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Rebel (1985) Poster

(1985)

Trivia

The meaning of the title of this film's source play, "No Names No Packdrill" is don't say anything and avoid consequences. Apparently, the first known use of the expression was in an Indian Treaty negotiations memoir in the late 1860s. This treaty was between the Native Americans and Britain in Canada. The wording "Pack-drill" is a punishment given to British soldiers making them do a full drill exercise in full uniform and with a full pack. In 1890, Rudyard Kipling used pack-drill in his tome Soldiers Three: "Mulvaney was doing pack-drill - was compelled that is to say, to walk up and down in full marching order, with rifle, bayonet, ammunition, knapsack, and overcoat." One of Kipling's poems uses pack drill too [n.b. CB means Confined to Barracks]: "O it's pack drill for me and a fortnight's CB / For 'drunk and resisting the Guard'." Pack-drill frequently meant doing a drill on the double as Arthur Guy Empey in 1917 says in Over The Top: "Then comes 'Pack Drill' or Defaulters' Parade. This consists of drilling, mostly at the double, for two hours with full equipment. Tommy hates this, because it is hard work." The mantra "No Names No pack-drill" elaborates on this, meaning that the names of soldiers who require punishment will not be disclosed in order to save them from that punishment.
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This film is based on the non-musical stage play "No Names . . . No Packdrill" by Bob Herbert who also co-wrote this movie's screenplay. The play, when it premiered in Sydney, Australia in 1980, starred Mel Gibson and Noni Hazlehurst. The play's title was for a time a working title for this film. This film's producer, Phillip Emanuel, became aware of the play at this Sydney debut.
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The film's chief producer, Phillip Emanuel, originally conceived the lead two parts to be played by Olivia Newton-John, who was an Australian singer-actress who had appeared in the box-office hit musical Grease (1978) as well as Xanadu (1980), and Kevin Bacon, who was a new American star who had recently become hot from starring in the American music film Footloose (1984). Apparently, Olivia Newton-John was not available to do this movie. Instead, the lead parts went to Australian singer Debra Byrne and Matt Dillon.
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The camera techniques of this movie utilizes a lot of long lenses, long tracking shots, fast film, out-of-focus shots, backlighting, Louma crane shots, and steadicam whilst production design is garnered with a large use of variations of the colour red as a thematic motif. Production Designer Brian Thomson once said of this: "We chose the colour red for what it is: it's passion, anger . . . The interesting thing is Bob Herbert's stage directions for the play actually say that it takes place at 'the red end of the experiential spectrum'."
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The movie's central female character Kathy McLeod was a mail-sorting postal worker in the original source play but her profession was changed to a nightclub singer in an all-girl band for this movie. This was done as part of this movie's commercial strategy.
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The original conception of this movie was a straight period piece adaption of its source play "No Names. No Packdrill" and was originally going to be known by this title. This play is non-musical. The film was re-conceptualized during pre-production and became a wartime romance musical.
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This movie was made with the United States as an intended box-office market. Changes were made to the original play to make it more commercial, mainly turning into a musical with a commercial soundtrack. The movie also features a rising American star of the time, Matt Dillon.
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The original conception of this movie was a straight period piece adaption of its source play "No Names, No Packdrill" and the film was originally going to be known by this title, it was this movie's working title. This play is non-musical. The film was re-conceptualized during pre-production and became a wartime romance musical.
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The spiv character in this movie, Tiger Kelly, played by Bryan Brown was inspired by Ginger Megg's bully nemesis of the same name in the Australian comic strip, Ginger Meggs [See the filmed version, Ginger Meggs (1982)]. The character though is only credited as being called Tiger in the film's closing credits.
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This movie had nine original songs written for it by Peter Best. The musical numbers in the film parallel the development of the love story between the movie's romantic leads.
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Screen feature film acting debut for Australian singer Debra Byrne. Byrne received an AFI (Australian Film Institute) Best Actress award nomination for her debut performance in this film.
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The film utilizes an oft-used storyline of the war movie genre which has two soldiers in love with the same girl.
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Veteran Australian actor Ray Barrett appears in drag in this movie.
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This movie is set about one year after the 7 December 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
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