Authority figures/lodgers & lovers/school characters Authority figures

Who was the psychiatrist who examined Pauline?

[lfr] During his fireside chat with the Riepers, Henry Hulme described Dr Bennett as a "good friend" and a general practitioner with experience in child psychology. After his examination of Pauline, Dr Bennett pronounced that she was suffering from "h-h-homo-sexuality" in that ultra-closeup shot, bad teeth and all.

There were several extra scenes featuring Dr Bennett and his family in an early draft of the "Heavenly Creatures" script. (Heavenly Creatures, Draft #5, February 7, 1993, Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Beverly Hills, CA.) The Bennetts were portrayed as being close social contacts of the Hulmes, and part of the Christchurch social elite, which is, apparently, an accurate portrait of real life on all accounts. In the draft script, the Bennett's son, Colin, was volunteered by the adults to pursue Juliet and rescue her from Pauline's charms, lest she be "lost to the world of men forever!" He complied awkwardly and reluctantly. Naturally, our Juliet shredded the hapless lad with her sarcastic wit and razor-sharp tongue. (see 3.1.25)

Too bad those scenes hit the cutting room floor.

Was Dr Bennett real?

[jp,mc] Dr Bennett was a real person and an important player in the "Parker Hulme" case. He examined Pauline as shown in the film and he was consulted twice by Henry Hulme about the girls' relationship before the murder. Dr Bennett examined both Pauline and Juliet after the murder and testified for the defense at the trial. For a more complete description of Dr Bennett and his role in the real-life events, see 7.1. [jp] Dr. Bennett was a family physician. He was my mother's doctor in Christchurch. [mc]

Who was the priest? Were there inside jokes here?

[jp,se] The priest was Rev Norris, and he visited Juliet in the sanatorium. The scene with Rev Norris was probably included for three reasons.

First, it is a timely reminder of the religious themes that permeate the film (see 3.1.15). Second, for irony. Rev Norris attempts to 'comfort' Juliet with standard Christian fire-and- brimstone rhetoric; taken literally, his words conjure up violent and disturbing images, of course--hardly comforting for a sick and lonely child. And his pamphlet shows a picture of a bloody Jesus suffering under torture on the cross. Juliet imagines her own salvation from this annoying man and it is comparably violent--Diello dispatches Rev Norris by dragging him to Borovnia and publicly beheading him.

Funny, but Rev Norris didn't seem to be pleased to be meeting his Maker and Saviour...

The third reason was probably to illustrate and emphasize Juliet's contempt for organized religion. Earlier in the film she makes some withering comments about the distinction between Heaven and The Fourth World (see 3.1.12). In real life, a statement from Juliet concerning the concept of Hell was read into testimony at the trial: Juliet said there was no hell--"the idea is so primitive." And the girls' religious philosophizing in real life was a much more significant part of their writings than was portrayed in the film (see 7.6).

And, in real life, Dr Hulme was close friends of the Bishop of Christchurch, and Juliet's maternal grandfather was an Anglican clergyman. Lodgers and lovers

Finally, it appears that Rev Norris in all possibly existed. See section 3.1.4.

Which boarder hated fish but liked Doris Day?

[jp] Steve wasn't too keen on fish, but he thought Doris Day was "really talented." And, hey, who could disagree? That voice, that enthusiasm, those perky dimples...

Which boarder was told to leave before Juliet's visit?

[jp] Steve was told by Pauline that it was to be a "private function" and to leave. The poor lad left hungry.

Which boarder waited patiently for the bathroom?

[jp] That would be Laurie. Even his clothes were neatly folded. Honora really had those boys whipped into shape...

Which boarder was playing scrabble with Pauline?

[jp] That would be John. Of course, Pauline was getting ready to score big points with "putrid."

Which boarder admired Pauline's plasticine figures?

[jp] Yup, John again. He commented that "you girls are damned clever."

Which boarder was impressed by knitting patterns?

[jp] John remarked that some of them "looked damned complicated."

So the boarder who said "damn" a lot was...

[jp] John. A clever little allusion by Walsh & Jackson to real life. See Pauline's diary entries, section 7.4.3. I love these little touches. W & J really did their homework.

Which boarder became Pauline's lover?

[jp] John crawled into bed with Pauline, declared his undying love for her, then got kicked out of the Riepers' house.

Later, he deflowered the poor girl in a very disturbing but important scene that flashed between reality and visions of Borovnia (see

Finally, he was dumped, still proclaiming his love for Pauline as he rode his bicycle into a policeman, when Juliet was released from the TB sanatarium, in the all-important "The Ones That I Worship" sequence.

Who was Ross?

[jp] Must have been one of the two boarders who chatted at the breakfast table the morning after John was evicted.

What was the name of Hilda Hulme's lover-then-lodger?

[jp,lfr] Bill Perry, an engineer, first sought Hilda's services as a marriage counselor. Hilda asked Bill to talk about his feelings, and they came to fall in love. Perry eventually moved into Ilam with the Hulmes "to live as a threesome." In real life, this phrase was coined by Pauline in one of her diary entries and it was entered into testimony at the trial, to become one of the salacious tidbits reported worldwide in the international press.

An early draft of the script (Heavenly Creatures, Draft #5, February 7, 1993, Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Beverly Hills, CA.) has several more scenes involving Bill Perry and his impact on the disintegrating Hulme household.

In real life, Bill Perry played a much bigger role in the complete story than was depicted in the final North-American release version of the film (see 3.2.8) and the time line involving Bill Perry was quite different than depicted in "Heavenly Creatures" (see 3.1.27 and 7.3). School characters

What was the real Miss Stewart like?

[ap,mc] Anne Perry confirmed Miss Stewart for me (see but gave a very different description of her than the way she was portrayed in "Heavenly Creatures." Ms Perry did describe Miss Stewart as being feared and respected by the pupils, however. [ap]

Miss Stewart was an excellent French teacher who became headmistress in approximately 1948. She continued the discipline established at the school. During this period, NZ high schools were run by the Head and one Secretary and it was a part of the job of the Head to contact parents about academic and disciplinary matters. There were no guidance counsellors. [mc]

Who was the French teacher?

[mc,G&L,maw] The French teacher in "Heavenly Creatures," Miss Waller, was my Latin teacher (and good). The others you list in section 3.1.4 must have been after my time. [mc (GHS 1946-1950, inclusive)]

Pauline Parker was remembered as having done very well in Latin tests, and she took Latin by correspondence during her incarceration in prison. [G&L]

Miss Waller was my French Mistress (teacher) in the early 60s and I sure remember her. Her portrayal in the film was superb. I had Miss Renwick for Latin. The Headmistress in my time was Miss Robinson. [maw]

Can you believe the smock worn by the art teacher?

[jp] Yes. I have a picture of my own mother, in the same occupation, at around the same time, pregnant (with me), in an eerily similar white-with-bright-flowers smock and dark red lipstick. Hey, it was the 50s. Oh, and wasn't the art teacher's accent great? Accents are important in this film (see 3.1.5,

Ah, but who was the Art teacher, really?

[jp] The Art teacher was played by Liz Mullane, she of the wonderful Kiwi accent. Ms Mullane has an ear for accents herself, because she was also the New Zealand casting director for "Heavenly Creatures."

Who was Joan?

[jp] Joan was complemented on her artwork by the Art teacher. Joan was the only other CGHS schoolgirl to be identified by name in "Heavenly Creatures."
Back Forward