Rod Taylor is very much himself in this lively, loving documentary.
Its world premiere was Feb. 11, 2016, on Foxtel Arts in Australia.
It had itsU.S. premiere April 27, 2017, at the
Beverly Hills Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award
for Best Documentary.
"Pulling No Punches" also won its second U.S. screening, earning Best Feature Documentary at the Burbank
International Film Festival on Sept. 10, 2017. The screening was
followed by a special Q&A with Tippi Hedren and Veronica Cartwright, Rod's costars from "The Birds."
That Q&A is included as a special feature on the DVD edition of the
released Jan. 3, 2018, in Australia. Another DVD extra is an
interview with Rod Taylor and Tippi Hedren conducted in 2012. The
PAL-format DVD is available from
Umbrella Entertainment. The
filmmakers hope to announce more regional DVD releases soon!
"Rod Taylor: Pulling No Punches" is an 80-minute documentary directed by Robert de Young and co-produced by Stephan Wellink.
The interviews with Rod were conducted in late 2012 and focus on the
Aussie-born actor's favorite projects.
The film was the brainchild of Wellink, who was a fan of Rod
Taylor since he was a youngster and his father took him to see "The Time
Machine." He had wanted to do a tribute to his fellow Aussie for years,
and fate brought him together with de Young, who had already done films
about Errol Flynn and Peter Finch. A Rod Taylor film would make a fine
Wellink said he wanted to celebrate Rod Taylor
"because he was a great actor who deserved to receive greater
recognition for his achievements, particularly in his homeland,
Mark Hartley, whose credits include "Not
Quite Hollywood," originally was slated to be the director of the
film and participated in interviews with Rod. These interviews can be
previewed in a trailer on Robert de Young's
Vimeo page for
projects in development for Lowlands Media. An
official trailer for the film is available at the distributor's
website, Beyond Productions.
Upon viewing the full documentary, I was charmed, amused, energized and
mightily entertained. I was also stunned at the multitude of
new-to-me photos that were included in the film.
The film is edited magnificently, with a great flow and terrific
The people who are interviewed capture Rodís essence perfectly. Among
the interviewees are co-stars such as Veronica Cartwright, Tippi Hedren,
Angela Lansbury and Maggie Smith; Susie Porter; biographer Stephen Vagg; longtime
business manager Murray Neidorf; and Nicholas Eddy, attorney and family
Australian director Baz Luhrmann and Aussie actors Bryan Brown and Jack
Thompson also add insights.
A particularly special segment features Rodís artwork -- paintings,
sketches and pottery. What a talent he was in so many ways.
The interviews with Rod and others illuminate the documentary's theme of
his role in solidifying the
Australian male identity in Hollywood.
"Rod set the mold for the Australian onscreen tough guy/charming leading
man and paved the way for the likes of Mel Gibson, Russell Crowe, Hugh
Jackman and others to follow,Ē de Young said in an
interview published by SBS on Jan. 13, 2015.
"My fondest memory of working with Rod for the documentary was the
experience of bringing his co-star from 'The Birds,' Tippi Hedren, to
his house for the interview," Wellink said. "Tippi and Rod hadn't seen
each other for about 20 years and it was a great privilege to be able to
bring these two stars together to talk about working with Hitchcock.
They loved catching up and sharing a laugh about their early days in
In an e-mail to this website on Jan. 9, 2015, Wellink said: "It is such
a shame that Rod will not see our homage to him."
Stephan Wellink with Rod in 2012.
Thanks for the Special Thanks -- Diane Tomasik, webmaster