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Scobie Malone (film)

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Director  Terry Ohlsson
Language  English
7/10 IMDb

Genre  Mystery
Country  Australia
Scobie Malone (film) movie poster
Release date  3 October 1975 (1975-10-03)
Based on  novel Helgas Web by Jon Cleary
Writer  Jon Cleary (novel), Casey Robinson, Graham Woodlock
Initial release  October 3, 1975 (Australia)
Music director  Peter Clark, Alan Johnston
Screenplay  Casey Robinson, Graham Woodlock
Cast  Judy Morris (Helga Brand), Jack Thompson (Scobie Malone), Victoria Anoux, Shane Porteous (Constable Clements), Noel Ferrier (Mr Sin)
Similar movies  Jack Thompson appears in Scobie Malone and The Sum of Us

Scobie Malone (also known as Helga's Web and Murder at the Opera House) is a 1975 Australian mystery film based on the novel Helga's Web by Jon Cleary and starring Jack Thompson and Judy Morris.


Scobie Malone (film) wwwcinemaretrocomuploadsscobiemalonejpg


Sydney homicide detective Sergeant Scobie Malone (Jack Thompson) and his offsider (Shane Porteous) investigate the murder of Helga (Judy Morris), whose corpse is found in the basement of the Sydney Opera House. Malone had met Helga previously and discovers she was a high class prostitute who was also a mistress of the Minister for Culture (James Workman) and involved with film director Jack Savannah (Joe Martin). In flashback it is shown that Helga was blackmailing the minister and his wife (Jacqueline Kott), along with a crime boss, Mr Sin (Noel Ferrier).

Eventually it is revealed that Helga was killed while fleeing Captain Bixby (Fred "Cul" Cullen). Malone becomes convinced of the guilt of the Minister, but powerful influences intervene and he gets off. The Minister resigns, citing ill health, and travels to Europe with his wife. Malone criticises his boss, Inspector Fulmer (Walter Sullivan) and is suspended for insubordination for ninety days. Fulmer later suggests he come back, but Scobie elects to stay by the pool for the full ninety days.


  • Jack Thompson as Scobie Malone
  • Judy Morris as Helga Brand
  • Shane Porteous as Russ
  • Noel Ferrier as Mr Sin
  • Jacqueline Kott as Norma Halidon
  • James Condon as Walter Halidon
  • Joe Martin as Jack Savanna
  • Fred "Cul" Cullen as Captain Bixby
  • Walter Sullivan as Inspector Fulmer
  • Max Meldrum as Scientific Officer
  • Ken Goodlet as the Premier
  • Joe James as the Attorney General
  • Victoria Anoux as Becky
  • Zoe Salmon as Angie
  • Bunkie King as Jackie
  • Peter McLean as Photographer
  • Len London as the Police Commissioner
  • Barbara Mason as Socialite
  • Faye Donaldson as Socialite
  • Maggie Blinco as Landlady
  • Di Bergan as The Maid
  • David Bradley as Detective
  • Guy Peniston Bird as Detective
  • Judy McBurney as Girl at pedestrian crossing
  • Bryan Brown as Policeman (as "Brian Bronn")
  • Production

    The film rights to the novel were originally purchased by Brian Chirlian and John Shore, who hired Cleary to do the screenplay. Casey Robinson, a famous Hollywood screenwriter who had retired to Sydney three years earlier with his Australian wife, then became involved as producer. He did not like Cleary's adaptation and elected to do it himself in collaboration with another writer. Some key changes were made from the book, notably turning Scobie Malone into a womaniser who lives in a singles-only apartment block and has sex with a large number of women, including air hostesses whose name he can't remember.

    Robinson managed to pre-sell the film to America, one of the first times this had been done for an Australian film. US$200,000 of the budget was raised from the Australian Film Development Corporation, with the rest coming from private investment.

    "Jack Thompson is a great part of my reason to become involved in this venture", said Robinson at the time. "I have no doubt whatsoever that when this film is seen overseas he'll be turned instantly into an international star. There aren't many male actors like him around any more. There's something there that reminds me very much of Bogart."

    The film was shot in the autumn of 1975. One of the women Jack Thompson sleeps with in the film is played by Bunkie KIng, one of two sisters he lived with in real life in a ménage à trois for fifteen years, with the other sister, Lee King, appearing in poolside scenes.

    The film is also notable for the first screen appearance of actor Bryan Brown, who appears early in the film as a policeman, delivering two lines. He is listed last in the credits as "Brian Bronn".


    Cleary was shown the film at a private screening and was not happy with the result. "When I saw Scobie nibbling on the fourth nipple I thought "that's not my Scobie". And I walked out", he said. The movie received poor reviews and did badly at the box office, despite Jack Thompson coming off two hits with Petersen (1974) and Sunday Too Far Away (1975).

    Clips from the film were featured in the extended version of the documentary Not Quite Hollywood (2008).


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