Australian Left Review

Article Title

The Lure of Melodrama


Susan Dermody


New Australian Cinema: Sources and Parallels in American and British Film by Brian McFarlane and Geoff Mayer (Cambridge University Press, 1992). Reviewed by Susan Dermody. Recent Hollywood films have begun to show their component parts and workings in plainer view as budgets and blockbusting ambitions escalate. Think of Coppolla’s Dracuh, and Scorsese’s Cape Fear, for instance. The full melodramatic register of everything permissible tonight-mare is there: the relentless bigness of the effects and the affects, the self-conscious play with the audience’s visual memory of hundreds of earlier films in the tradition and, in one case at least, the narrative charge that, once lit, sizzles and snakes through every scene, irresistibly powering the experience.



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