In a 1979 interview, just prior to the release of his debut feature Mad Max, George Miller gave an encapsulated account of his understanding of film style to Peter Beilby and Scott Murray, from Australia’s Cinema Papers. The film had yet to become an enormous success, and so Miller was only just starting out on the path to becoming the foremost commercial titan of Australian cinema. He was likely bitter and dispirited at the time—Max’s shoot had been difficult, and its post-production long and onerous, and the final product was not to his expectations 1 – but, in the interview, he sounds breezily confident:

“There are two basic types of films; the mise-en-scene film, which is the camera recording performance or incidents, but making little editorial comment, and the montage film, which is all done with the camera. Mad Max is a montage film. In a crazy sort of way, you actually have more control over a montage film, particularly if you are dealing with inexperienced actors…for a first feature, you go for more cutting.” 2

Miller, famously, trained in medicine, completing a residency at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney before launching his film career, and there’s something of the doctor’s bedside manner in his public conduct – a professorial mien that makes him an able explainer of his work, though he is in other respects firm in his resistance to intellectualising film and the audience’s experience of it.

Since the release of the second and third Max films – Mad Max 2, in 1981 (released in the US as The Road Warrior) and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, in 1985 – he has been particularly forward about his passion for the work of comparative mythologist Joseph Campbell, who posited an archetypal ‘monomyth’ that inheres in all cultures. 3 Like many other filmmakers – including, famously, George Lucas – Miller has adopted the framework of this monomyth as the blueprint for his films.

This is partly a commercial decision (monomyth narratives are thought to have a reliable appeal), but it is also founded in a sense that cinema has a cultural or social function. He sees the movie theatre as a kind of spiritual sanctum, and filmic storytelling as having a role analogous to the transportive ritual of primitive cultures. He has even referred to cinema as ‘public dreaming’, in an allusion to the songlines of Australian Aboriginals (he devoted a one hour documentary, 40,000 Years of Dreaming, made in 1997 for the BFI, to this idea). 4

The early Cinema Papers quote is notable for the deceptively off-hand way in which Miller justifies what is actually the essence of his style, characterising the ‘montage film’ as an expedient choice for a first-time filmmaker. In fact, Max’s shoot was difficult precisely because he had an ambitious montage schema in mind – he would say that he had problems getting his crew, who were accustomed to shooting the plain coverage of Australian television, to adhere to this vision. 5

Miller has in fact consistently been obsessed with what he terms the “plasticity” of cinema: the way a film is made by stringing together a series of shots like “notes on a piano.” 6 The musicality of cinema and specifically, montage cinema, has been the foundational principal of his career, from the first Max (assembled, he has suggested, as a kind of ‘rock’n’roll’ movie) 7 to his two works of animation, the freewheeling jukebox musicals Happy Feet (2006) and Happy Feet Two (2011).

The quote also suggests something of his stylistic confidence. It is evident, even in his earliest work, that he intuitively grasps the expressive possibilities of the medium – a formal aptitude that led to film scholar Adrian Martin labelling him Australia’s “most completely cinematic filmmaker.” 8

That Miller’s project can so casually be demystified as the three Ms – music, montage, and myth – and that he himself ably defines the terms, has perhaps contributed to his general under-appreciation in critical and scholarly discourse. His commercial success is lauded, and his films – particularly his most recent, 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road – are highly praised, but his prominence in screen literature seems incommensurate with his evident genius as a pure filmmaker. His films, though technically sophisticated, are also not particularly dense texts – plot, character, and theme are typically sketched in clear lines and broad strokes. His films are, fundamentally, machines for affect; finely calibrated to make their audience feel something, and to elicit an almost pre-conscious, primitive response. His work doesn’t necessarily offer much food for analysis – which is perhaps appropriate: it is not enough to intellectualise his filmmaking, if, indeed that is possible. George Miller’s cinema is felt in the gut.

