The classic SF “Mad Max” celebrates today the 40th anniversary of its French release. The opportunity to dive back into George Miller’s post-apocalyptic film in order to discover some hidden details.
Mad Max, classic SF seeing opposing outlaw bikers and Interceptor police who try to triumph over vermin at the wheel of cars with overinflated engines, today celebrates the fortieth anniversary of its hexagonal release. On this occasion, we set off again on the deserted highways of an unrecognizable Australia to reveal to you some hidden details of George Miller’s post-apocalyptic film, which revealed Mel Gibson to the general public.
They know each other very well!
Australian actor Steve Bisley, who portrays the character of Goose in Mad Max, knew very well Mel Gibson at the time of filming. The reason is simple: the two men, in real life, were… roommates! This is how Goose would have encouraged Mel Gibson to audition for the lead role in the post-apocalyptic film.
A poster… without Max!
Did you know that the character who illustrates the poster of Mad Max wasn’t Max? It is indeed the famous Jim Goose, embodied by Steve Bisley. Throughout the film, Max never wears the type of helmet and protections that can be seen on the poster. Note finally, to conclude the chapter “Goose”, that one can distinguish on the motorcycle of the latter a sticker representing a goose (goose translating “goose” in English).
A nod to Kubrick
George miller sent a wink to Stanley Kubrick in his Mad Max. The glasses worn by the character of Cundalini, played by Paul Johnston, are indeed an obvious reference to Lolita. In terms of influences, we should finally note that the camera movements mounted on the cars are inspired by the films Train d’enfer and The Cars that ate Paris.
In the feature film Mad Max, a lot of things that the character of Nightrider through the radio are… lyrics from the song Rocker by AC/DC! It will be recalled that the famous hard-rock group is Australian, which probably explains that.
A rare leather
In the Mad Max of George miller, only two actors wear genuine leather: Mel Gibson and Steve Bisley. The other costumes are fakes and it is possible to notice it on the screen by being very attentive, since many pants, of lower quality than real leather, have been torn.
A hospital that reminds someone…
The hospital that we see in Mad Max responds to the name of St. George’s Hospital, a little wink that the director George miller addressed himself. It must be said that the Australian filmmaker knows this type of establishment well, he who was an emergency doctor before embarking on the world of the seventh art. Note that George Miller also used his medical experience to baptize his hero: Rockatansky is a name derived from the Rokitansky procedure, used to remove human organs during an autopsy.
From one movie to another
Actor Hugh Keays-Byrne, who portrays the character of Toecutter in Mad Max, has the distinction of having distinguished itself in another part of the post-apocalyptic saga of George miller. The Briton, who disappeared in December 2020, indeed interprets in Mad Max: Fury Road the villain Immortan Joe. In the first Mad Max, the one who has followed a classical theater training has fun changing his accent regularly, a way for him to illustrate the madness of his character.
A not insignificant tattoo
In Mad Max, most of the gang members sport a tattoo depicting the Greek letter Phi. This is the first letter of the Greek word “fonias”, which means killer. Proof of the accuracy of this theory: the character of Johnny, played on screen on screen by Tim Burns, does not have this tattoo at the beginning of the film but he has it under his ear after giving the death to a police officer. Finally, note that this tattoo is also a little nod to the Greek origins of George miller.
Whose van is this?
In the opening scene of Mad Max, we can see a blue van. A vehicle which is none other than that of the director George miller. Also note that the police cars are real, with the exception of the black Ford Falcon from Mad Max. The latter is a very rare model, sold only in Australia between 1973 and 1976.
A little cameo to finish
James McCausland, co-writer of Mad Max, performs a small cameo in the feature film. It is indeed he who appears wearing a striped apron in front of a “Diner”.