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and National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

In Joan Lindsay's book, Sara Waybourne's appearance to Mrs. Appleyard on the Rock is depicted as that of an avenging specter – one clothed in a nightdress, with one eye fixed and staring from a mask of rotting flesh. It is this sight, the book implies, that drives the crazed Mrs. Appleyard to leap from the Rock to her death. Interestingly, Weir does not attempt to depict Sara in such a gruesome and repellent way. Instead, I perceive the expression on Sara's face as she looks upon the frightened and unraveling Mrs. Appleyard as one of compassion and forgiveness. It's also worth noting that the sight of Sara on Weir's film does not make Mrs Appleyard recoil, let alone leap to her death. Instead, like the missing schoolgirls before her, Mrs Appleyard approaches the monolith, seemingly disappearing within it. Perhaps then, in the film's interpretation of the book's ending, it is Mrs. Appleyard's attempt to trustingly climb to the level of the compassionate Sara that results in her physical death – that most ultimate letting go to which we will all one day be called.

Text by Michael Bayly

Final Script Page Original Ending

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