTOR: Janine Hosking
SCRIPT: Janine Hosking
CINEMATOGRAPHER: John Biggins
EDITOR: Janine Hosking
RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Umbrella
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Narooma Cinema, Narooma - Dec 1, 2011; Mt Victoria Flicks, Mt Victoria - Dec 26, 2011; Gunnedah Cinema, Gunnedah - Dec 15, 2011; Tamworth Forum 6 Cinemas, Tamworth - 19 Jan 2012