Kitty and the Bagman

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Kitty and the Bagman
Directed by Donald Crombie
Produced by Anthony Buckley
Screenplay byJohn Burnley
Philip Cornford
Music by Brian May
Cinematography Dean Semler
Distributed byUmbrella Entertainment
Release date
BudgetA$2.5 million (est) [1] [2]
Box officeA$58,407 (Australia) [3]

Kitty and the Bagman is a 1983 Australian film about gangsters in the 1920s. It was based on the rivalry of Kate Leigh and Tilly Devine.



Kitty O'Rourke arrives in Australia as a war bride. Her husband is arrested by a Sydney policeman known as the bagman. This leads Kitty to a life of crime and a rivalry with another female criminal.



Several of the cast had been in Prisoner. [4] [5]

Most of the film was shot on sets at the Mort Bay studios in Balmain. Filming started November 1981. [6] The set was auctioned off afterwards. [7]

During filming a visit was paid to the set by then-treasurer John Howard and then-Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser. The film was completed in 1982 but its release was held back a year. [1]

Director Donald Crombie looked back on the film with mixed emotion:

That probably shouldn't have been made. It was a bit of an aberration. That only got made because we were flush with funds. That was when it became ridiculously easy to make films... There were better things we should have been doing with our time. [8]


Reviews were mixed. [9]

Home media

Kitty and the Bagman was released on DVD by Umbrella Entertainment in October 2011. The DVD is compatible with all region codes. [10]

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  1. 1 2 David Stratton, The Avocado Plantation: Boom and Bust in the Australian Film Industry, Pan MacMillan, 1990 p37-38
  2. "Boom crashes as industry gets bad name with fly-by-night doctors". Filmnews . New South Wales, Australia. 1 September 1981. p. 4. Retrieved 28 May 2020 via Trove.
  3. "Australian Films at the Australian Box Office", Film Victoria Archived 9 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine accessed 24 October 2012
  4. "[?]adies of the Sydney Push". The Australian Women's Weekly . Australia. 3 February 1982. p. 93. Retrieved 28 May 2020 via Trove.
  5. "'Bea' in a fur coat Actress admits 'rather envying' character". The Canberra Times . Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 3 August 1981. p. 1. Retrieved 28 May 2020 via Trove.
  6. Production details at Oz Movies
  7. "Make-believe street is up for auction". The Australian Women's Weekly . Australia. 25 November 1981. p. 22. Retrieved 28 May 2020 via Trove.
  8. "Interview with Donald Crombie", Signet, 18 December 1998 Archived 9 December 2012 at accessed 16 November 2012
  9. "Critical receptions". Filmnews . New South Wales, Australia. 1 March 1983. p. 16. Retrieved 28 May 2020 via Trove.
  10. "Umbrella Entertainment" . Retrieved 4 May 2013.