Episode 43: Other Halves (1984)

In our final episode of 2017 we watch Other Halves, a “dangerous love story” from novelist Sue McCauley and director John Laing. With McCauley adapting her own story for the screen and Laing having proved his directing chops with Beyond Reasonable Doubt, Other Halves looks like it has all the ingredients for a successful drama but commercial compromises threaten to send it off the rails. Hayden and L.J. sit down to discuss a movie that turns out to be more bizarre than either of them could have expected.

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Director: John Laing
Producers: Tom Finlayson, Dean Hill
Screenplay: Sue McCauley, adapted from her novel Other Halves
Director of photography: Leon Narbey
Editor: Harley Oliver
Music: Don McGlashan

Liz…Lisa Harrow
Tug…Mark Pilisi
Michael…Fraser Stephen-Smith
Ken…Paul Gittins
Aileen…Clare Clifford
Tony…Temuera Morrison


    • Other Halves is not the easiest film to see, having never been released on any digital format. If you live in New Zealand you can rent a VHS copy from the indispensable Aro Video (they offer a home delivery service). Otherwise your best bet is scouring auction sites for second-hand copies – the most likely source is probably Australia.
    • The Auckland Metro article cited in this episode is from the February 1985 issue. Here’s a telling excerpt we didn’t have time to discuss in the podcast: “The police didn’t believe it was legitimate that the kids were being driven around in a Honda Accord by Pat Hammond. In the end they had to be given a letter saying they were employed by a company making a feature film and that they would be in costume, around town, at all hours, day and night. It was like having a leave pass. They were young, black and in a smart car, stoppable, a target for suspicion.”
    • John Laing’s ScreenTalk interview offers some good insights into how he approached the production, and how he feels about the end result.
    • Think the production design in Other Halves can’t be as ridiculous as we make it sound? See for yourself:

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