“Stork” is a 6ft 7-inch streak of piss topped by lank hair, spectacles and a groper-mouth bursting with teeth, who looks like he has been filmed in CinemaScope and projected through the wrong lens that squeezes him into Luna Park mirror-shape . . .
A boozy, growling, crude, hypochondriacal grotesque who spends his life accosting eardrums, burping and chundering and putting his gargantuan foot in it.
Yet he is an immensely likeable fellow too, an insecure dreamer – especially with the “molls” he’s always boasting about (although his “talk is mightier than his stalk”) – and touchingly vulnerable and childlike, despite his bulldozing and aggressive display of bravado.
Bored with his design job at General Motors Holden in Melbourne, Stork strips to his underwear and is chased around the factory by his boss. Not surprisingly, he is sacked.
He moves into a shared house with his mate Westy (Graeme Blundell).
Stork sends up most things about Australia through uninhibited dialogue (the film was adapted by David Williamson from his own play) and Stork’s Walter Mitty fantasies (hero of the football field and Antarctic blizzard, union guerilla, genius painter of “chunder-scapes”) and his disrupting presence at the country’s most established events.
The film is basically a series of loose satirical sketches tied by a tiny thread of plot about the gangly secret virgin’s love for the most inappropriate “moll”, Anna, a four-foot-something nymphet/innocent (attractively played by Jacki Weaver), who lives in Westy’s pad, where she is already shared by two personable smoothies, Clyde (Helmut Bakaitis) and Tony (Sean McEuan).
When Anna becomes pregnant, Tony and Clyde are shocked to find that Stork and Westy could also be the father.
Clyde and Anna decide to marry, so Stork and Westy disrupt the wedding with a firehose.
The film ends with Anna, Clyde and Stork-the-stowaway driving into the sunset as he wonders at the inability of modern science to produce an anti-toxin for tetanus.
With a predominance of Aussie slang throughout, Stork was undoubtedly going to mean most to the denizens of that land, and even then, once you got over the insistence on a lack of refinement to the film, it wasn’t exactly hilarious, no matter how well Bruce Spence nailed his role.
Spence lived to regret the starring role, as for many years, the Australian public refused to see him as anything other than Stork. He turned down a proposed follow-up TV series for this very reason.
Graham ‘Stork’ Wallace