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Memento : Issue 31
1975 was International Women’s Year. To mark the occasion, the Australian Government funded projects to encourage women’s creativity, reduce discrimination and change attitudes. Records from 1975 became publicly available on 1 January this year, and reveal stories from the making of a classic Australian film, the problem of ‘suburban neurosis’, and public reaction to a controversial American feminist. It is 30 years since the release of the film Caddie. It tells the story of a woman who, having taken her children and left her unfaithful husband, finds work as a barmaid. Set in the 1920s and 1930s, the film was based on the autobiography of a Sydney barmaid. The film’s screenwriter, Joan Long, called it the first Australian Women’s Lib feature film. The Australian Government invested $50,000 to help get the film made. Members of the International Women’s Year National Advisory Committee were no doubt encouraged by the comments of independent assessors, who praised Joan Long’s script for its uncompromising, anti-sentimental quality and claimed it as a welcome change from the usual ‘hackneyed story lines’. A film distributor commended the script as ‘never trite or ocker’. In her application for International Women’s Year funding, Joan Long described a trend of machismo in Australian movies of the time, such as Barry Mackenzie, Alvin Purple, Remembering International Women’s Year Caddie scriptwriter Joan Long praised Helen Morse’s performance as the lead character: ‘Watching her you always have the impression of a sharp mind and inner strength’. NAA:A6180,21/6/76/23 MEMENTO WINTER 06 3