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The Getting of Wisdom (1977)

Not Rated | | Drama | 25 August 1977 (Australia)
Oscar-nominated director Bruce Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy, Tender Mercies) crafts a tender coming-of-age tale that introduces one of Australian literature's most beloved characters to ... See full summary »

Director:

Bruce Beresford

Writers:

Eleanor Witcombe (screenplay), Henry Handel Richardson (from the novel by)
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1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Julia Blake ... Isabella Shepherd
Dorothy Bradley Dorothy Bradley ... Miss Hicks
Kay Eklund Kay Eklund ... Mrs. Rambotham
Max Fairchild ... Mr. O'Donnell
Jan Friedl Jan Friedl ... Miss Snodgrass
Diana Greentree Diana Greentree ... Maisie Shepherd
Maggie Kirkpatrick Maggie Kirkpatrick ... Sarah
Monica Maughan Monica Maughan ... Miss Day
Candy Raymond Candy Raymond ... Miss Zielinski
Terence Donovan Terence Donovan ... Tom McNamara
Kerry Armstrong ... Kate
Celia De Burgh Celia De Burgh ... M.P.
Kim Deacon Kim Deacon ... Lilith
Alix Longman ... Chinky
Jo-Anne Moore Jo-Anne Moore ... Tilly
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Storyline

Oscar-nominated director Bruce Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy, Tender Mercies) crafts a tender coming-of-age tale that introduces one of Australian literature's most beloved characters to the screen, Laura Tweedle Rambotham (Susannah Fowle). Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

From Henry Handel Richardson's immortal best seller See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Australia

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 August 1977 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

A bölcsesség elnyerése See more »

Filming Locations:

Ballarat, Victoria, Australia See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was selected to screen at the Director's Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival in May 1978. See more »

Quotes

Lilith: [Laura enters her assigned bedroom in the school and meets Lilith Gordon, who spies Laura holding a cake tin, which Lilith grabs and opens and sees glace cherries on the cake. She commences to eat them] Ohh, scrummy!
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Making 'Weekend of Summer Last' (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

Kinderszenen Op. 15, No. 1 Von Fremden Ländern Und Menschen
(uncredited)
Music by Robert Schumann
See more »

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User Reviews

wisdom from opportunity
9 November 2001 | by petershelleyauSee all my reviews

This film directed by Bruce Beresford is like the underbelly of fellow Australian Peter Weir's 1975 Picnic at Hanging Rock, also set in a turn of the century ladies college, but while Weir's title is all romantic lyricism, Beresford goes for lowbrow comedy. Beresford's out to show how schoolgirls are just as cruel as schoolboys by placing a fish-out-of-water into their "well-bred" environment. Of course, it's no surprise that the impoverished heroine Laura is far more civilised than the other girls. That is, until she learns that the "wisdom" to be got is being an opportunist. Pauline Kael put it best when she wrote "what she learns is the principle of contagion - that you get close to the powerful, so that their power can rub off on you, and stay clear of the helpless and weak, so their failure won't infect you". Such is the rewards of finishing schools. Beresford even gives us a freeze-frame close-up of Laura with over-bite begging for acceptance. He isn't interested in presenting these girls as beautiful or sensuous, and deliberately shows their facial pimples and awkward bodies. Even the suggestion of lesbianism in Laura's relationships with 2 girls are diffused by making one fat and expelled (for stealing from the others to buy a ring for Laura), and the other a rich older student, who cradles Laura in bed like a mother. The female staff are also grotesques - Sheila Helpmann as the schoolmistress wears an unwavering look of disdain, though when she drops it at Laura's graduation, we get a laugh, and Beresford undercuts the sight of floating black swans that Laura feeds by having them bleet loudly. The film works the best with Beresford's use of Laura's piano playing, when he edits to his comic routines, but he unfortunately indulges Barry Humphries as the school's minister in a long monologue where he denounces the thieving friend.


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