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form y separately published work icon Boney and the Black Opal single work   film/TV  
Adaptation of Sinister Stones Arthur W. Upfield , 1954 single work novel
Issue Details: First known date: 1972... 1972 Boney and the Black Opal
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

A policeman is found murdered on a road in the rugged MacDonnell Ranges and his black tracker is missing, also believed dead. When Inspector Napoloeon Bonaparte of the Queensland Police Force is sent to investigate, he finds he has allies in the local Aboriginal community bent on revenge.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • c
      Fauna Productions ,
      1972 .
      Extent: 60 min.p.
      Description: Colour; sound
      Series: form y separately published work icon Boney Australia : Fauna Productions Seven Network , 1972-1973 Z1371951 1972 series - publisher film/TV crime

      A television series based on the twenty-nine novels by Arthur Upfield about fictional Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte. Originally broadcast on the Seven Network in 1972 and 1973, the series was titled Boney rather than Upfield's original spelling ('Bony') in order to clarify its pronunciation [all references to the film character therefore retain the alternate spelling].

      As described by Upfield, Boney is a foundling, born of an Aboriginal mother and a white father and raised in a mission. An exceptional student, he won scholarships to secondary school and university, but later abandoned the 'white' culture to return to his mother's people and become initiated into their tribe. The issue of living half-way between two cultures lies at the very centre of Boney's existence and provides his character with a rich complexity of attributes: intellect, cunning, arrogance, compassion, and an inherent understanding of the land and of ancient bushcraft. His career as a policeman began after he helped solve an outback murder. Recognising his exceptional skills, the Queensland Police persuaded him to join the force, and he quickly rose to the rank of Detective Inspector. His talents are such that he is often loaned to other states to help solve outback crimes.

      Several significant, though not overly problematic, changes were made to the television adaptation. In the Upfield books, Boney is aged in his fifties and married with three sons. He also smokes his own very poorly constructed hand-rolled cigarettes. For the television series, however, Boney is in his early thirties and unmarried. He also doesn't smoke. Another departure from the Upfield books is the inclusion of a regular female offsider, Constable Alice McGorr, who appears throughout most of the second series. McGorr was brought in to help solve an issue that the screen writers had struggled with during much of the first series: finding opportunities to have Boney talk and particularly to explain his reasoning or concerns. The omniscient writing style of Upfield's novels complemented Boney's solo methods of investigation well, but it created problems for the screenwriters in terms of dialogue. The answer was to provide a companion. The producers eventually decided on the character of McGorr, whom Upfield had introduced in the novel Murder Must Wait. The added advantage in this strategy, too, was McGorr provides a strong feminine perspective and, as Boney was now unmarried, a touch of sexual tension.

      Number in series: 13
Last amended 13 Feb 2015 12:28:10
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