The same Richard Franklin that made Psycho II and Cloak and Dagger made Patrick, Fantasm and this movie and this fact makes me beyond happy. All of these movies are so far apart and different from one another and I just love that they all came from the same director.
While making Patrick, Franklin gave Everett De Roche a copy of Rear Window as an example of how he wanted the script typed. De Roche loved what he read and wanted to make a similar movie but within a moving vehicle, so the dup worked on the first draft while Franklin was producing The Blue Lagoon.
Franklin wanted Sean Connery, but the budget couldn’t handle that, despite the $1.75 million cost making it the most expensive movie yet made in Australia. No matter — Stacy Keach is beyond great in this. However, casting Jamie Lee Curtis to appease Avco Embassy led to politics between actors’ equity groups and nearly shut down the movie.
Patrick Quid (Keach) is driving the lonely highways of Australia, delivering large quantities of pork, and forbidden to pick up the many hitchhikers he sees along the road. And there’s also the matter of a killer (Grant Page, Stunt Rock) on the same roads that the police haven’t been able to catch. Before the end of the film, Patrick will be suspected of these killings more than once.
Quid has his own suspicions, as a green van and its driver have gotten in his way more than once and even attacked the dingo that Quid keeps for company for the long drives. His suspicions are shared by a hitchhiker he finally decides to pick up, Pamela Rushworth (Curtis), the daughter of an American politician.
This movie failed in Australia and the U.S., but it found the right audience to make it a cult classic. I’d not watched it — saving it for just the right time — and I was floored by it.
It’s wonderfully Hitchcockian! Keach and Curtis are a great pair (a grungier version of Cary Grant and Grace Kelly), and love the ornery dog! 🙂
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