Cover image for The films of Peter Weir
The films of Peter Weir
Rayner, Jonathan (Jonathan R.)
Publication Information:
London ; New York : Cassell, 1998.
Physical Description:
228 pages ; 23 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1998.3.W44 R39 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Peter Weir is, without doubt, one of the most important Australian film directors of all time. His films have had a major impact, both in terms of the Australian film industry (Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Cars That Ate Paris, and Gallipoli) and as the work of an innovative auteur working within the confines of the Hollywood system (Witness, Dead Poets Society, Fearless, and The Truman Show). This fully revised and updated edition of Jonathan Rayner's acclaimed study takes an in-depth look at the career of a filmmaker who has, over the course of 30 years, put together a substantial and much-loved body of work. Rayner illustrates how Peter Weir brings a consistent vision to his films, no matter how disparate their subject matter - and how he uses his 'outsider' status in the American film industry to his advantage. The release of Weir's new movie, a sea-faring epic starring Russell Crowe, in? 2003, will likely heighten his status as a great director still further.

Author Notes

Jonathan Rayner teaches in the Department of English Literature at the University of Sheffield

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

In his academic analysis of Peter Weir's work, including Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975), Gallipoli (1981), Witness (1985), and Dead Poets Society (1989), Rayner (English/media studies, Univ. of Wales) explains how the Australian director has forged a distinctive voice by merging European art film style with Hollywood genre conventions. Rayner's examination of Weir's short films and 13 features (The Truman Show, the 14th, is referenced but was apparently released after the book was completed) leads him to conclude that Weir's work illustrates "a consistent range of themes: liberty and repression, youth and innocence against age and disillusioned knowledge, clashes of culture and the celebration of unique but unpredictable and inexpressible personal experience." Rayner also explores the rebirth of Australian film, which like many other national cinemas was overwhelmed by Hollywood after World War I. His fluency in film history makes this particularly suitable for informed readers.‘Kim R. Holston, American Inst. for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters, Malvern, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Rayner (English and media studies, Univ. of Wales) has written an adequate academic study of the films of Weir, a leading figure in the Australian film revival in the 1970s. In Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Last Wave, and Gallipoli, Weir moved beyond the limitations of period, horror, and war genres to create personal works in the European tradition of the art film. After moving to Hollywood, he continued to make films that expressed his personal vision--e.g., Witness and The Truman Show (which is not discussed because the book was written before the film was released). Weir's early documentaries, short films, and the ATN7 Television Christmas Revue films are not discussed because they were not available for screening. Rayner uses close textual and structural analysis to discuss Weir's films. He provides no pictures other than a photograph of Weir on the cover. Best suited for upper-division and graduate students. W. K. Huck emeritus, Idaho State University

Table of Contents

Peter Weir
Prefacep. 1
Introductionp. 3
1. Michael (1971), Homesdale (1971), and The Cars That Ate Paris (1974)p. 25
2. Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975/1998)p. 59
3. The Last Wave (1977) and The Plumber (1979)p. 89
4. Gallipoli (1981) and The Year of Living Dangerously (1982)p. 119
5. Witness (1985) and The Mosquito Coast (1986)p. 153
6. Dead Poets Society (1989) and Green Card (1990)p. 191
7. Fearless (1993) and The Truman Show (1998)p. 227
Conclusion: The Far Side of the Worldp. 259
Filmographyp. 269
Bibliography: Booksp. 273
Bibliography: Articlesp. 278
Indexp. 281