My First Wife

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My First Wife
Promotional poster
Directed by Paul Cox
Produced byPaul Cox
Jane Ballantyne
Written by Bob Ellis
Paul Cox
Starring John Hargreaves
Wendy Hughes
David Cameron
Music byAnn Boyd
Renée Geyer
Cinematography Yuri Sokol
Edited byTim Lewis
Release date
13 September 1984 (1984-09-13)
Running time
96 minutes
BudgetA$690,000 [1]
Box officeA$413,199 (Australia)

My First Wife is a 1984 Australian drama film directed by Paul Cox. The film won several AFI Awards in 1984.

Paulus Henrique Benedictus Cox as Paul Cox, was a Dutch-Australian filmmaker, who has been recognized as "Australia's most prolific film auteur". "Cox's delicate films have been pockmarked with life's uncertainty. Loneliness within relationships is a staple of the Cox oeuvre, too". David Wenham states, "There is no one like Cox.... He is unique, and we need him, and people like him.... He is completely an auteur, because everything you see on the screen, and hear, has got Paul's fingerprints all over it."

The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards, known as the AACTA Awards, are presented annually by the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA). The awards recognise excellence in the film and television industry, including the producers, directors, actors, writers, and cinematographers. It is the most prestigious awards ceremony for the Australian film and television industry. They are generally considered to be the Australian counterpart of the Academy Awards for the U.S. and the BAFTA Awards for the U.K.



The film follows the dissolution of John and Helen's marriage and the aftermath.


John Hargreaves (actor) Australian actor

John William Hargreaves was an Australian actor. He won three Australian Film Institute Awards and was nominated six times.

Wendy Hughes was an Australian actress known for her work in theatre, film and television. Hughes was an award-winning actress. Her career spanned more than forty years and established her reputation as one of Australia's finest and most prolific actors. Her biggest role was in Lonely Hearts, played in 1982. In her later career she acted in Happy New Year along with stars Peter Falk and Charles Durning. In 1993 she played Dr. Carol Blythe, M. E. in Homicide: Life on the Street. In the late 1990s, she starred in State Coroner and Paradise Road.

Anna Maria Monticelli is an Australian actress and screen writer.


The film was based on the breakdown of Cox's marriage. He started writing the script, showed it to Bob Ellis and the two men wrote the screenplay together. (Ellis says they spent a day and a half on it. [2] )

Robert James Ellis was an Australian writer, journalist, filmmaker, and political commentator. He was a student at the University of Sydney at the same time as other notable Australians including Clive James, Germaine Greer, Les Murray, John Bell, Ken Horler, Robert Hughes and Mungo McCallum. He lived in Sydney with the author and screenwriter Anne Brooksbank; they had three children.

The film was shot mostly at a house in Williamstown in Melbourne. [1]


Coir: Members of the Tudor Choristers directed by David Carolane

Christoph Willibald Gluck: "Orpheus & Euridice".

Berliner Symphoniker – Hermann Prey

Conductor – Horst Stein

Joseph Haydn - "Paukenmesse"

Bayerischen Rundfunks Symphony Orchestra & Chorus

Conductor – Rafael Kubelik, Polygram

Ann Boyd - "As I crossed a Bridge of Dreams", "Cycle of love", Faber Music Ltd.

Carl Orff - "Carmine Burana"

Czech Philarmonic Orchestra & Chorus, Conducted by Vaclev Smetacek, Supraphon

Rene Geyer - "Hot Minuets", Mushroom Records, Australia

Renée Geyer Australian singer

Renée Rebecca Geyer is an Australian singer who has long been regarded as one of the finest exponents of jazz, soul and R&B idioms. She had commercial success as a solo artist in Australia, with "It's a Man's Man's World", "Heading in the Right Direction" and "Stares and Whispers" in the 1970s and "Say I Love You" in the 1980s. Geyer has also been an internationally respected and sought-after backing vocalist, whose session credits include work with Sting, Chaka Khan, Toni Childs and Joe Cocker.

Frans Sussmayr - "Grandfather's Birthday Celebration", Hungarian Radio Children's Chorus, Budapest Symphony Orchestra, Conductor – Laszlo Csanyl

Box office

My First Wife grossed $413,199 at the box office in Australia, [3] which is equivalent to $1,049,525 in 2009 dollars.


My First Wife won in 1984 AFI Awards in the Best Actor in a Lead Role (John Hargreaves), Best Director (Paul Cox), Best Original Screenplay (Paul Cox, Bob Ellis) categories and was nominated in 4 more categories. Paul Cox also won the 1986 Grand Prix award at the Flanders International Film Festival in 1986. [4]

See also

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  1. 1 2 David Stratton, The Avocado Plantation: Boom and Bust in the Australian Film Industry, Pan MacMillan, 1990 p99-100
  2. Interview with Bob Ellis, 13 August 1996 accessed 14 October 2012
  3. Film Victoria - Australian Films at the Australian Box Office Archived 25 November 2010 at WebCite
  4. IMDb awards