“The Art of Film is a Luxury”

Miller was born in March 1945, and spent the early part of his childhood in the country town of Chinchilla, Queensland. 9 His parents were émigrés who ran a local café and General Store.  10 The couple had four sons, and, in the mode of many migrant parents, expected high educational achievement. Miller and his twin brother John trained as doctors; another brother, Chris, studied architecture; 11 and a fourth, Bill, became a lawyer and later a producer on Miller’s films. 12

During his medical degree, Miller would skip out on lectures to go to the cinema and catch up by copying John’s notes. 13 In around 1970, his brother Chris won a university short film competition with an idea conceived by Miller. The prize was entry into a month-long film workshop held at the University of Melbourne, but Chris chose not to attend. Working part-time as a brickies labourer in Sydney, Miller experienced a near fatal incident when a brick fell from the top of a building site and narrowly missed the lunching workers below – an existential shock that precipitated a re-evaluation of his priorities. Setting his mind on the Melbourne workshop, Miller rode a tiny Honda motorcycle down from Sydney and talked his way in to the class. 14

There, he fell in with the Melbourne-raised Byron Kennedy, who quickly took a role as cinematographer to Miller as director, and later became his producer. Phillip Noyce, a significant director in his own right, was a tutor at the workshop, and taught Miller how to load and handle the camera—a wind-up Bolex—but recalled that this was the only instruction required. Even at that early stage, Miller’s formal gifts were obvious: sent off to make a one reel short, Miller and Kennedy returned with a “primer of film grammar.” 15

Kennedy worked closely with Miller in the early part of his career—not only as producer, but also as cinematographer, editor, and writer—and his contribution to the trajectory of Miller’s career should not be underestimated. Three of their early short works are extant (available at the National Film and Sound Archive): Violence in the Cinema, Part 1 (1971, their first distributed film); Frieze: An Underground Film (1973); and The Devil in Evening Dress (1974, an hour-long docudrama about a ghost that supposedly haunts Melbourne’s Princess Theatre). Though he died in a helicopter accident in 1983, the production company they started together, Kennedy Miller (now Kennedy Miller Mitchell), continues to bear his name, and continues to be the governing organisation behind all of Miller’s work.

George Miller

Byron Kennedy

Violence in the Cinema was their first success, but it’s Frieze that seems most illustrative of their close working relationship. Credited as ‘a film by Byron Kennedy with assistance from George Miller’, the short is a blunt piss-take on the work of their peers in the experimental, co-operative Melbourne and Sydney production scenes of the 1970s. Miller, appearing onscreen, critiques the film in progress – an essayistic meditation on “hot and cold” (or so Kennedy facetiously claims in voiceover).

“The art of film is a luxury,” Miller says:

“and you get yourself a strip of film and a Bolex, and all you’re concerned with is serving up this sort of nonsense… You just have no idea what films are about… Everything you put in the frame you should think about incredibly carefully, in meticulous detail, and you wave this camera about, expect things to happen spontaneously.”

The comments (which hardly seem tolerant of what he would later term the mise-en-scene film) assert Miller’s favouring of strict formal rigour, a preference clearly evident in all his work – montage, after all, is a mechanism of stylistic control. But they also give this sentiment a populist air – if the art of film is a luxury, then its expression should have a direct relationship with the audience. This commercial sensibility was shared by both Miller and Kennedy, and they developed it in tandem.

“The Best Cinema is Violence”

Though Violence in the Cinema, Part 1 is in some ways a conceptual piece, it is a crowd-pleasing one, in which a droning lecture on the titular subject descends, aggressively, into an actual gore-fest. It’s more of a satire on analyses of screen violence than on violence itself – bypassing intellectual handwringing, the film appeals gleefully to the audience’s primitive bloodlust.

Miller once claimed that “the best cinema is violence” 16 – a statement that’s equally sensible commercial outlook and defensible value proposition. The best cinema is violence because action and horror cinema activates certain essential formal possibilities in the medium – principally montage – that are not available to other art forms and are distinctively effective upon an audience. Violent acts, in Miller’s cinema, are almost always constructed through editing, as with Un Chien Andalou’s (Luis Buñuel, 1929) famed slice across the eyeball (directly referenced in Violence).

