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Who Killed Malcom Smith

Kanopy (Firm)
Format
Video; Streaming Video; Online
Summary
At 1.25pm on 29 December 1982, Malcolm Charles Smith, an Aboriginal prisoner in a Sydney gaol, went into a toilet cubicle and locked the door behind him. Half a minute later, a piercing scream came from the cubicle. Officers rushed to the door, knocked it off its hinges and found that Malcolm Smith had driven the handle of an artist's paintbrush through his left eye. After being rushed to hospital to remove the paintbrush, Malcolm Smith was found to be brain dead. At 11.41am on 5 January 1983 the life support machine was switched off and Malcolm Smith officially ceased to exist. Richard Frankland helped investigate Malcolm Smith's death for the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. Now he revisits Smith's friends and family who tell the story of Malcolm's life and death. His background is examined as Frankland uncovers evidence that Malcolm's criminal actions were the result of a life of institutionalisation and emotional and educational deprivation. The Royal Commission investigated some 99 deaths in custody which occurred between 1980 and 1989. Forcibly removed from his family at the age of eleven and sent to a boy's home over 1500 kilometres away, Malcolm did not see family again until he was nineteen years old. In that time, he turned from a happy, healthy boy to an illiterate, innumerate and unskilled man with no experience of living in normal society. Of the remaining years of his short life, he was to spend all but eight months in gaol. Like many Aboriginal people who were taken from their families as children, Malcolm Smith died a shocking and early death. The real horror story of Aboriginal Australia today is locked in police files and child welfare reports. It is a story of private misery and degradation, caused by a complex chain of historical circumstance that continues into the present. Kevin Gilbert 1978, Living Black, Penguin Books, p2, A Titus Films production for Film Australia for the National Interest Program. Copyright - 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia. Executive Producer: Ron Saunders Producer: Nicholas Adler, Caroline Sherwood, Sharon Connolly (Supervising Producer), Richard Frankland (Associate Producer) Director: Nicholas Adler, Caroline Sherwood DOP/Cinematographer: Nicholas Adler Narrator/Presenter: Richard Frankland Principal Cast: Bree-an Munns (Malcolm), Danny Marton (young Malcolm)
Release Date
1992
Language
In English
Notes
  • Title from title frames.
  • In Process Record.
Published
[San Francisco, California, USA] : Kanopy Streaming, 2015.
Recording Info
Originally produced by National Film and Sound Archive of Australia in 1992.
Publisher no.
1088952 Kanopy
Related Resources
Cover Image
Description
1 online resource (streaming video file)
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Technical Details
  • Staff View

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    a| At 1.25pm on 29 December 1982, Malcolm Charles Smith, an Aboriginal prisoner in a Sydney gaol, went into a toilet cubicle and locked the door behind him. Half a minute later, a piercing scream came from the cubicle. Officers rushed to the door, knocked it off its hinges and found that Malcolm Smith had driven the handle of an artist's paintbrush through his left eye. After being rushed to hospital to remove the paintbrush, Malcolm Smith was found to be brain dead. At 11.41am on 5 January 1983 the life support machine was switched off and Malcolm Smith officially ceased to exist. Richard Frankland helped investigate Malcolm Smith's death for the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. Now he revisits Smith's friends and family who tell the story of Malcolm's life and death. His background is examined as Frankland uncovers evidence that Malcolm's criminal actions were the result of a life of institutionalisation and emotional and educational deprivation. The Royal Commission investigated some 99 deaths in custody which occurred between 1980 and 1989. Forcibly removed from his family at the age of eleven and sent to a boy's home over 1500 kilometres away, Malcolm did not see family again until he was nineteen years old. In that time, he turned from a happy, healthy boy to an illiterate, innumerate and unskilled man with no experience of living in normal society. Of the remaining years of his short life, he was to spend all but eight months in gaol. Like many Aboriginal people who were taken from their families as children, Malcolm Smith died a shocking and early death. The real horror story of Aboriginal Australia today is locked in police files and child welfare reports. It is a story of private misery and degradation, caused by a complex chain of historical circumstance that continues into the present. Kevin Gilbert 1978, Living Black, Penguin Books, p2, A Titus Films production for Film Australia for the National Interest Program. Copyright - 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia. Executive Producer: Ron Saunders Producer: Nicholas Adler, Caroline Sherwood, Sharon Connolly (Supervising Producer), Richard Frankland (Associate Producer) Director: Nicholas Adler, Caroline Sherwood DOP/Cinematographer: Nicholas Adler Narrator/Presenter: Richard Frankland Principal Cast: Bree-an Munns (Malcolm), Danny Marton (young Malcolm)
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