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Money Movers (1979)

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clip An offer they can't refuse education content clip 3

Original classification rating: R. This clip chosen to be M

Clip description

Henderson (Charles 'Bud’ Tingwell) offers Eric Jackson (Terence Donovan) a proposition – give him two thirds of the $20 million he’s planning to steal from Darcys counting house, or lose his toes, one by one. Henderson then explains the deal to Jackson’s brother Brian (Bryan Brown) and co-conspirator Ed Gallagher (Ray Marshall), a union rep at Darcys.

Teacher’s notes

provided by The Le@rning FederationEducation Services Australia

This clip shows Eric Jackson (Terence Donovan), his brother Brian (Bryan Brown) and colleague Ed Gallagher (Ray Marshall) reluctantly joining forces with a crime boss, Mr Henderson (Charles 'Bud’ Tingwell), to carry out a $20 million robbery. It opens with Henderson 'persuading’ Eric to let him in on the robbery by having his henchman cut off Eric’s toes with boltcutters. Spilt blood indicates that the persuasion has commenced. The scene is accompanied by classical music. Later, as Eric and his co-conspirators drive to a meeting at Henderson’s clothing factory, the clip cuts to the crime boss, who reveals that he needs money to fund his legitimate business activities. At the meeting, Henderson outlines a deal to the three men. Brian has reservations, but when Henderson argues that without his help the three men will be caught, a resigned Eric nods in confirmation.

Educational value points

  • Money Movers is an example of an Australian crime film and in keeping with the crime film genre, it has a protagonist who is morally ambiguous and an urban setting in which corruption and violence are rife. Like many crime films, Money Movers explores the themes of greed and masculine identity: most of the characters are motivated by greed, and the film portrays a hard-bitten and unsentimental form of masculinity. The film’s intricate and suspenseful plot means that it has also been classed as an action thriller.
  • The 1970s film revival in Australia was characterised by a large number of period films. In contrast, Money Movers was notable for its urban contemporary setting, a feature of both the crime and thriller genres. The film depicted an ugly, alienating urban Australian landscape and a society in which corruption was widespread. The interior scenes were shot with harsh, often overhead, lighting (as in the factory scene), and a drab colour scheme contributed to a sense of grimy realism.
  • The language of film is used to suggest menace. Henderson’s benign demeanour, the bland suburban setting and the refined classical score contrast with, and thus call attention to, the menace and sadism of the toe-cutting scene. This is reinforced by the detachment with which Henderson directs Ernest to clean up the blood before it spoils the carpet.
  • The film’s construction of masculinity is exemplified in the clip. The characters in the film move in an almost exclusively male world where behaviour is defined by violence and aggression. Underlying the confrontation between Brian and Henderson, for example, is a battle of male egos. Australian masculinity is a recurring theme in many of Bruce Beresford’s films.
  • The film was written by Bruce Beresford (1940–) who has since written and directed other films, including Breaker Morant (1980) and Paradise Road (1997). Money Movers was based on a book by Devon Minchin, who ran a security company in Sydney in the 1950s. Minchin’s book was inspired by real events such as the 1970 armed robbery of a Mayne Nickless armoured car, and a raid on the offices of Metropolitan Security Services (Minchin’s company).
  • The work of actor Charles 'Bud’ Tingwell (1923–) is showcased in the clip. Tingwell began his career in radio but in the 1950s he was cast in the British television series Emergency-Ward 10 as Dr Alan Dawson, a role he played for 16 years. He has worked as an actor and director on some of Australia’s most popular television series, including Homicide and The Sullivans, and has appeared in films such as Smithy (1946), Breaker Morant (1980) and The Castle (1997). Much of his appeal lies in his apparent ordinariness and Beresford cast him against type in Money Movers.
  • Actor Bryan Brown (1948–) is shown in one of his first film roles. He made a name for himself during the 1970s by playing quintessential Australian 'blokes’. Beresford also cast Brown in Breaker Morant (1980), which established him as a lead actor. In Hollywood, Brown has had roles in Tai-Pan (1986) and Cocktail (1988). A champion of the Australian film industry, Brown began producing films with uniquely Australian themes in the 1990s, including Dead Heart (1996) and Dirty Deeds (2002), both of which he also starred in.
  • The clip provides an example of the early work of director Bruce Beresford. After establishing himself with the ocker comedy The Adventures of Barry McKenzie (1972), Beresford directed Money Movers as part of a three-picture deal with the South Australian Film Commission. His next film was the critically acclaimed Breaker Morant (1980), which some regard as his best work. Beresford has had a successful career in both Hollywood and Australia, and his films include Don’s Party (1976), Tender Mercies (1983), Driving Miss Daisy (1989) and Evelyn (2002).

