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Before he went off the rails, Mel was the too-pretty-to-be-ruggedly handsome Aussie import.  He’s now gray, and the years of smoking and drinking have caught up with him, not to mention the immediacy of a shitstorm when your ex uploads you losing it on tape.

He looks sheepish and apologetic now, but in his youth no one was more entrancing.  He was tall, dark, tan with deep emerald eyes that always seemed to be searching.

Random?  Yes, he’s not known as a trendsetter, but he’s been doing some speaking engagements around town, and I’ve been watching “Downton Abbey,” and they’re in WWI right now, and it made me think of “Gallipoli” which made me think of Mel and what a stunner he was.

“Gallipoli,” directed by Peter Weir, 1981, is the heart-wrenching story of two young Australian men who join the WWI effort in Turkey.  The Australians battle the German allied Turks in the battle at Gallipoli, later known for the immense number of casualties suffered by Britain and its allies.  The loss was a sobering, bloody, reality of the price of war to the ANZAC (Australia New Zealand Army Corps) and the people of those young nations.

Curiously, there is no Costume Designer credited.  They did a bang up job.  Watching it again, there is lots of great styling details for you to use.

The credits from IMDB:

Phil Eagles …. stand-by wardrobe
Graham Purcell …. assistant wardrobe coordinator
Terry Ryan …. wardrobe coordinator
Abdel Sameeh …. wardrobe assistant: Egypt

The first half is in dusty western Australia. Lots of great woven shirt inspiration.

I love the two stripes on this one. Layers and braces (suspenders, the ones you button, not clip.)

Lots of great dusty, pastel, striped wovens. Archie, the sprinter, at right.

Bandanas and vests.

There's Mel.

I love the bright, patterned bandana, against his dark coat. Archie's uncle, a world-class sprinter in his own day. He also represents the nation, and Archie the unlimited potential of its youth.

He always looks like he's up to somethin'. The cap tipped just so, the cigarette.

I can see why Mark Lee was cast. Very fresh-faced and representative of innocence.

Gosh, they're cute. Even dirty and confused-looking.

Nice and cleaned up.

Love the patterned bandana.

More caps and vests.

In the trenches.

War games are over. They hear the sounds of real battle. I'm sure Weir chose sundown to signify that lives are about to end.

Weir uses a lot of mirroring in this film.  Archie trains on a field as a young man, dies on a battlefield a man.  Track uniform, to military uniform.  The men train for battle in the shadow of the Sphinx in Egypt.  They die at Gallipoli in the shadow of a rock formation called the Sphinx.  Archie’s cattle rancher hat, to Archie’s Light Brigade hat. Racing for sport, to racing for your life and the lives of others, Archie’s chest out crossing-the-finish-line pose, to Archie chest-out-dying pose.

Leading up to this shot, Weir tracks Archie sprinting, echoing his training at the beginning with his uncle. Right before he charges, he gives himself a pep talk. The same one his uncle gives him at the beginning. It serves to both give Archie the adrenaline boost, and to also remind him and us of his home. He should be home training to be an Olympic athlete, not about to charge into a wall of machine gun fire without a snowball's chance in hell of surviving. Weir shoots Archie from the side, running for the "finish" line. He is gunned down, arms go up. From the front it could easily look like a Christ pose, but Weir is too tasteful for that. Archie is not a martyr for a religious cause. He is a casualty of the insanity of war. Weir ends the film on this freeze frame. This says it all. Your country's best and brightest young men, sent to die, for what?

The irony is that the military only takes healthy men.  WWI devastated all participating nations.  No country was left untouched from heavy loss of life.  Where would this world be today if these courageous men didn’t die?  What inventions and innovations never came to pass?

Weir is a master of economy and impact.  The least amount of words, no scene too long, for maximum impact.  I am a puddle.  I cannot bear the ending.

“The Road Warrior,” 1981, came on the heels of the underground success of “Mad Max.”  Both take place in the dusty post-apocalyptic, leather daddy future.  George Miller’s argument for weaning ourselves off oil dependence?

Leathered up.


I think this movie is in the closet.

Norma Moriceau’s bondage-y costumes were eye-opening and unique to say the least, for the hyper-macho, violence buffet that’s served here.

“The Year of Living Dangerously,” 1982, Peter Weir’s tropical drama puts an ever-glistening Mel in the midst of political turmoil and a romantic triangle.  Costume Design by Terry Ryan.

Mid 60's suit will have to go.

Those aviators can stay.

Ah, that's better.

Love the pleat with vent in the back.

Man, he was handsome.

Even the poster is stylish and sexy. A throwback to vintage suspense thrillers.

Peter Weir is great at slow, taut, tension.  And Linda Hunt earned every ounce of Academy gold for her portrayal of Billy Kwan, a half-Chinese man.  She was a woman playing a man.  Maybe this sets a precedent of sorts for Glenn Close who plays a woman pretending to be a man in “Albert Nobbs” for this year’s Oscar race.

Dang, he was busy in the early 80’s!  I think he looked the best in these.  I hope he gets the help he needs and gets back to making great films.