Review: ‘Mad as Hell: Peter Finch’

Aussie helmer Robert de Young's docu offers a straightforward, satisfying look at its subject's colorful and frequently troubled life.

The only thesp to posthumously win the actor Oscar is given a long-overdue tribute in “Mad as Hell: Peter Finch.” Taking its title from the famous speech Finch delivered in “Network,” in his final film perf, Aussie helmer Robert de Young’s docu offers a straightforward, satisfying look at its subject’s colorful and frequently troubled life. World preemed at Busan, pic airs Oct. 25 on Aussie feevee outlet Ovation and looks to have strong fest legs.

Born in England and raised in Australia following a bizarre stint in 1920s India with his eccentric grandmother, Finch found fame in Aussie radio and movies before capturing the attention of Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh during the Old Vic’s 1948 tour Down Under. With rich archival material and the illuminating testimony of Finch’s three daughters and first wife, Tamara Tchinarova Finch, de Young effectively checkerboards the actor’s restless private life with his rising stature in pics such as “The Shiralee,” “The Pumpkin Eater,” “Far From the Madding Crowd” and groundbreaking gay-themed drama “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” Tech package is fine.

Mad as Hell: Peter Finch



A Lowlands Media, Screen Australia presentation of a Lowlands Media production in association with Film Victoria. (International sales: Ovation Entertainment, Sydney.) Produced, directed, written by Robert de Young.


Camera (color, DigiBeta-to-HD), Jerry Pass; editor, Leon Burgher; production designer, Donald Lim. Reviewed at Busan Film Festival (Wide Angle, competing), Oct. 8, 2011. Running time: 77 MIN.


Anita Harrison, Tamara Tchinarova Finch, Samantha Finch, Diana Braley-Finch, Barry Norman, Trader Faulkner, Vincent Ball, Peter Thompson, Bill Hunter, Virginia McKenna, Glenda Jackson, Howard Gottfried, Peter Thompson.
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