Mad Dog Morgan Reviews
Despite being made at the height of his drugs-and-booze lost period, Dennis Hopper gives a pretty good performance as the naïve and contradictory folk hero cum psychopath, even managing a fairly convincing Irish accent (I'm sure th Irish could find fault, but it never makes you cringe). There's an impressive supporting cast of familiar Aussie faces, not least Gulpilil as Morgan's beloved partner in crime and Frank Thring at his most superciliously unpleasant as the Superintendent: few actors could seem more natural when he and his social circle start casually divvying up Morgan's body parts in the final scene (the head for an anthropologist, the scrotum for the Superintendent's new tobacco pouch). Although not overly graphic, it's still fairly strong meat. 3 stars 2-3-14
There is no redeemable value in any scene.
There is absolutely no value in any "actors" performance.
They even had Garry Meadows with a speaking part!!! What a fucking joke!!! GM was a "media personality" in WA at the time. He was a "popular" radio jock. He was so far up himself they called hoim "Toes" coz that wa sall you could se of him!!!
The whole story is embarrising and bears as much relationmship to reality as my arse!!!
Don't waste you time watching it! I just watched most of it coz there is naught else worth looking at on FTA TV and I would like to see if I can stay awake for "STONE"
Chances are dwindling
Is that legit reason to like a movie? The stuff behind the camera? I suppose if it helps me enjoy the movie it can't be all bad, right?
Give it a look, it's good stuff.
Although very entertaining (Hopper was reportedly drunk throughout most of production -- his reason being that he wanted to "properly" portray Morgan) and retaining much accuracy as to the Australian outlaw's murders, this film is not without its flaws. And unfortunately, there are many of them.
One of the main problems I have is that the version released to the American public, and the one I happened to see, is that although it is "officially" rated-R, this is a heavily edited version of the film. Certain words are dubbed out, along with certain scenes that were obviously cut away from for unexplained reasons.
Also, even though it's shown in the Widescreen 2.35:1 format, don't be fooled by the film's aspect ratio -- certain scenes still pan and scan and reveal that the movie wasn't formatted properly from the 4:3 aspect ratio.
The film's continuity doesn't help with the fact that Hopper's very fake looking jet-black beard (the hair on his head is brown) can't seem to stay looking the same throughout the mid-point of the movie: sometimes it's a full beard and mustache, the next scene it's just the beard, and the next is an even thicker beard and mustache.
But other problems with the film can be dismissed if you really don't care about the back-story of Morgan: one thing being his nickname, "Mad Dog", which was the name given to Morgan by the film's director, Philippe Mora. In fact, the outlaw's real name was John Fuller, with the name "Dan Morgan" being one of his aliases.
Also, the Irish-accent that Hopper uses that I referred to earlier is actually unexplained: Dan Morgan was born in and lived in Australia for much of his short life.
Other than those flaws, the film does have its moments of low-budget filmmaking uniqueness and much of it looks and feels as raw as the continent it was filmed in.
"Mad Dog Morgan" also stars the famous Aboriginal character actor David Gulpilil as Billy, Morgan's partner in crime. If the name doesn't sound familiar, he will be best remembered for his roles in "Crocodile Dundee" and 1971's "Walkabout".
And an interesting bit of trivia about "Mad Dog Morgan" is that Gulpilil is said to have gone walkabout during the middle of production to ask the trees about Dennis Hopper, and the trees reportedly told him that Hopper was crazy.
As I said before about the storyline, it's pretty much accurate, that is, until the ending -- SPOILER ALERT!
In the film, Morgan is shot in the neck and in a controversial scene, dies a painful death after hours of choking on his own blood (in truth, Morgan was shot in the back). But the version I saw edits most of that scene out and goes straight to a scene involving his body on display for officials whose dialogue is dubbed for language.
"Mad Dog Morgan" may have been a great movie, but then again I will never know because how can you truly critique a film when part of the director's vision has been edited for content.
The story traces the fall of an Irish immigrant to mid-19th century Australia who goes broke while working as a gold miner. He's forced to steal food and clothes to survive and is arrested, then given a harsh sentence to 12 years of hard labor by a judge who gives out such sentences so that convicts can be used to build roads. Morgan is assaulted in ever possible way while in prison, both by guards and other convicts. Upon release, he's rejected society and become a horse thief and highwayman, teaming up with an Aborigine whose tribe has been wiped out by European settlers.
"Mad Dog Morgan" is more about the inhumanity, racism and brutality of Australian society of its time. Morgan is a somewhat sympathetic character; he's a vicious criminal, but this monster has been created by the system itself. He still possesses some good traits, but even they've been perverted. By the time Morgan is brought down by bounty hunters and police at the end of the film, it's clear that he's intended here to be a cautionary example about the lack of fairness in society.
Luckily for Dennis Hopper, his character has been written to be blasted out of his head for most of the film. It's clear that Hopper really was. David Gulpilil is good as Morgan's Aborigine partner, likely bringing a good deal of personal history to his performance. The rest of the cast is interchangeable. Some great cinematography of the Australian wilderness. The editing of the film detracts greatly from it, though. Scenes are strung together without transitions, making "Mad Dog Morgan" choppy and confusing at times. Fans of Dennis Hopper should see this flick, though, to see the actor at his rebellious high-point... emphasis on the "high."
The thing that got me with the film was that it is very uneven, I don't know if it was the copy I have but the editing in the movie is terrible.
The film showcases Hopper at a crazy moment in his life, where he was at his artistic peak as an actor, and fueled by alcohol and drugs he had all but become an outcast in Hollywood, and despite all this he gives one of his most memorable performances.