Marking time in the Barry McKenzie films' music

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Coyle, R & Hannan, MF 2005, 'Marking time in the Barry McKenzie films' music', Screening the Past: Popular Music and Film, no. 18.


This article examines aspects of the music of the Barry McKenzie films directed by Bruce Beresford (The adventures of Barry McKenzie, 1972, and Barry McKenzie holds his own, 1974), with particular regard to the ways in which the music places the films in a set of historical contexts. First, the music composed by former advertising songwriter Peter Best, reflects a particular approach to film music associated with the revival of the Australian film industry. Second, performance numbers in each film can be heard in the context of collections of sea shanties and bush ballads. The bawdy nature of the songs (performed by the McKenzie character played by entertainer Barry Crocker) differentiates the songs from those most commonly collected and suggests a complex model of Australian masculinity. Third, the film cues exploit Western film scoring approaches and techniques based upon musical 'imagery'.

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