Now after 45 years of being “lost” this film has been found by an ABC archivist and remastered for its first ever Australian television screening this Sunday night.
Autopsy On a Dream, a controversial and provocative BBC film about the building of the Sydney Opera House, directed by John Weiley in 1968 and thought to be lost for 45 years, will have its first Australian television screening on Sunday October 20 at 9.25pm ABC1.
Weiley was commissioned to direct and produce the film by the then BBC Two Controller David Attenborough. A dramatic story of the building’s construction and architect Jorn Utzon’s ultimate departure from the project, the film caused controversy from the outset.
The ABC tried to stop it being made and after its BBC screening in 1968, Weiley was advised the film had been destroyed on a chopping block in the BBC archive.
Miraculously for John, a mute print of the film was rediscovered in a BBC vault this year by an ABC researcher on the Sydney Opera House Project http://theoperahouseproject.com. As it turned out only the soundtrack was destroyed. Having kept the transcripts and sound, Weiley and his team have put the original film back together.
Weiley has also created a new prologue called ‘The Dream of Perfection’ telling the fascinating story of the lost film and bringing the story up-to- date, featuring interviews with Sir David Attenborough, Jan and Lin Utzon, the sons of Jorn Utzon and architect Richard le Plaistrier, plus many others.
“I was in shock. It was like getting a call from a child who I thought had been lost many years before”, says John Weiley.
Autopsy On A Dream , with Bob Ellis recreating his original narration, will have its first Australian premiere at the Sydney Opera House in October to celebrate their 20th anniversary and will then screen for the first time on Australian television on Sunday October 20 at 9.25 pm, ABC1.
Mark Scott, Managing Director of ABC, says the ABC’s history is inextricably linked with that of The Sydney Opera House – the nation’s most remarkable and culturally significant building.
“We have been delighted to showcase the Opera House through the creation the dazzling Opera House Project website. http://theoperahouseproject.com. Now we are thrilled to be partners in the restoration and presentation of the landmark film ‘Autopsy On A Dream,” he says.
“The ABC has showcased countless outstanding performances from the Opera House on radio and television over the past 40 years. We are proud to bring the story of this building and its fascinating history to Australian audiences everywhere.”
Autopsy On A Dream (90 min) is directed by John Weiley and the remastered film is produced by John Maynard for Felix Media with the support of the BBC, Screen Australian and ABC Arts.
Autopsy On A Dream, a stunning re-discovered documentary, screens for the first time on Australian television, Sunday October 20 at 9.25 pm