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Running Time: 27 minutes
Cast: JP MacGowan, Helen Holmes
Showtime: Monday, April 23, 2012 @ 07:10 PM
Director: Matthew Bate
Description: The story of Australia’s J.P ‘Jack’ McGowan plays like a Hollywood script. An epic romance set against the birth of cinema featuring high adventure, war, fame and great love won and lost. J.P was one of Hollywood’s first stunt directors, who with his wife and on-screen daredevil Helen Holmes, paved the way for the action-adventure blockbusters we know today. Long before ‘Brangelina’ it was Jack and Helen who ruled Hollywood’s silver screens.
Screening as part of: Marin Filmmakers
Attending: Shirley Freitas, great-granddaughter of Helen Holmes and JP McGowan
The story of Australia’s J.P ‘Jack’ McGow an plays like a Hollywood script. An epic romance set against the birth of cinema featuring high adventure, war, fame and great love w on and lost. J.P w as one of Hollywood’s first stunt directors, w ho with his wife an don-screen daredevil Helen Holmes, paved the w ay for the action-adventure blockbusters we know today. Long before ‘Brangelina’ it w as Jack and Helen w ho ruled Hollywood’s silver screens.
Jack McGow an was born in the small railway town of Terowie in South Australia. He had been a sailor, stock man, a Boer war hero and an actor before he stumbled into the embryonic film industry in 1912. Jack w as dubbed the ‘Railroad Man’ due to his specialization in producing railway themed films, which set the conventions of the action blockbuster genre. His career holds a mirror up to a time w hen the movies w ere growing up, when the language and cinema w as being written and w hen rules had yet to be fixed.
At the heart of Stunt Love is of course a love story. Jack’s life in the movies w as founded on his relationship with wife and ‘leading lady’ Helen Holmes. Jack’s creative zenith w as at its peak during his 13-year relationship with this equally dynamic woman. As Hollywood’s first stunt woman Helen w as brave and tough, a collaborator willing to risk life and limb to get the best stunt scene. The couple formed a creative partnership like no other in film history. It w as a relationship based around extreme danger and relentless filmmaking.
As a director Jack w as a pioneer of technology, of editing and sequence construction. He forged new rules and created cinema iconography such as the damsel tied to the railway line. And Helen Holmes broke new ground as a modern woman, leaping from trains, fistfighting bad guys and righting wrongs. She became one of the most famous icons of early-serialized cinema. They w ere not necessarily ‘artists’, they were experts in a brand new industry that made studio bosses vast sums of money and entertained millions of people around the world.
Stunt Love is told against the backdrop of a colorful social and historical background, spanning the Boer War, the birth of ‘Hollywood’, the Depression, World Wars and the transition from silent to ‘talkie’ cinema. Using silent-era techniques with contemporary film and animation, this film blends Jack’s technical palette with the modern. Featuring interviews with legendary stuntman Grant Page (Mad Max 1 & 3) and modern daredevil Zoe Bell (Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof) Stunt Love tells the story of Jack and Helen, their creative and personal partnership and the birth of an industry and art form that now dominates world culture.
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