Dir- Peter Faiman
Year – 1986
Running Time – 94 minutes
Screen writing Genre – Fool Triumphant (Fool out of water)
Crocodile Dundee made a major impact upon release. It may seem hard to believe but it is one of the highest grossing films of all time. The film was made for around $9 million and went on to gross over $328 million. It was also nominated for an Oscar in the best screenplay category and Hogan picked up a golden globe for best actor. Adding to the onscreen chemistry is the fact that Paul Hogan and His co-Star Linda Kozlowski actually married in real life.
What’s in a name?
This is another straightforward one. It clearly refers to the main character with the “Crocodile” and poster image adding the humorous touch. The film must be considered from a slightly different point of view as it is a star vehicle for Hogan and thus would have been designed around his comic ability.
What makes it great?
Like many a stars vehicle the film hangs on the leads performance. Luckily for us Hogan does a great job of carrying the film. The structure is a little wayward in places but it hangs together on the strength of the script and humour. I feel the nomination for best screenplay is well warranted and the film remains timeless due to its good nature.
However, for me the screenplay is missing something at the start. It also has a twisting structure where the emphasis moves from Mick to Sue and back with regards to who is driving the narrative. The film mirrors itself at the midpoint as well.
Crocodile Dundee as a “Fool out of water” Movie
The “Fool out of Water” or fish out of water genre is the perfect description for Crocodile Dundee. It refers to films where someone is taken out of their natural environment and dropped into another. Another example would be Legally Blond.
The “Fool out of water” genre does break a number of conventions on occasion as the tension comes from seeing our hero being himself or herself in a new surrounding. As such we sometimes don’t get the name change and assuming of a new identity we often get in other fool triumphant genres.
Opening Image – The New York skyline.
Theme Stated – Right from the start we know our theme is survival. It’s properly introduced when Sue says “And I will see where he was attacked and how he survived.”
Set-Up – Sue follows up on the crocodile man story and we meet Mick and his ‘mate’.
Catalyst –you can argue two catalysts. Right at the start we have Sue looking at the crocodile man story that stops her coming home when she should. Once in Australia it is the idea that she can’t survive in the outback that sets the real journey into motion.
Debate – Mick and Sue discuss if a city girl could survive the outback?
Break into Two – We break a little early but it is clear once we are in the outback and the boat has left we have crossed over into the special world of act 2. A little later we have a new dawn and the adventure can begin.
B Story – When Mick saves Sue from the crocodile the B story and love story starts.
Fun and Games – Mick and Sue adventure in the outback and we get to meet some aborigines, see our characters eat some bush food and Mick considers going to the city.
Midpoint – Mick enters New York and our fish is now out of water. Mick will go on to show the New Yorkers as savages through his friendliness.
Bad Guys Close In – Mick has to adapt, plus Sue’s boyfriend is on the scene and trying to make Mick look like am idiot. There is also a marriage proposal on the horizon.
All is Lost – Richard proposes and Mick is humiliated.
Dark Night of the Soul – Mick walks the streets, drinks and gets beaten up. He is saved by his ‘mate’ and recovers. He decides to see the rest of the country and find more friends.
Break into Three –
Mick leaves the hotel to go to the train station and travel America.
Finale – Sue starts the ‘Chase to the airport scene’ and races to the train station which culminates in the iconic scene where Mick is literally held up by the people of the city as he walks over them.
Final image – Sue and Mick together, surrounded by New Yorkers who are now much friendlier having been changed by their meeting with Mick.