The Defector Speculates on One of the Great Mysteries of Australian History

October 6, 2016
The story of Harold Holt, the only Australian prime minister to drown/get eaten by a shark/escape on a Chinese submarine (circle as applicable).

How have we not had a movie about Harold Holt before? Holt, of course, was the Australian PM who disappeared on December 17, 1967, while swimming at Cheviot Beach in Victoria. His body was never recovered. We, being Australian, eventually named a swimming pool after him.

Being a high-profile mystery, all kinds of speculation was swirled around Holt’s vanishing, as we certainly hate applying Occam’s Razor when there are so many more juicy possibilities. Holt’s death also puts the events of his life somewhat in the shade, which is a shame: he was the top cocky at the height of the Cold War, during a period of increasing Australian involvement in the Vietnam War and fraught relations with both the USSR and China.

And so Holt’s career is perfect grist for a political/espionage thriller, and thus here comes The Defector, a short film written and directed by Scott Mannion and starring Sean Taylor as Harold Holt.

Here’s the official synopsis:

1967, the height of the Red Scare. Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt is embroiled in a power struggle after discovering his spymaster has illegally investigated and exposed Red sympathisers embedded within Holt’s administration.

Malcolm Kennard (Pawno, Catching Milat), Lech Mackiewicz (Teenage Kicks) and Josef Ber (Down Under) co-star.

The film will be doing the festival circuit soon, but in the mean time feast your eyes on the gorgeous key art, and watch out for riptides.

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