The Picture Show Man is gently nostalgic. Itís another episodic tale set in Australiaís past about a lovable old man (representing Britain and traditionalism) that has difficulty accepting change, and a younger man (Australia) who must learn to stand on his feet.Director John Power and writer-producer Joan Long make the period setting believable - art direction and costumes are also fine. John Meillon is just right as the showman, and John Ewart entertaining as his pianist. Harold Hopkins from Donís Party plays Meillonís son. Rod Taylor is well cast as Pymís American rival, although he doesnít have a great deal to do. Judy Morris is odd (too old perhaps for the role?) as a flighty dance instructor.
The filmís chief problem is the script. Most Australians probably know nothing about the travelling cinema exhibitors of the silent and early sound era. The backdrop is fascinating, but the screenplay struggles to attach an interesting story to it. Occasionally, The Picture Show Man just seems to run out of steam.A lively score from Peter Best (including a jaunty theme song) helps move the film over the slow patches.