Patrick White and Film


  • Elizabeth Webby University of Sydney
  • Margaret Harris University of Sydney


Patrick White, Australian film, screen plays


2011 saw the release of The Eye of the Storm, the first adaptation to the screen of one of Patrick White’s novels. There had been earlier attempts, in particular the long-running saga of Voss, seemingly as doomed to failure as the explorer’s own quest. White’s interest in the theatre was paralleled by his interest in film; he knew that adaptations could boost an author’s reputation and sales. Manuscripts in the National Library of Australia’s White papers reveal that he wrote adaptations of several of his short stories as early as 1963. He did not manage to sell any of these but collaboration with director Jim Sharman in the 1970s led to the production of White’s screenplay of his story ‘The Night, the Prowler’. Inspired by this, White wrote several original screenplays that were never filmed. ‘Monkey Puzzle’, intended as a full-length film, sends up the Australian literary scene as well as Australian films of the period. The shorter 'Kidults' also includes a parody of the film version of My Brilliant Career.

Author Biographies

Elizabeth Webby, University of Sydney

Professor Emeritus of Australian Literature, University of Sydney

Margaret Harris, University of Sydney

Professor of English, University of Sydney