Finch, Bloody Finch

We’ve been sold another pup….

Were you too brought up on the myth that Actor, Peter Finch, of A Town Like Alice and The Shiralee fame, was Australian?

Buzzzzz. Wrong! Finch was born in England, lived as a child in France and India, only coming to Australia to live with rellies when he was 10. It wasn’t a happy childhood, and the Jesuit saying “Give me the child for the first seven years and I will give you the man” could explain a lot.

I’ve just read Elaine Dundy’s Finch, Bloody Finch and it doesn’t paint a pretty picture of the man. Talented, eccentric, creative, for sure. Also a ratbag.

His school years weren’t much to write home about, though his best mate was Paul Brickhall, author of classic books The Dambusters, The Great Escape, and Reach For The Sky. His first job was as a copy boy at the Sydney newsroom which of course meant that he became a member of the infamous Sydney Journalists Club ( read as Big Boozer) refer

Living at Kings Cross during its Bohemian days Finch mixed with all types, including the infamous crime boss, Tilly Devine, and even shared lodgings with young artist, Donald Friend.

( That’s only 80 years ago. Another instance of interconnectedness. The Universe is A-maz-ing).

Success followed with radio plays and entertaining the troops when he enlisted during WW2., before heading overseas chasing Larry Olivier. And the rest as they say is history…………

Interesting is that Finch discovers when he is in his 40’s that there’s been a mix up with his parentage and his Father was never the Australian fellow, but rather a Scotsman. If it hadn’t been for this slight, errr, blunder….Finch’s life may have been totally different.

The book kind of disintegrates in the latter stages as we flit between Finch’s relationships and my interest waned accordingly.

Although Finch’s Joe Harmon states that “Alice is a bonzer town” with more conviction, Bryan Brown will always be my preferred Joe Harmon in A Town Like Alice. No doubting Brown’s heritage.