Pallet on the Floor

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Pallet on the Floor
Directed byLynton Butler
Produced by Larry Parr
Written by Ronald Hugh Morrieson (novel)
Martyn Sanderson (screen) &
Lynton Butler, Robert Rising
Starring Bruce Spence
Marshall Napier
John Bach
Bruno Lawrence
Terence Cooper
Peter Rowley
Ian Watkin
Music by Bruno Lawrence (musical director & composer)
Jonathan Crayford & Barry Johnstone (composer-arrangers)
CinematographyKevin Hayward
Release date
Running time
88 min.

Pallet on the Floor is a 1986 New Zealand made drama/comedy, based on the final novel by Ronald Hugh Morrieson. Shot in 1983 at Patea, partly in a closed-down abattoir, the film was given limited release in New Zealand three years later.


The main role of abattoir worker Sam Jamieson is played by veteran actor Peter McCauley.

Pallet on the Floor is the only feature film directed by Lynton Butler, who earlier made One of those Blighters, a television production which fictionalised Morrieson's life.

Actor and musician Bruno Lawrence contributed to the jazz score, and has a small cameo role playing Morrieson as a bass player at a wedding.

The focus of the plot was shifted to the character of the British remittance man in the hope that Peter O’Toole would take the role. This did not occur. While billed as comedy, the film depicts 1960s racism and class divisions, and maintains Morrieson's trademark preoccupations .... of sex, death, mateship, voyeurism, violence, booze and mayhem in bleak small town New Zealand. [1]


Life was hard enough for Sam Jamieson without Jack Voot's lechery and Miriam Breen's jealousy. Then life at Kurikino erupted into a sensation of murder and blackmail, turning his life into a nightmare from which the efforts of Tinny Entwistle, Gigglejuice Saunders and the Remittance Man could not save him. But Spud McGhee had an idea .... . Sam never gets round to working on his cottage, he goes to the Brian Boru the only hotel in Kurikino, run by Amos Blennerhasset. Wife Sue is pregnant. Sam works at 'the big slaughter-house across the bridge at the foot of the hill' known as 'the Works'. [2]


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  1. New Zealand Film 1912-1996 by Helen Martin & Sam Edwards p121 (1997, Oxford University Press, Auckland) ISBN   019 558336 1
  2. Publisher’s blurb on the back cover of the 1976 novel