Mad Max (1979) was conceived in order to satisfy a market for violent films (it would later be lumped in with the so-called ‘Ozploitation’ wave), and, as a consequence, the makers did not seek funding through the Australian Film Commission, which had an established preference for high-toned, prestigious Australiana. 17 The film was funded by a syndicate of private investors, which turned out to be exceptionally advantageous to all – Miller and Kennedy especially. 18 19

With the exception of Frieze, no Miller project appears to have been principally funded with public money, although many have relied on tax concessions. Since turning down funds from the Victorian government during the completion of Max, Miller and Kennedy both expressed doubts about the wisdom of public funding for the film industry (though Kennedy had been the beneficiary of at least two small grants). 20 21

Given the combination of Miller’s relative inexperience, formal ambition and production challenges, Max is rough in spots. Though the action sequences are effective, the narrative material around them is awkwardly realised. These ragged edges, oddly, make it the most violent-feeling of Miller’s works. The film was condemned in some corners of the media (and even banned in New Zealand), and Miller early on was pegged – inaccurately, as time proved – as some kind of horror maestro, an image that played effectively off the doctorly front he otherwise presented (in photos from this time, Miller is often moustachioed and smoking a pipe). 22

As budgets for the Max films rose, this grubby vision of post-apocalyptic Australia was ironed out into pure fantasy, and the trials of their lead character took on the essence of myth. Thinking over Max’s international appeal, Miller concluded that he had been a kind of unwitting instrument of a primordial storytelling impulse 23 – a happy accident explained, in part, by the works of Joseph Campbell, who Miller saw speak in Los Angeles, where he and Kennedy temporarily lived in the wake of the film’s success. 24

Though the commercial and aesthetic potential of violent content is a constitutive part of Miller’s early career, his escalating interest in mythic storytelling superseded it as a core principle. Action cinema, when proficiently made, is exceptionally effective at sweeping the audience up into some sort of non-intellectual experience. Miller saw that a certain kind of storytelling founded in mythic structures could govern this process, especially when it continues to deploy the affective possibilities of montage.

As well as making good on the kinetic potential of the first Max, 1981’s The Road Warrior establishes the narrative template the guides the rest of the series, with Max Rockatansky as antihero outcast who is drawn against his wishes to help a vulnerable group escape the wastelands of post-apocalyptic Australia and re-sow the seeds of civilisation. In more or less overt terms, this is the basic thread of all Miller’s films henceforth.

George Miller

Mad Max 2 aka The Road Warrior

Road Warrior was, for Miller, an opportunity to improve on the errors of the first Max. 25 In the climactic car chase, with Max driving a fuel tanker ahead of the manic forces of Lord Humungus, it’s possible to see his vision of the propulsive affective capacity of montage filmmaking actualised for the first time with some sense of completeness. The effect is, as intended, galvanising. “This is cinema,” as David Stratton later wrote. 26

1985’s Beyond Thunderdome (made after Kennedy’s death, with George Ogilvie as co-director) is, in its own way, another do-over, recreating the basic Max story in a more family-friendly mode redolent of Hollywood epics (Maurice Jarre scored). It is the most explicitly mythic of the Max films, with Rockatansky now identified as a messiah figure. Though produced in Australia, (albeit with international funds), it is the first of Miller’s films to tangibly feel like a Hollywood product. Rumours swirled that the production would be co-directed by Steven Spielberg and funded by Lucas 27 – unsubstantiated, but somehow fitting, given the completed film’s texture. In many ways, these filmmakers are closer peers to Miller than his contemporaries in the Australian New Wave.

“Move the Camera to Follow Their Movements”

Road Warrior had, in fact, caught the attention of Spielberg, who offered Miller a slot in Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983). 28 His entry in this anthology, ‘Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,’ marks his first truly international production. This segment is unquestionably the strongest in the film, and it demonstrates from Miller a new facility with performance. His visual approach is typically robust, but it works closely in tandem with actor John Lithgow, playing a phobic airline passenger who is convinced that a gremlin is attacking the wing of his plane.

Though all of Miller’s work displays an international sensibility, inasmuch as his more plainly American films can be distinguished from his Australian ones, the US films tend to be more actorly pieces. They constitute a kind of discreet period in his career, a duology comprising, after Zone, of The Witches of Eastwick (1987) and Lorenzo’s Oil (1992). Though the Max films made a star of Mel Gibson, their acting is plainly not their strong suit. This is arguably a consequence of Miller’s preoccupation with montage filmmaking, in which performance is subsumed to the director’s visual schema, but it may also reflect a lack of confidence in the quality of Australian screen performance at the time, or in his own ability to direct it. In Los Angeles, after Max, Miller took acting classes, and sought to develop his understanding of performance. 29 The decision to bring on Ogilvie as co-director of Thunderdome (and collaborator in other Kennedy Miller projects) stemmed from his experience working with actors in the theatre. 30 In Eastwick and Oil, Miller eases back on formal control and permits his actors to take the fore.

