Roll Credits – At the Movies with Margaret and David finale

– by David Morgan-Brown

For nearly twenty-eight years, Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton have been our trusted and endearing film critic couple of our television screens. Now, after all the non-stop hard work they’ve put into delivering us weekly film reviews, they have now left with their final episode aired just last night and I’m afraid the film community of Australia won’t be the same without them.

They were Australia’s answer to America’s Siskel and Ebert, becoming Australia’s only film review show on TV. If they did not have an avid enthusiasm and a clear and intelligent way of expressing it, with a nice amount of banter between themselves, they wouldn’t have lasted very long. But Margaret and David have stuck around, giving each and every film they review a worthy and entertaining discussion (and that sure is a lot of films over all these years).

A little negotiation in 2003 was made due to the pair’s dissatisfaction with the SBS and they quickly moved to the ABC where they’ve been happily settled since, leaving the SBS with commercials and short-lived replacement film review shows. Despite the change in channel, along with a new studio and being retitled from The Movie Show to At the Movies, the essence of the show remained the same and has continued that way ever since – Margaret and David giving their opinions on each new film, discussing it with each other, then allocating it a star rating from 0 to 5 stars.

Thankfully we have a large archive of their reviews online. All their film reviews from At the Movies are available from the website in written form, but even better is the large collection of their film reviews from The Movie Show available in video form (in all its grainy VHS glory) on the SBS On Demand site, with reviews dating back to 1986 – a classic video to check out is their review of the magnificent Dancer in the Dark, which Margaret gave five stars to and David gave zero stars.

Last night’s show was a melancholic joy to watch, but now it is over and there is now a great hollow void in my life and the lives of many others Australians. I feel hesitant as to how (or if) ABC will find some sort of replacement show, especially with the amount that are available online. But we will miss Margaret’s brilliant laugh and her lavish ear-rings, and David’s never-changing wardrobe and hair-style, and we’ll miss and cherish their encyclopaedic film knowledge and often trust-worthy film opinions and joyous chemistry together.


Poster image credit: The Iris

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