Journalist Stephen Maclean was raised by his mother as she worked in a Melbourne pub and had an early career as a child actor. He wanted to make an Australian musical and ended up working with Gillian Armstrong (My Brilliant Career, the 1994 version of Little Women) and production designer Brian Thomson (The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Shock Treatment).
Despite being rated NRC (Not Recommended for Children) in its native Australia, the Jo Kennedy song “Body and Soul” (written by Tim Finn of Split Enz) went to #5 on the Australian charts.
Jackie Mullens (Kennedy) dreams of being a star while working in her mother’s pub. Her young cousin Angus fancies himself her manager, so he gets her in front of The Wombats, a local band, and gets them on the road to appearing on The Wow! Show. That said, he promises that Jackie will walk a tight rope nude to get on, which ends up getting her sent to jail for the day.
Despite dating guitarist Robbie, she soon falls for the show’s host and works on changing her sound to be more commercial. It fails, just as her deadbeat dad comes home and steals what little money her family has left.
Starstruck comes at an interesting time in the Australian movie industry, as three musicals — also including The Pirate Movie and The Return of Captain Invincible — were made between 1982 and 1983.
While this movie pretty much disappeared upon release in the U.S., it had a rental and cable audience that has kept it alive. If you’d like to join that cult, you can watch this on Amazon Prime and Tubi.