The Witches of Eastwick stars Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Cher as three lonely women who conjure a devilish suitor, played by Jack Nicholson. The script, by playwright Michael Cristofer, luxuriates in long scenes of seduction and repartee, and Miller consequently allow his cast to set the pace – though, as always, he is plainly thinking through cinematic storytelling in terms of montage, and the plot’s supernatural goings-on are depicted through an extensive program of cross-cutting. It is ostensibly social satire, but Campbellian undercurrents flow throughout, with the women as outcasts who restore harmony by banishing evil.
Miller reteamed with Sarandon on Lorenzo’s Oil, a medical drama about the real-life struggle of Michaela and Augusto Odone (Sarandon and Nick Nolte) to research a treatment for their son, who suffered from an unusual degenerative condition named adrenoleukodystrophy. Miller’s education as a doctor is evident in the film’s measured understanding of medical research. Though it is his only feature that could be described as realist drama, it is nevertheless draped in the same mythic strategies that permeate his work since Max. 31

A 1993 interview for Oil with Filmnews clarifies the formal turn in his American work:

“I like the continuity of one shot scenes (in terms of time and space)…rather than cutting to play out the rhythms of a scene. If you’re working with good actors it allows them more freedom. When you have Sarandon and Nolte who dance together in their performance then you’d be crazy to cut it up into two shots. So you move the camera to follow their movements.” 32

This remark returns to the stylistic perspective of his earlier statement in Cinema Papers, but from the other direction. It suggests, again, the overall surety of Miller’s formal thinking, as well as a certain flexibility. But Oil – containing the fewest shots and the most one-take scenes of his filmography –  is, on the whole, the last of Miller’s films to preference the mise-en-scene style; marking out his American work, strictly defined, as a comparative period of formal relaxation. His next four features, though international (or American) in style and funding, were largely Australia-based enterprises, and they attest to a renewed focus on montage filmmaking – an approach intensified by the adoption of new visual effects technologies.

The New Plasticity

Like Lucas and Spielberg (and other peers such as Robert Zemeckis), Miller became persuaded, through the ‘80s and ‘90s, that digital technologies would hand filmmakers unprecedented control over the production process, and offer new ways to manipulate film images. 33 He even speculated that digital stuntmen would entirely replace humans. 34

The enhanced control over the film image offered by digital effects is a corollary, in principle, to the desire for formal rigour that leads Miller to express himself in montage. Special effects and montage have, in some ways, always been linked, going back to the simple edits that produced illusory effects in the films of Georges Méliès. Digital effects, for Miller, offer new ways to explore the plasticity of the film image – they are an extension of the montage principle.

But these new tools have required substantial technical development, and Miller seems to have been in a position of having to invent, in part, the procedures required to realise his visual ambitions. He had intended to make Babe (Chris Noonan, 1995), but found that the obstacles against depicting a menagerie of talking farm animals onscreen would take too much time and money to surmount. 35 He passed the project over to co-writer Chris Noonan, and the film underwent a lengthy pre-production, as the creative team learned how to bring the effects costs down, as well as how to marshal the processes required to film, animate, and persuasively integrate talking animals into a live action environment. 36 37

George Miller

Babe: Pig in the City

Miller took the reins on the 1998 sequel, Babe: Pig in the City – which incorporated the technical developments undertaken for the first, though increased by a magnitude of complexity. The Happy Feet films were likewise complex undertakings – for the first, Miller spent two and a half years developing a digital ‘pipeline’ for the animation process, 38 which included extensive use of motion capture technology. Miller had become interested in this process after Babe cinematographer Andrew Lesnie showed him the technology being developed for The Lord of the Rings films (2001, 2002, 2003), which he was shooting for Peter Jackson in New Zealand. 39
Motion capture and animation offered Miller an advancement even on the effects heavy Babe in terms of giving him licence to explore the plasticity of cinema: with no need to rely on physical locations (or even physical cameras), and with the ability to manipulate performance through motion capture, a director is given total freedom to exercise their visual imagination (a luxury also explored in mo-cap works by Spielberg and Zemeckis). The Feet films are correspondingly energetic and untethered, and prove a natural extension of Miller’s belief in the musicality of montage. 2011’s Happy Feet Two struggles tangibly to revisit the mythic narrative of the first, and suggests, along with Pig in the City, that the hero-myth is not easily sequelised; a problem the Max series neatly sidesteps by essentially replaying the same drama in each film, with no continuity between them.

