Harlequin


1h 36m 1980

Film Details

Also Known As
Dark Forces
MPAA Rating
PG
Genre
Drama
Horror
Release Date
1980
Production Company
Australian Film Commission (AFC); Cecil B Demeals Inc; Opticals & Graphics
Distribution Company
Greater Union Organization

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 36m

Synopsis

Crew

Lyn Barker

Production Accountant

Jenny Barty

Production Coordinator

Virginia Bieneman

Other

Adrian Carr

Sound Editor (Dubbing)

Adrian Carr

Editor

Steve Courtley

Set Construction

Roger Cowland

Other

Everett Deroche

Screenwriter

Ross Erickson

Key Grip

William Fayman

Executive Producer

Peter Fenton

Sound Rerecording

Maria Finlay

Costumes (Carmen Duncan)

Reg Garside

Bestboy

Jon George

Screenplay

Jon George

Additional Dialogue

Antony I Ginnane

Producer

Bill Gooley

Laboratory Liaison

Daro Gunzburg

Best Boy

Daro Gunzburg

Production Assistant

Russell Hagg

Screenplay Editor

Gary Hansen

Director Of Photography

Grant Harris

Assistant Director

Neill Hicks

Screenplay

Neill Hicks

Additional Dialogue

Bernard Hides

Art Direction

Bernard Hides

Production Designer

Lois Hohenfels

Makeup

Willie Kay

Magic Consultant

Jan Kenny

Camera Assistant

Stephen Lambeth

Sound Editor

Brian May

Music; Music Director

Michael Mckeag

Assistant Director

Jenny Miles

Assistant Director

Robin Morgan

Assistant Grip

Mick Morris

Gaffer

Peter Moss

Camera Operator

Clark Munro

Standby Props

Chris Murray

Special Effects Assistant

Owen Paterson

Props Buyer

Owen Paterson

Art Direction

Jeremy Robbins

Other

Terry Rodman

Sound Editor

Conrad C Rothmann

Special Effects

Vicki Rowland

Wardrobe Assistant

Terry Ryan

Wardrobe

Terry Ryan

Costumes

Jane Scott

Production Manager

Jane Scott

Associate Producer

Ross Skiffington

Other

Caroline Stanton

Continuity

Lynette Thorburn

Unit Publicist

Sylvia Van Wyk

Production Assistant

Mark Wasiutak

Boom Operator

Peter West

Stunt Coordinator

Gary Wilkins

Sound Recording

Cheryl Williams

Hair Dresser

Film Details

Also Known As
Dark Forces
MPAA Rating
PG
Genre
Drama
Horror
Release Date
1980
Production Company
Australian Film Commission (AFC); Cecil B Demeals Inc; Opticals & Graphics
Distribution Company
Greater Union Organization

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 36m

Articles

Dark Forces aka Harlequin - Dark Forces on DVD


Dark Forces (1980) starts out with elements usually equated to the horror and fantasy genres but slowly builds its material around conventions associated with political conspiracy thrillers. Australian director Simon Wincer has a noticeable career that shoots in all directions including Nascar 3D: The Imax Experience (2004), Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (2001), The Phantom (1996), Free Willy (1993), and even Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (1991). While this selective history will surely give some cause for pause, Dark Forces, Wincer's second feature, is a genuinely compelling cinematic work that features confident performances framed in often interesting compositions that are only now available to home consumers in their original Panavision glory.

The story begins when a top politician disappears during what is presumed to be a freak drowning. (The location and setting is kept purposefully vague so as to enhance the film's appeal to a world market.) This pivotal event poses a possible career boost for Senator Rast, played by David Hemmings of Blow Up (1966) fame. Rast is a career politician married to Sandra, a young trophy wife (Carmen Duncan) whose ailing nine-year-old son, Alex (Mark Spain), is dying of leukemia. Rast is so busy that he's late for Alex's birthday party and, after all, as Sandra later notes, this is no surprise given how much Rast "believes in votes..It's his only passion." And so, the feeble Alex is left to be consoled by the party clown, a particularly adept magician that will soon ingrain himself into the family as both a faith-healer, a confidant, a security-risk, and more. The magic-man is Gregory Wolfe (played by the Hemmings recommended English actor, Robert Powell, who did his own magic stunts) and he makes his second grand entrance in strange garb just as Alex seems to be nodding off toward the big sleep. Wolfe snaps him to attention and even, to his parents' amazement, gets him standing back up on his feet.

