Production company: Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Budget: low, telemovie
Locations: Sydney, including airport, regional areas New South Wales
Filmed: 1984. Listed as awaiting release in the July 1984 Production Survey of Cinema Papers, with a release date of June 1984
Australian distributor: ABC
Australian release: the film was one of six telemovies produced by the 1984 for its ABC season, and was the last released in a Sunday night movie slot on 2nd September 1984. The shows were introduced by actress Wendy Hughes.
Running time: 83 minutes (ABC), 80 mins (VHS slick), 86 minutes (NFSA, 16mm print), 85 minutes (Harrison,Tony, Australian Film and TV Companion)
Box Office: n/a, telemovie
Penguin award, best telemovie script (cited in Robyn Davidson's CV)
The film was released by the ABC on VHS, with Festival Records distributing, but clearly few copies were sold and this release is now extremely rare. One version had open captioning for the hearing impaired.
The film is still available via the Australian library network on VHS, details via Trove here.
It can also possibly be acquired from ABC Content Sales, where it is listed here, but one-off orders for home use are not the easiest or the most inexpensive way to access ABC product.
The telemovie was one of six commissioned by the then Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in 1984.
The other five were White Man's Legend (writer Wal Cherry, producer Michael Carson, director Chris Nottage), Man of Letters, (Alma de Groen adapting the Glen Tomasetti novel, producer/director Chris Thomson), Kindred Spirits (writer Patricia Johnson), Crime of the Decade (writer Michael Cove) and Every Move She Makes (writer Catherine Millar).
Robyn Davidson was at the time already well known as a writer, having in 1978 published an article in National Geographic about a six month camel ride from Alice Springs to the west coast of Australia, which she then turned into the book Tracks, published in 1980.
Davidson would repeat the idea for Tracks by travelling between 1990 and 1992 with a caste of pastoral nomads, the Rabari, through north west India, which would see her experiences turn into the book Desert People.
After a number of attempts, the book Tracks has been turned into a feature film directed by John Curran, starring Mia Wasikowska, wiki here. The adaptation was done by Marion Nelson.
The telemovie Mail-Order Bride originally had a working title of A Bride for All Reasons, a reference to a report prepared for the Commonwealth Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs in 1982, titled A Bride for all reasons: report on a pilot survey of Filipino brides.
2. Creative Team:
The film was part of a package of 6 telemovies produced in the ABC, the public broacaster funded by the Australian government, at a time when the network was gingerly finding its way forward in relation to producing its own drama content.
This was a substantial commitment of funds, and indicates the way the national broadcaster - still saturated with BBC drama - was belatedly trying to catch up with "one-off" shows and with the Australian film revival.
Typically, the six shows were packaged with a presenter - actress Wendy Hughes - who introduced each film to the audience, for fear that viewers might be startled by stepping outside a serial/series format.
DOP Julian Penney had been an ABC in-house cameraman, who would later go on to work on features such as Travelling North, and The Everlasting Secret Family, while in-house producer Michael Carson would later work as a freelance director as well as producer, mainly in television (he directed the feature film version of the ABC actioner Police Rescue).
Director Stephen Wallace worked extensively in feature films and television, but his career would eventually suffer a set-back with the production of the expensive flop Turtle Beach in 1992.