“The Closest Thing Australia Has to an Old-Fashioned Hollywood Studio”

Though he partnered with digital firm Animal Logic for the first Feet, Miller co-founded his own, Dr D Studios, for the second, with the ambition to ensure a continuity of work for Australian talent in the burgeoning fields of digital production, 40 along the lines of Jackson’s ‘Wellywood’ in New Zealand. 41 But the necessary slate of work failed to eventuate, and Dr D closed in 2013. 42

Like Jackson, Lucas, and Spielberg, Miller at times seems as much filmmaker as entrepreneur and corporate boss. Kennedy Miller could, for a while, accurately be called the “closest thing Australia has to an old-fashioned Hollywood Studio.” 43 In the 1980s, under the influence of writer-producer Terry Hayes, it made a sequence of successful historical miniseries for Australian television, and oversaw features by its sometime in-house creatives, including Dead Calm (Phillip Noyce, 1989) and The Year My Voice Broke (John Duigan, 1987) – both produced by Miller.

In Australia, scholars debate how to place Miller’s work within the taxonomy of Australian national cinema. 44 45 Though a peer of the ‘new wave’ filmmakers like Peter Weir and Gillian Armstrong, his films do not evince a sense of ‘Australianness’ in the way that, say, Picnic at Hanging Rock (Weir, 1975) or My Brilliant Career (Armstrong, 1979) do. With the patently commercial orientation of his storytelling, and his deployment of blockbuster production schemes (and his close relationships with international studios), there has been a sense that he is more Hollywood – or perhaps ‘transnational’ – than local. 46 47

It is possible to wage, at the level of the text, an ongoing argument about whether his films evince an ‘Australian’ identity. Though the essence of the Max series – the spectacular vehicular mayhem – was borne from Miller’s feeling that Australian ‘car culture’ is the local analogue to American ‘gun culture’, 48 the films themselves are blatant in their embrace of an American style – or an “imperialist” one, as Adrian Martin put it. 49 Internationally, commentators are perhaps freer to endorse Miller’s evident genius, but in Australia the reception of his work more often requires an extended discursive negotiation to determine whether, and on what terms, it can be accepted. 50 51But debates about Miller’s place in the national cinema ought not to disregard his overall influence on the national industry. Like Jackson in New Zealand (though to a much lesser extent) Miller’s commercial clout has made him a big fish in a small pond, and he appears to have taken up a corresponding portion of responsibility for the maintenance of Australian screen culture and industry.

In the early ‘90s, he spearheaded an unsuccessful campaign for the founding of a national cinematheque in Sydney, arguing that a “mature film culture” could only flourish with appropriate archival support. 52 He has also argued publically that government arts custodians have been lax in allowing Australian culture to “shrivel up and die,” and permitting local talent to vanish overseas. 53 54 His 1997 documentary 40,000 Years of Cinema is, in the main, an extended argument as to the importance of Australia’s film industry to its development as a society.

Initiatives like Dr D Studio, and his never-made 2009 superhero film Justice League – which was cancelled shortly after it was refused the producer offset tax rebate from the Australian government – seemed, at least in part, potential contributions to the continuity and stability of Australian screen industry. 55 56

“I Have to See it All in Front of Me”

A recurring publicity narrative, in the lead up to Miller’s triumphant return to the Max franchise with Fury Road, trumpeted the notion that the film’s breakneck action sequences were accomplished largely with practical effects and without the aid of CGI. 57 But lest that suggest a return to some kind of old-fashioned, analogue approach, it is evident, also, that the film was put through an intensive digital rinse – perceivable not least in its eye-popping colour grading. Practically accomplished stunts were simply visual elements to be digitally synthesised into a completed image in post-production. 58

Fury Road feels rather like the culmination of Miller’s career so far – the most exacting expression of the formal sensibility that guided the assembly of the first Max films, mated to the technological expertise of his later work. The narrative stages the prototypical mythic Max story as one near-continuous chase across a desert landscape. Musical elements are given a prominent place in the diegesis this time: the villain Immortan Joe’s mobile army of ‘War Boys’ includes a truck studded with drums and a blind guitar player, the ‘Doof Warrior’, whose heavy riffs urge his fellows into battle (the wonderfully grotesque conceptualisation of supporting characters in Miller works, going back to his time with Kennedy, is worthy of its own investigation).

