This film reveals the complex and contradictory woman behind the controversial public
persona of elder stateswoman of Australian literature – for Dorothy’s colourful life was, as
Robert Adamson states, a ‘rough draft for her work.
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Filming took place on location in the wheat country of Wickepin where Dorothy grew up; the wild
coastline of Albany where she spent her childhood holidays; the Regal Cinema in Subiaco
which her grandfather owned and which was to have a lasting effect on Dorothy’s depiction of
women in her work; the slums and factories of Redfern where she received a bitter education in
politics and love which led her to cease writing for nine years (the exception being the
narration for a rarely seen black and white documentary about Communist newspapers which
is included in the film); and the house in Darlinghurst where it may be said that all of Dorothy’s
fantasies about being a woman and a writer came true.
Dorothy gives us her frank and often wry views on life and love, and on the processes she has
undergone as a writer and as a woman who has in her opinion, been somewhat misrepresented
by the public and the critics, in a theatrical setting against a backdrop of rear projected slides of
Dorothy in her various personas at different stages of her life. Some of the final scenes in the
film were shot at the house in the Blue Mountains where Dorothy continues to write and “‘rage
against the dying of the light”.
Other facets of Dorothy are revealed through the frequently pithy comments of friends and
colleagues such as actor/director Graeme Blundell, writer Bob Ellis, poet Robert Adamson,
husband Merve Lilley, writer/son Tom Flood and litiginous ex-husband Lloyd Davies.
Directed by Jackie McKimmie.
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