Hoodwink (1981)


Recommended by Ralph Mellon

The late John Hargreaves stars here as Martin Stang, a New South Wales bank robber who mixes charm with cunning.

Sentenced to a 20-year jail stretch, he hits on an innovative plan – he feigns blindness in order to get a lighter sentence.

Transferred to a minimum security prison, he is befriended by a Christian lay preacher and his romance-starved wife (Judy Davis, in an early, award-winning role).

Stang plans to use them to further his escape plan – but unexpected consequences set in.

Inspired by the story of a real-life Australian criminal, the film’s structure unluckily veers off a bit into uncertain grounds, and the shoot was allegedly a touch fractious between cast, crew and non-Aussie director, (English) Claude Whatham.

But it’s an enjoyable crime drama and serves as a fine vehicle for the talents of John Hargreaves, displaying just what a good actor he was.

Look out also for a young Geoffrey Rush, in his film debut, as a crooked copper.