Dialogue is a recessive element in the film’s schema, placed far behind sound design and visual composition. The film in fact was conceived as something like a 3,500-panel graphic novel, designed by Miller in collaboration with comic book artist Brendan McCarthy. A traditionally formatted screenplay was not assembled until later in production – to the confusion of the film’s actors. 59

The Max films have always prioritised visual storytelling—Miller has said that Road Warrior entered production with something like a thirty-page synopsis and some preliminary drawings 60—and Miller has long relied on storyboards to guide his productions. This preference is intimately linked to his favouring of the montage style. “I have to see it all in front of me’”, he explained to one interviewer, “[t]hat’s the only way I can keep the entire film in my mind and get the musicality right. The boards are like the musical beats you are dealing with, structuring the rhythm of the film.” 61

George Miller

Mad Max: Fury Road

The labour required to execute this vision seems to be (perhaps necessarily) piecemeal – a difficulty as far back as the first Max, with its apparently intransigent crewmembers.  Miller prefers to capture discrete moments rather than film a master shot. 62 He even planned to shoot Fury Road’s extraordinarily complex chase sequences with just a single camera, based on an old rule that if a crew is not relying on the coverage of multiple cameras, the work will be more precise. 63 64

The film was assembled, by editor Margaret Sixel (Miller is her husband), from 480 hours of footage, Miller having acceded to cinematographer John Seale’s suggestion that they use multiple cameras. It took three months just to parse the material. 65 Parts of the film are astonishingly montage-intensive, but without the corresponding incoherence many find in the work of other modern action filmmakers – no doubt a consequence of Miller’s meticulous planning. He instructed Seale to keep all shots centred in focus, so that the audience’s eye line would not be confused as the pace of cutting accelerated. 66 The completed Fury Road contains about 2750 shots, compared to 1200-1300 in each of the first Maxes. 67 68 The increase is enormous, but consistent with Miller’s belief that screen audiences’ ability to process visual information has evolved in step with film style. 69
In another early interview, Miller said that the rhythms of a film should ensure that its audience is never drifting in attention, but rather “continually sucked down a tunnel of emotion.” 70 The pursuit of control over the audience, via rigorous control over film content and style, has essentially been his goal ever since. The mechanisms used to secure that control have never really changed, only become more refined.

It’s not uncommon to remark of great directors that they make the same film over and over again, re-treading over the same intellectual and thematic territory. This is truer of Miller than it is of many. Fury Road is almost certainly the best – or at least the most – of the Max films, and the purest distillation of Miller’s project as a filmmaker. The formal aptitude on display is astonishing, and as interested parties seek to grapple with Miller’s special talents, this will likely be the text to which they turn. Fury Road shows not only that Miller revisits his same favoured obsessions, but that he is capable of perfecting them.

 