Released in Australia and other territories as Harlequin, the film was actually shot under the working title of The Minister's Magician, and it is this first title that rings truest to the original inspiration of the film meant to blend a modern telling of the Rasputin legend (an influence that informs some of Gregory's strange clothing options) with an actual happening in Australia during the seventies when a prime minister mysteriously disappeared when he went diving off a nearby coast. The film keeps its sympathies close to its chest and keeps the viewer guessing as to whether Gregory is a malevolent or benevolent influence, and even when Gregory shows up at a big political soiree dressed up like the lead singer of Queen only to amaze everyone by producing a pigeon out of thin air and then slice it in half with a spinning cymbal (also produced out of thin air), it's still hard to figure out whether he's some kind of space-age prophet or a garden variety anti-Christ. As a shroud of Turin-like stain on the kitchen floor grows to show Gregory's face, the mood is kept appropriately ambivalent - especially if one tunes out the overzealous musical score composed and conducted by Brian May (who also worked on the first two Mad Max films).

The Elite Entertainment release of Dark Forces presents the film in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, and includes a trailer gallery for a handful of other films, most of which are linked to producer Antony I. Ginnane. Clips include the sci-fi, man-in-a-rubber suit film Syngenor, the interesting Strange Behavior, the decent vampire film that also co-stars Hemming and Powell, Thirst, and a clip for Patrick, the psychic quadriplegic killer who wreaks havoc in a hospital. It's all capped off with a trailer for Dark Forces itself. Also on the dvd are a behind-the-scenes photo gallery, filmographies, an isolated music score, and a commentary track with both director Simon Wincer and producer Antony I. Ginnane.

For more information about Dark Forces, visit Elite Entertainment.

by Pablo Kjolseth
Dark Forces Aka Harlequin - Dark Forces On Dvd

Dark Forces aka Harlequin - Dark Forces on DVD

Dark Forces (1980) starts out with elements usually equated to the horror and fantasy genres but slowly builds its material around conventions associated with political conspiracy thrillers. Australian director Simon Wincer has a noticeable career that shoots in all directions including Nascar 3D: The Imax Experience (2004), Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (2001), The Phantom (1996), Free Willy (1993), and even Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (1991). While this selective history will surely give some cause for pause, Dark Forces, Wincer's second feature, is a genuinely compelling cinematic work that features confident performances framed in often interesting compositions that are only now available to home consumers in their original Panavision glory. The story begins when a top politician disappears during what is presumed to be a freak drowning. (The location and setting is kept purposefully vague so as to enhance the film's appeal to a world market.) This pivotal event poses a possible career boost for Senator Rast, played by David Hemmings of Blow Up (1966) fame. Rast is a career politician married to Sandra, a young trophy wife (Carmen Duncan) whose ailing nine-year-old son, Alex (Mark Spain), is dying of leukemia. Rast is so busy that he's late for Alex's birthday party and, after all, as Sandra later notes, this is no surprise given how much Rast "believes in votes..It's his only passion." And so, the feeble Alex is left to be consoled by the party clown, a particularly adept magician that will soon ingrain himself into the family as both a faith-healer, a confidant, a security-risk, and more. The magic-man is Gregory Wolfe (played by the Hemmings recommended English actor, Robert Powell, who did his own magic stunts) and he makes his second grand entrance in strange garb just as Alex seems to be nodding off toward the big sleep. Wolfe snaps him to attention and even, to his parents' amazement, gets him standing back up on his feet. Released in Australia and other territories as Harlequin, the film was actually shot under the working title of The Minister's Magician, and it is this first title that rings truest to the original inspiration of the film meant to blend a modern telling of the Rasputin legend (an influence that informs some of Gregory's strange clothing options) with an actual happening in Australia during the seventies when a prime minister mysteriously disappeared when he went diving off a nearby coast. The film keeps its sympathies close to its chest and keeps the viewer guessing as to whether Gregory is a malevolent or benevolent influence, and even when Gregory shows up at a big political soiree dressed up like the lead singer of Queen only to amaze everyone by producing a pigeon out of thin air and then slice it in half with a spinning cymbal (also produced out of thin air), it's still hard to figure out whether he's some kind of space-age prophet or a garden variety anti-Christ. As a shroud of Turin-like stain on the kitchen floor grows to show Gregory's face, the mood is kept appropriately ambivalent - especially if one tunes out the overzealous musical score composed and conducted by Brian May (who also worked on the first two Mad Max films). The Elite Entertainment release of Dark Forces presents the film in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, and includes a trailer gallery for a handful of other films, most of which are linked to producer Antony I. Ginnane. Clips include the sci-fi, man-in-a-rubber suit film Syngenor, the interesting Strange Behavior, the decent vampire film that also co-stars Hemming and Powell, Thirst, and a clip for Patrick, the psychic quadriplegic killer who wreaks havoc in a hospital. It's all capped off with a trailer for Dark Forces itself. Also on the dvd are a behind-the-scenes photo gallery, filmographies, an isolated music score, and a commentary track with both director Simon Wincer and producer Antony I. Ginnane. For more information about Dark Forces, visit Elite Entertainment. by Pablo Kjolseth

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1980

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1980