Howard G. Barnes, Exec Producer of Famed Aussie Film 'Outback,' Dies at 100
The thriller was the rare feature to play twice at the Cannes Film Festival
Howard G. Barnes, a film and television veteran who executive produced the Australian “lost film” Outback, died Dec. 8 of natural causes at The Motion Picture Television Fund home in Woodland Hills, his daughter Christie announced. He was 100.
As vice president in charge of Westinghouse Broadcasting’s film division, Barnes exec produced Outback, a 1971 Australian-American thriller that starred Donald Pleasence, Gary Bond, Chips Rafferty and Jack Thompson in the story of a young schoolteacher (Bond) who finds himself trapped and menaced in a barbaric Australian town.
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The film, directed by Ted Kotcheff, premiered at the 1971 Cannes Film Festival but was rarely seen after that, with its negative considered lost. Pieces of the movie were found in a box marked for destruction in a Pittsburgh vault and restored by the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia about a decade ago. It was rereleased as Wake in Fright and played once more at Cannes.
For Westinghouse’s Group W division, Barnes also executive produced the films Amsterdam Affair (1968), Squeeze a Flower (1970) and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1970).
Barnes was born in New York in 1913, graduated from the University of Michigan and served during World War II in the Navy.
He was vp programming at both CBS Radio and then CBS Television, where he supervised such series as Route 66, Rawhide and The Twilight Zone. As a talent supervisor for the Ashley Famous talent agency, he helped develop CBS’ The Danny Kaye Show.
In addition to his daughter Christie, survivors include his other children Paul, Paxton and Gillian and grandchildren Paulina, Justin, Eliza and Ethan.