Endnotes

  1. George Miller, Interview with Kari Hanet (Oral History, The National Film and Sound Archive, 1990, title no. 380591)
  2. Peter Beilby and Scott Murray, ‘Production Report: Mad Max,’ Cinema Papers 21 (1979): p. 370.
  3. Barbara Samuels, “Dr George Miller: Mephisto in a polka dot tie,” Cinema Canada 93 (February 1983): p. 24.
  4. George Miller, “The Apocalypse and the Pig, or the Hazards of Storytelling” in Second Take: Australian Film-Makers Talk, Raphaele Caputo and Geoff Burton, eds. (St Leonards: Allen & Unwin, 1999), p. 31.
  5. George Miller, Interview with Kari Hanet (Oral History, The National Film and Sound Archive, 1990, title no. 380591).
  6. George Miller, “A Pig Called Max,” The Age, September 13 1996.
  7. George Miller, “The Apocalypse and the Pig, or the Hazards of Storytelling” in Second Take: Australian Film-Makers Talk, Raphaele Caputo and Geoff Burton, eds. (St Leonards: Allen & Unwin, 1999), p. 30.
  8. Adrian Martin, The Mad Max Movies (Strawberry Hills: Currency Press, 2003), p. 12.
  9. Des Partridge, “Doctor Directs Talents to Movie Magic,” Courier Mail, August 7 1996.
  10. Janet Hawley, “The hero’s journey – The epic progress of filmmaker George Miller,” Sydney Morning Herald- Good Weekend, October 14 1995.
  11. Barbara Samuels, ‘Dr George Miller: Mephisto in a polka dot tie,’ Cinema Canada 93 (February 1983): p. 25.
  12. Brook Turner, “Curious George,” Australian Financial Review, April 27 2007.
  13. Babe Press Kit. Kennedy Miller Productions, 1996.
  14. George Miller, Interview with Kari Hanet (Oral History, The National Film and Sound Archive, 1990, title no. 380591).
  15. Ingo Petzke, Philip Noyce: Backroads to Hollywood (Sydney: Pan MacmIllan Australia, 2004), p. 122.
  16. Kevin Childs, “Doctor George Ladles Out Horror,” The Age, April 6 1979.
  17. Susan Dermody and Elizabeth Jacka, The Screening of Australia: Anatomy of a National Cinema Volume 1 (Sydney: Currency Press, 1987), p. 123.
  18. Noel King, and Richard Guilliat, “The Max Factor,” The Age – Good Weekend, December 18 1999.
  19. Keryn Michelle Curtis, “Australian Television and Film: A Case Study of Kennedy Miller” (Honours thesis, Griffith University, 1985), p. 13-15.
  20. Robert Milliken, “Return of Mad Max,” The National Times, July 12 1981.
  21. Unknown, “Mad Max’s Maker: George Miller.” New Farrago, August 9 1979.
  22. Kevin Childs, “Doctor George Ladles Out Horror,” The Age, April 6 1979.
  23.   George Miller, “The Apocalypse and the Pig, or the Hazards of Storytelling” in Second Take: Australian Film-Makers Talk, Raphaele Caputo and Geoff Burton, eds. (St Leonards: Allen & Unwin, 1999), p. 31.
  24. Brook Turner, “Curious George,” Australian Financial Review, April 27 2007.
  25. George Miller, Interviewed by David Stratton (Oral History, National Film and Sound Archive, undated, Title No: 465210).
  26. David Stratton, The Avocado Plantation: Boom and Bust in the Australian Film Industry (Sydney: Pan Macmillan Publishers Australia, 1990), p. 84.
  27. Richard Mortlock, “Who’s who in Mad Max III,” Daily Mirror, May 29 1984.
  28. George Miller, Interviewed by David Stratton (Oral History, National Film and Sound Archive, undated, Title No: 465210).
  29. David Stratton, The Avocado Plantation: Boom and Bust in the Australian Film Industry (Sydney: Pan Macmillan Publishers Australia, 1990), p. 81.
  30. George Ogilvie, Simple Gifts, (Strawberry Hills: Currency House, 2006).
  31. Geraldine O’Brien, “The Doctor and Lorenzo’s Oil,” The New York Times, January 24 1993.
  32. Mary Colbert, “Miller’s Way.” Filmnews 23, 2 (March 1993): p. 5.
  33. George Miller, Interviewed by David Stratton (Oral History, National Film and Sound Archive, undated, Title No: 465210).
  34. Gerald Whateley, “Take Two,” Herald Sun, December 7 1995.
  35. Janet Hawley, “The hero’s journey – The epic progress of filmmaker George Miller,” Sydney Morning Herald- Good Weekend, October 14 1995.
  36. Helen Meredith, “Quirky Babe flies home on the pig’s back,” Financial Review, December 28 1995.
  37. Philip Hearnshaw, Interviewed by Martha Ansara (Oral History, National Film and Sound Archives, 2010, Title No: 803657).
  38. Garry Maddox, “The penguin suite,” Sydney Morning Herald, December 2 2006.
  39. Garry Maddox, “The Celluloid Warrior,” The Age – Good Weekend, April 25 2015.
