They’re a Weird Mob, Nino Culotta is an Italian immigrant who arrived in Australia with the promise of a job as a journalist on his cousin’s magazine, only to find that when he gets there the magazine’s folded, the cousins done a runner & the money his cousin sent for the fare was borrowed from the daughter of the boss of a local construction firm. So Nino tries to get a job & finishes up … laying bricks. Nino works hard & makes friends with lots of locals, Nino & Kay argue a lot, Nino & Kay fall in love … Kay takes Nino to meet ‘Daddy’ but daddy hates journalists, immigrants and bricklayers (he’s now BOSS of a construction firm). Nino starts to win him over with his charm & determination to marry Kay.
Portrays a different Australia which has long gone
They’re a Weird Mob, A largely accurate portrayal of typical Australian attitudes, lifestyles and aspirations of the era, this movie was a celebration of the country’s easy going and proudly egalitarian spirit. And, even more significantly, as it predates the contrived, heavy handed and deliberately boorish “Ocker” nonsense that came into vogue a bit later, it remains an excellent example of genuine, laid back Aussie humor at its best.
However, looking at it again, all these years later, it now provides a stark reminder of just how much things have changed. Sadly, Australia is no longer quite the same sun drenched “workers paradise” where the average punter could afford a Sydney Harbourside home on little more than a basic wage and buy a crayfish (lobster) for a couple of dollars on a Saturday night. It really was one big endless summer.
An icon of Aussie culture!
The house that Nino built occupied a block in Greenacre, NSW, less than half a mile from where I was living at the time. I must have driven by it thousands of times. Previous prints screened on TV have been abysmal with washed out colour and scratchy images and sound. To see this near-as pristine print (for the most part) was an eye-opener and the scenes of Greenacre, Bankstown and other Sydney locations brought memories flooding back.
The cast of fine supporting actors makes the film worth watching, while the lead actor is simply perfect. One can’t imagine anyone else in the part. The film flags towards the end but generally, it’s great viewing.