Dir: Peter Faiman, 1986
This review concerns both the uncut Australian version and the shortened International Cut
Established as a comedy star in his native Australia, Paul Hogan, successfully, broke America with this film based on real life bushman, Rod Ansell.
Sue Charlton (Linda Kozlowski) is an American reporter, flown to Australia to write a piece on Michael (Mick) J. “Crocodile” Dundee, a bushman who was attacked by a crocodile and stranded in the bush but lived to tell the tale.
Bringing Mick back to America, he is a fish out of water, making friends with everyone he meets and being unaccustomed to the ways of the city.
It isn’t long, before Sue falls for Mick’s charms and him for hers.
The whole “fish out of water” scenario has been done a million times before and since. Eddie Cantor played along those lines in Roman Scandals and Danny Kaye in A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court. Some worked, some didn’t.
But Crocodile Dundee does, and that is, purely, down to the charisma and personality of its star, Paul Hogan.
The comedian plays the character as tough around the edges, with a cheeky streak but, also, a romantic at heart.
Kozlowski (Hogan’s real-life wife), is a weak point in the film. Wooden in her acting, The (now former) Mrs. Hogan has one expression and one tone of voice to carry her character through the film and it, often, doesn’t succeed.
The humour is coarse and vulgar, with Aussie colloquialisms sprinkled liberally. However, if you’re watching the International version, then the dialogue is watered down and loses some its charm. To achieve a lower certificate, the international distributors dubbed over the pimp’s line from “fuck one of them” to “screw one of them”.
From the first frame to the last, Crocodile Dundee is the quintessential Australian film, so to have the script “Americanised” is taking away the main element of what keeps its heart pumping. It’s the soul of the film.
Not content with deducting its ethnicity, the US distributors removed around six minutes of footage.
Although not a major loss, the six minutes do offer a slight more insight into Dundee’s character. His boozing is emphasised and brings to the fore his bushman and non-civilised qualities.
Despite being passed uncut for UK cinemas, the video was shorn by around 23 seconds to eliminate the shots of the party guest snorting the cocaine and Sue referring to it as a “buzz”. The DVD is uncut, however.
Crocodile Dundee is not a film that you can say too much about. It’s just very funny.
An eighties classic that never gets old or loses any of its comedy.