  40. Unknown, “Song and dance over return of penguins.” Canberra Times, November 17 2008.
  41. Vicky Roach, “It’s Miller’s double dip,” The Daily Telegraph, February 5 2010.
  42. Karl Quinn, “Miller’s dreams for animation studio end up on the cutting room floor,” The Sydney Morning Herald, June 1 2013.
  43. Susan Dermody and Elizabeth Jacka, The Screening of Australia: Anatomy of a National Cinema Volume 1 (Sydney: Currency Press, 1987), p. 207.
  44. Tom O’Regan, Australian National Cinema (London: Routledge, 1996), p. 105-106.
  45. Stuart Cunningham, “Hollywood Genres, Australian Movie” in An Australian Film Reader, Albert Moran and Tom O’Regan, eds. (Sydney: Currency Press, 1985), p. 237.
  46. Desmond Ryan, “George Miller is not typical filmmaker from Australia,” The Salt Lake City Tribune, August 22 1982.
  47. Michel Specter, “Myths Shape Movie From Australia,” The New York Times, August 15 1982.
  48. Peter Page and Tina Kaufman, “Mad Max: another rider of the silver screen,” Filmnews 9, 7 (July 1979): p. 8.
  49. Adrian Martin, The Mad Max Movies (Strawberry Hills: Currency Press, 2003), p. 4.
  50. Stuart Cunningham, “Becalmed,” Filmnews 19, 4 (May 1989): p. 16.
  51. Deb Verhoeven, “Film and Video” in The Media and Communications in Australia, Stuart Cunningham and Graeme Turner, eds. (Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin, 2006), p. 163.
  52. George Miller and David Watson, “A National Cinematheque? George Miller and David Watson describe the dream,” Filmnews 20, 5 (June 1990).
  53. Unknown, “Miller’s Tale: Why Australian drama is in such a state,” Sydney Morning Herald, September 5 2005.
  54. Des Partridge, “Our culture’s getting the flick, says Miller,” Courier Mail, July 27 2001.
  55. Garry Maddox, “Little feet bring film industry back to life,” Sydney Morning Herald, October 10 2008.
  56. Michael Bodey, “Australia would have been superhero of the film world: Miller,” The Australian, May 11 2015.
  57. Mark Yarm, “Mad Max: Fury Road’: The Story Behind Its Most Insane Stunts,” Rolling Stone, May 18 2015, http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/features/mad-max-fury-road-the-story-behind-its-most-insane-stunts-20150518
  58. Kristopher Tapley, “How ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ lured Oscar winner John Seale back behind the camera,” HitFix, May 11 2015, http://uproxx.com/hitfix/how-mad-max-fury-road-lured-oscar-winner-john-seale-back-behind-the-camera/
  59. Meredith Woerner, “The Making Of Mad Max: Fury Road: ‘We Shot One Scene For 138 Days,’” Io9, December 5 2015, http://io9.gizmodo.com/the-making-of-mad-max-fury-road-we-shot-one-scene-fo-1704025550?IR=T
  60. George Miller, Interviewed by David Stratton (Oral History, National Film and Sound Archive, undated, Title No: 465210).
  61. Janet Hawley, “The hero’s journey – The epic progress of filmmaker George Miller,” Sydney Morning Herald- Good Weekend, October 14 1995.
  62. David Stratton, The Avocado Plantation: Boom and Bust in the Australian Film Industry (Sydney: Pan Macmillan Publishers Australia, 1990), p. 83.
  63. Kristopher Tapley, “How ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ lured Oscar winner John Seale back behind the camera,” HitFix, May 11 2015, http://uproxx.com/hitfix/how-mad-max-fury-road-lured-oscar-winner-john-seale-back-behind-the-camera/
  64. Roger Ebert, “It’s bizarre and berserk but it is making money,” Launceston Examiner, August 28 1982.
  65. Garry Maddox, “The Celluloid Warrior,” The Age – Good Weekend, April 25 2015.
  66. Kristopher Tapley, “How ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ lured Oscar winner John Seale back behind the camera,” HitFix, May 11 2015, http://uproxx.com/hitfix/how-mad-max-fury-road-lured-oscar-winner-john-seale-back-behind-the-camera/
  67. Garry Maddox, “The Celluloid Warrior,” The Age – Good Weekend, April 25 2015.
  68. Peter Page and Tina Kaufman, “Mad Max: another rider of the silver screen,” Filmnews 9, 7 (July 1979): p. 9.
  69. Mary Colbert, “Miller’s Way.” Filmnews 23, 2 (March 1993): p. 14.
  70. Unknown, “Mad Max’s Maker: George Miller.” New Farrago, August 9 1979.

About The Author

James Robert Douglas is a freelance writer and critic, and PhD candidate at RMIT University. He is researching the history of Kennedy Miller.