The Umbrella Woman

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The Umbrella Woman
Directed byKen Cameron
Written byPeter Kenna
Produced byJan Sharp
StarringSam Neill
Bryan Brown
Rachel Ward
Bruce Barry
Distributed byRoadshow Films
Release date
  • 14 May 1987 (1987-05-14) (Australia)
BudgetA$3.5 million[1]
Box officeA$100,189 (Australia)

The Umbrella Woman (released in some areas as The Good Wife) is a 1987 film directed by Ken Cameron and starring Bryan Brown and Rachel Ward. It also features Steven Vidler and Sam Neill.


The film tells the story of a man and his wife, whose marriage is complicated by a relationship between the man's brother and his wife and his wife's attraction to the manager of the local bar. The setting is pre-war Australia.



Producer Jan Sharp originally intended her husband, Phillip Noyce to direct, but he went on to make Echoes of Paradise instead, so she hired Ken Cameron.[2] Cameron:

I was very happy to do it but it was a picture that I think would always be hard to do. It's terribly hard to do Madame Bovary in Australia and it's very hard to graft, say, that European style of melodrama or melodramatically intense view of family and sexual relations on to the Australian landscape. There's something there that refuses to play the game about the Australian country town.[3]

Box office[edit]

The Umbrella Woman grossed $100,189 at the box office in Australia.[4] The film was not widely seen overseas either.[2] Cameron says the movie hurt his career:

I think the reason that it didn't work was that there was something very difficult to understand about the relationship between Bryan and Rachel. They were at the height of their public relationship, very well known as a happy couple. It was terribly hard to cast them as a couple who had some unstated problem in their marriage because everything in fact denied that. So it was hard to understand why she would run after the barman when Bryan was there, because Bryan is quite iconic and quite wonderful as an Australian country man... Without wishing Sam Neill away, because I think he's terrific - it might have worked better had Bryan been the barman... I think that this was an example of how you can cast a film with great excitement, get all these wonderful actors but, at the same time, in the very act of casting, you're blighting it or preventing the drama from emerging successfully.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Australian Productions Top $175 million", Cinema Papers, March 1986 p64
  2. ^ a b David Stratton, The Avocado Plantation: Boom and Bust in the Australian Film Industry, Pan MacMillan, 1990 p159-160
  3. ^ a b "Interview with Ken Cameron", Signet, 12 April 1996 Archived 21 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 18 November 2012
  4. ^ Film Victoria - Australian Films at the Australian Box Office

External links[edit]