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Praising novel The Scarecrow, one critic argued that author Ronald Hugh Morrieson had melded genres together into “a brilliant, hallucinatory mixture distinctively his own". The movie adaptation is another unusual melding; a coming of age tale awash with comedy, nostalgia, and a touch of the gothic. Taranaki teen Ned (Jono Smith) is worried that the mysterious arrival in town (US legend John Carradine) has murderous designs on his sister. The masterful narration is by Martyn Sanderson. The result: the first Kiwi film to win official selection at Cannes.

Credits (38)

 Sam Pillsbury
 Jono Smith

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Another mysterious arrival in town

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Included in:

 NZ Book Month Collection

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Related interviews:

 Sam Pillsbury - Quiet and Crooked Earth

Sam Pillsbury is a self-described American-Kiwi who has made films in both New Zealand and the US. He began his prolific career at the National Film...


The Scarecrow enters deep into the Gothic mood only to cheerfully reject it.... The Scarecrow is often downright grotesque, but ultimately it regards small towns with an impartial affection. 
The same night our fowls were stolen, Daphne Moran had her throat cut. 
The story he (Ronald Hugh Morrieson) wrote was about my childhood, and the country I live in: tedious, comic, bizarre; amazing, frightening, silly. I knew the places, the characters and the events, and I wanted to make them come alive. 


1982 Cannes Film Festival
Official Selection - Director’s Fortnight Section (out of competition)

1982 Mystfest (Cattolica, Italy)
Best Artistic Contribution (Acting award, to the whole cast)