Pallet on the Floor (1984)

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The last novel by Ronald Hugh Morrieson revolves around a freezing plant worker (Peter McCauley) in an interracial marriage. For this little seen movie adaptation, the role of an English remittance man was expanded in an attempt to cast Peter O’Toole (New Zealand-born Bruce Spence got the role). Morrieson’s view of small-town Aotearoa is a dark one, as he explores racism, violence, suicide and blackmail. Bruno Lawrence contributes to Jonathan Crayford’s jazz-tinged score, and features in the wedding band. The freezing works scenes were shot at the defunct plant in Patea.

Director: Lynton Butler.
Writers: Lynton Butler, Ronald Hugh Morrieson (novel), Robert Rising, Martyn Sanderson.
Stars: Bruce Spence, Peter McCauley, Jillian O’Brien, Shirley Gruar, Alistair Douglas, Tony Barry, John Bach, Marshall Napier, Terence Cooper, Bill Derby, Nigel Morris, Wayne Pettett, John Ward, Robin Farmer, Sam Haapu Jnr, Gerard Hipango, Peter Rowley.

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