I remember when Mad Max was released in 1980. The poster was alluring to me. The reviews were positive. Only the Americanization in the dubbing process remained a drawback. The film went on to earn $100 million at the box office which was quite a return on the initial $300,000 investment for production. But more importantly, the film became a cult classic and spawned three sequels all of which made money for the studio.
Documentarians Gary McFeat and Tim Ridge dive into the history of the original Mad Max with ‘The Madness of Max’, a documentary so in-depth that it is almost two times the running time of the original film.
The Madness of Max leaves no rock unturned as it takes us through the process of the making of Mad Max. From the casting to the budget to the idea and the script right through the production and release, The Madness of Max might just be the most thorough and detailed documentary we have ever screened about a single film.
The documentary takes us places that Wikipedia and imdb.com’s trivia section do not. Some of the more interesting segments include how the actress cast to play star Mel Gibson’s wife was in a motorcycle accident on her way to the set Day 1 of the shoot and injured herself so badly that the role had to be recast. And how they only had one Mad Max car and therefore it was handled with kid gloves through the entire shoot. Other more trivial tidbits such as how they wore vinyl not leather and how they got their lenses for the cameras from the set of Peckinpah’s The Getaway are equally engrossing.
Most fascinating though were the stunts orchestrated by the inexperienced crew. There was no CGI circa 1979 and as the stunt men and cameramen put their lives at risk to get shots that were never before seen on film. It is a marvel that no one got seriously injured or lost their lives as the interviewees spill on how every safety protocol was ignored.
Combining interviews from just about every actor and crew member who worked on the production along with never before seen footage of the shoot make for some incredible inside information never before made public.
And as the doc follows through the legacy of the film you will have a new appreciation for the making of a classic. You will come away with a respect for the mechanics who worked tirelessly to get the cars/bikes ready each day and for a director (George Miller) who had a vision that ended up as the most influential, copied and successful film of the modern action era.