The Mango Tree (film)

Last updated

The Mango Tree
Directed by Kevin James Dobson
Produced by Michael Pate
Written by Michael Pate
Based onnovel by Ronald McKie
StarringChristopher Pate
Geraldine Fitzgerald
Music by Marc Wilkinson
CinematographyBrian Probyn
Edited byJohn Scott
Pisces Productions
Distributed by Greater Union
Release date
  • 13 December 1977 (1977-12-13)
Running time
104 minutes (Australia)
95 minutes (international)
BudgetA$800,000 [1]
Box officeA$1,028,000 (Australia)

The Mango Tree is a 1977 Australian drama film directed by Kevin James Dobson and starring Geraldine Fitzgerald and Sir Robert Helpmann. Lead actor Christopher Pate is the son of actor Michael Pate who also produced and wrote the film.



The film is about Jamie, a young man in his formative teen years, growing up in rural subtropical town of Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia, set around World War I. Jamie, raised by this grandmother, enjoys his life in "Bundy", until the town's reaction to the insanity of a local preacher leads him to leave his hometown for life in the city.



Michael Pate was a neighbour of Robert McKie, who wrote the novel. Pate optioned it and tried to find a writer to adapt it into a screenplay but ended up doing it himself. The budget was raised from the Australian Film Commission, GUO Film Distributors and the Bundaberg Sugar Company; the latter invested a third of the total sum. The budget was originally $650,000 but production of the film was delayed by 12 months by which time inflation meant it had risen to $800,000. [2]

Michael Pate originally wanted to direct the film himself but the AFC did not want him to write, produce and direct, so insisted he find a director. Pate proposed Michael Lindsay-Hogg, son of Geraldine Fitzgerald, who was unable to do it. Bruce Beresford almost directed until the South Australian Film Corporation, who had the director under contract, intervened and prohibited him from making it. Then in February 1977, two months before shooting was to begin, Pate hired Kevin James Dobson. [2]

Filming took place in the town of Gayndah, Mount Perry and Cordalba as well as Bundaberg. The shoot went for seven weeks starting April and ending in June. [1]


The Mango Tree enjoyed reasonable success, grossing $1,028,000 at the box office in Australia, [3] which is equivalent to $4,728,800 in 2009 dollars.

Critical reaction was muted, with much criticism falling on the performance of Christopher Pate. However film writer Brian McFarlane later wrote that Geraldine Fitzgerald gave "one of the most luminous performances by an actress in Australian film." [4] The movie achieved only limited sales overseas. [5]

Kevin James Dobson later claimed he felt that the script was never quite right and "one or two performances were a little shonky" but that he has great affection for the movie. [6] There are several different edits of the film available, one by Dobson, one by Pate. [6]

See also

Related Research Articles

This is a list of films released in 1994. The top worldwide grosser was The Lion King, becoming the highest-grossing Walt Disney Feature Animation film of all-time, although it was slightly overtaken at the North American domestic box office by Forrest Gump, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Geoffrey Rush Australian actor and film producer

Geoffrey Roy Rush is an acclaimed Australian actor of the stage and screen. He is known for his roles in various films including, his role as Captain Barbossa in the Pirates of the Caribbean films. Rush won an Academy Award for Shine (1996), and was nominated for his performances in Shakespeare in Love (1998), Quills (2000), and The King's Speech (2010). He also appeared in various films including Elizabeth (1998), Les Miserables (1998), Frida (2001), Munich (2005), and The Book Thief (2013).

<i>Long Days Journey into Night</i> Drama play by Eugene ONeill

Long Day's Journey into Night is a drama play in four acts written by American playwright Eugene O'Neill in 1941–42, first published in 1956. The play is widely considered to be his magnum opus and one of the finest American plays of the 20th century. It premiered in Sweden in February 1956 and then opened on Broadway in November 1956, winning the Tony Award for Best Play.

Robert Helpmann Australian dancer, actor, theatre director and choreographer

Sir Robert Murray Helpmann, CBE was an Australian ballet dancer, actor, director and choreographer. After early work in Australia he moved to Britain in 1932, where he joined the Vic-Wells Ballet under its creator, Ninette de Valois. He became one of the company's leading men, partnering Alicia Markova and later Margot Fonteyn. When Frederick Ashton, the company's chief choreographer, was called up for military service in the Second World War Helpmann took over from him while continuing as a principal dancer.

