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The Devil's Playground (1976)

Fred Schepisi's film, 'The Devil's Playground' is an intimate portrait of Tom, a thirteen-year-old struggling in spirit and body with the constraints of living in a Catholic seminary. It is... See full summary »

Director:

Fred Schepisi

Writer:

Fred Schepisi (screenplay)
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6 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Charles McCallum Charles McCallum ... Brother Sebastian
John Frawley John Frawley ... Brother Celian
Arthur Dignam Arthur Dignam ... Brother Francine
Nick Tate ... Brother Victor
Peter Cox Peter Cox ... Brother James
Jonathan Hardy ... Brother Arnold
Gerry Duggan Gerry Duggan ... Brother Hanrahan
Thomas Keneally Thomas Keneally ... Father Marshall
Sheila Florance ... Mrs.Sullivan
Simon Burke ... Tom Allen
John Diedrich John Diedrich ... Fitz
Alan Cinis Alan Cinis ... Waite
Richard Morgan Richard Morgan ... Smith
Rowan Currie Rowan Currie ... Casey
Gary Pixton Gary Pixton ... Tomkin
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Storyline

Fred Schepisi's film, 'The Devil's Playground' is an intimate portrait of Tom, a thirteen-year-old struggling in spirit and body with the constraints of living in a Catholic seminary. It is also the story of the Brothers and how they cope with the demands of their faith. Written by hawkeye

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

So many heartbreaking things are done in the name of God See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Australia

Language:

English

Release Date:

October 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Devil's Playground See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

AUD300,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Seminary scenes were filmed at Werribee Park Mansion, which had served as a seminary (Corpus Christi Catholic College) for 50 years, and had closed only two years prior to the movie's filming. See more »

Connections

Featured in Century of Cinema: 40,000 years of dreaming (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

Satisfying, more than decent film
2 January 2002 | by SpleenSee all my reviews

There's one piece of inspired casting: Tom Kenneally (who looks like a jolly monk) as the visiting priest who looks like a jolly monk. Kenneally isn't an actor. (He's an Australian writer, best known overseas as the author of "Schindler's Ark", retitled "Schindler's List" in the US.) In fact, a non-actor suits the part well: like Kenneally, the priest arrives at the school performing his priest act competently but without polish. Like Kenneally, his native charm shines through, even when he's giving an appalling speech about Hell. You find yourself wondering: is he REALLY serious? And you have no way of telling.

That's all that's truly inspired about Schepisi's film. The story takes place at some kind of young-priests-to-be training college, only for a long time it looks as though there is no story at all: instead we get slice after slice of life, and it's a while before we can tell all the characters apart and work out which ones we're meant to be following. Telling a story in this way requires razor precision; every single scene must be inherently interesting AND perfectly crafted. No scene (with one possible exception) is. On the other hand, no scene really falls down, either. This is the kind of reasonably absorbing movie (after the initial boring bits) that's well worth the time it takes to watch - i.e., an hour and a half. (And it's even worth the time spent thinking about afterwards.) There's a difference between satisfaction and pleasure; a film like this is satisfying, and ... well, not UNpleasant. If only the title didn't promise something BIG.


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