Midnight March 12, 2011 at New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles
By David Blake
HOLLYWOOD, CA (Hollywood Today) 12/8/11 — Legendary cult filmmaker Quentin Tarantino has selected the iconic Australian 1974 biker classic film, STONE to screen in his personal selection of favorite films at the New Beverly Cinema in Hollywood this March.
The famed director has long been a vocal advocate and supporter of the film and Sandy Harbutt, Stone’s creator. Harbutt co-wrote, produced, directed and starred in this story of ‘the Gravediggers’, a local bikie gang of ex-Vietnam Vets, whose numbers are being decimated by murder and of the cop, ‘Stone’, who joins their ranks, finds the murderer, then betrays the gang, earning the their bloody wrath.
This classic film has gained a cult following and praise from around the world, no less so than from Tarantino himself, who has said, “STONE is my all time favorite biker film…it has the quintessential most realistic ending of any biker film in history…he knew he had it coming, he broke the code”.
A forerunner to the Mad Max franchise, STONE and its creator, Harbutt, have earned a special place in Australian cinema history. Tarantino regards Harbutt as a ‘visionary’ and has spoken of the influence of the Australian auteur upon his own filmmaking.
The New Beverly Cinema, is one of Hollywood’s longest-running movie theatre, showcasing a wide range of independent, classic, cult and foreign films. Tarantino is a long-time supporter of the venue and in March, he is curating their complete schedule, selecting some of his favorite films.
At the 2009 Cannes’ Film Festival, Harbutt’s representatives presented a delighted Tarantino with an original 35mm film print of STONE, Sandy’s own copy. The two rusty canisters of film, bearing the cinema names where STONE screened, had travelled the length and breadth of the country – from Sydney to Wagga Wagga, to Bathurst, Darwin and everywhere in between, When STONE was released in 1974, it smashed box office records at cinemas and drive-ins all over Australia as thousands flocked to see this counter-culture creation played out large on the big screen. Made for the minimal sum of $195,000, STONE grossed 1.5 million dollars – eight times its production budget – making it one of the most financially successful films in Australian history.
Later this year, there are plans to re-screen the original STONE – a re-mastered and re-classified Director’s Cut – so a new audience of fans, as well as the old and die-hard devotees, can sit and once again ‘take the trip’ that was STONE.
Harbutt, who now lives the quiet rural life, usually shuns the media but he is thrilled with the attention ‘his baby’ is receiving. In a rare concession, in honour of the Hollywood screening by Quentin Tarantino, Harbutt will be available for interview in Sydney on Thursday, 3rd March to speak about his cult classic.
STONE is screening – Midnight March 12, 2011. – at the New Beverly Cinema. Hollywood. Los Angeles 7165 W Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90036. USA.