This clip starts approximately 1 hour into the feature.

We see Eric has just had one of his toes cut off. He is sitting down on a chair and a man is behind him with a piece of cloth tied around his mouth to contain his screaming.
Henderson I generally find these methods distasteful these days, Eric. I’m a businessman, a collector, not a hoodlum. Isn’t that right, Ernest?
Ernest That’s right Mr. Henderson.
Henderson Now we can move along your foot toe by toe and I wouldn’t like that. You wouldn’t like that either …
The man holding the tool to cut off Eric’s toes clamps it together to get it ready again. Eric is in obvious pain.
Henderson … or we can do a deal. Now what do you say, Eric?
Eric squints, breathes heavily and nervously and raises his eyebrows to consider the offer as the man holding the tool to cut his toes smiles and waits for his reply.
Eric All right. Cut it lightly.
Henderson Not a partner, Eric. I don’t enter into partnerships. An employee. Do something about that blood, Ernest. It will run all over the carpet in a minute.
We see Eric’s foot and remaining toes moving and the blood gushing from his severed foot.

We see a Holden with Eric and his brother, Brian and co-conspirator Ed Gallagher driving down a busy road. We cut to a factory where Henderson and Ernest are waiting for the boys to arrive.
Ernest I still don’t trust him. He’s too smart.
Henderson He doesn’t trust us either but I think he realises he needs us.
Ernest Not as much as we need him. We should have stuck to what we know. We’re no good at business.
Henderson Defeater’s talk, Ernest. We were beaten when those import restrictions were lifted. After this, we’ll re-equip and be able to compete with out them.

Brian, Eric and Ed arrive and enter the factory. Ernest and Henderson turn around. Henderson gets up off his chair to greets Eric.
Henderson Hello Eric. How did my little idea go over?
Brian Like a Chinese brick balloon.
Henderson This is an aggressive young man, Eric. He speaks in a very cheeky way. It’s oddly familiar.
Eric My brother, Brian, Ed … this is Jack Henderson.
Henderson I’d rather you all call me Mr. Henderson. I think a little respect …
Brian Respect?! You just tortured poor bloody Eric!
Henderson ….don’t you! Eric’s just told me all about your little plan, Brian. Brilliant! That’s the only word for it. But there are flaws. One: you’ll have to finish building that van somewhere safer. Leave that to me. Two: you need more help inside the counting house itself. With three of my men along, you can halve the time it takes to load and get out.
Eric All right. But no-one except Brian, Ed and myself need know the details of the operation.
Henderson Agreed. You’re in charge. Until you arrive at a tyre place I own ten minutes from Darcy’s, Ernest here takes over then. We’ll have you out of the country on separate flights faster than anyone could credit.
Brian Out of the country?
Henderson Were you thinking of booking into the Hilton? Throwing a big party, inviting a few girls around?
Brian And what about the money?
Henderson That will be converted by us into appropriate currencies and forwarded to you.
Brian Oh, I see. We steal 20 million bucks, give it to you, put on a false moustache and piss off to I don’t know where!
Henderson Trust is the name of the game, Brian.
Brian Trust? If one of your mob said ‘good morning’ to me, I’d put on my pyjamas and go to bed. That’s how much I trust you.
Henderson You steal 20 million dollars son and every police force in the world will be looking for you. With my organisation you’ll be able to keep the money.
Brian Half of it.
Ernest 40%.
Brian All right. Whatever! For a couple of airline tickets and a…
Ernest … deducted from your share!
Brian … not much I reckon for 12 million bucks!
Henderson Tell him Eric. Without my help, you’ll be caught within a week.
Brian looks back at Eric. Eric nods his head agreeing with Henderson. Brian rolls his eyes, looks down at his feet and walks away.

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