Geraldine Fitzgerald Irish-American actress

Geraldine Mary Fitzgerald was an Irish actress and a member of the American Theater Hall of Fame.

<i>Spawn</i> (1997 film) 1997 film by Mark A.Z. Dippé

Spawn is a 1997 American supernatural superhero film based on the comic book character of the same name. Directed and co-written by Mark A.Z. Dippé, the film stars Michael Jai White in the title role, and is one of the first films to feature an African American actor portraying a major comic book superhero. Spawn depicts the origin story of the title character, beginning with the murder of soldier Al Simmons. He is resurrected as Spawn, the reluctant, demonic leader of Hell's army. He ultimately refuses to lead the army in the war against Heaven and turns away from evil. The film co-stars John Leguizamo and Nicol Williamson in his final film role. Martin Sheen, Theresa Randle, D. B. Sweeney, and Melinda Clarke also star in the film.

Gayndah Town in Queensland, Australia

Gayndah is a town and locality in the North Burnett Region, Queensland, Australia. In the 2016 census, Gayndah had a population of 1,981 people. It is the administrative centre for the North Burnett Region.

Michael Pate television actor

Michael Pate was an Australian actor, writer, director, and World War II army veteran.

<i>Squizzy Taylor</i> (film) 1982 film by Kevin James Dobson

Squizzy Taylor is a 1982 Australian drama film based on the life of Melbourne gangster, Squizzy Taylor, directed by Kevin James Dobson and starring David Atkins, Jackie Weaver and Alan Cassell.

Mass Appeal is a two-character play by Bill C. Davis. The comedy-drama focuses on the conflict between a complacent Roman Catholic pastor and the idealistic young deacon who is assigned to his affluent, suburban parish.

44th Tony Awards

The 44th Annual Tony Awards to honor achievement in Broadway theatre was held on June 3, 1990, at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre and broadcast by CBS television. The hostess was Kathleen Turner.

Ewen Leslie is an Australian stage, film and television actor.

The Ace of Spades is a 1935 British drama film directed by George Pearson and starring Michael Hogan, Dorothy Boyd and Richard Cooper.

<i>The Intruders</i> (1969 film) 1969 film by Lee Robinson

The Intruders is a 1969 Australian film directed by Lee Robinson. It is a spin-off of the popular Skippy the Bush Kangaroo TV series.

<i>The Sopranos</i> (season 4) season of television series

The fourth season of the HBO drama series The Sopranos began airing on September 15, 2002 and concluded on December 8, 2002, consisting of thirteen episodes. The fourth season was released on DVD in region 1 on October 28, 2003.

Demolition is an Australian TV movie.

Image of Death is a 1978 Australian TV movie about a woman who likes to live off other people's money.

<i>The Lad</i> 1935 film by Henry Edwards

The Lad is a 1935 British comedy film directed by Henry Edwards and starring Gordon Harker, Betty Stockfeld and Jane Carr. It was made at Twickenham Studios. The film is based on a novel by Edgar Wallace.

<i>The Tall Stranger</i> (film) 1957 American western film directed by Thomas Carr

The Tall Stranger is a 1957 American western film directed by Thomas Carr and starring Joel McCrea, Virginia Mayo and Barry Kelley. It is based on the novel of the same name by Louis L'Amour.

Kevin James Dobson is an Australian director who worked extensively in film and television.


  1. 1 2 Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper, Australian Film 1900–1977: A Guide to Feature Film Production, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1998 p320
  2. 1 2 David Stratton, The Last New Wave: The Australian Film Revival, Angus & Robertson, 1980 p258
  3. Film Victoria - Australian Films at the Australian Box Office
  4. Brian McFarlane, 'The choice fruit of The Mango Tree (Kevin James Dobson, 1977)', Senses of Cinema, 11 July 2010 accessed 28 September 2012
  5. Peter Beilby & Scott Murray, "Michael Pate", Cinema Papers, May–June 1979 p401
  6. 1 2 Scott Murray, "Kevin Dobson", Cinema Papers, Jan-Feb 1982 p14