Douglas Ling wasn’t the only one. There were two others. Jack Clancy lectured on Westerns and even looked like John Wayne (if Wayne had had a beard and were Irish). Clancy was a big man possessed of a rare intelligence in an academic world uninfected by wokeness. Clancy could discuss the significance of gunfights in 1940s outlaw films without triggering anyone. John O'Hara was similarly intelligent, a noteless lecturer who never stumbled, an unashamed academic who wrote prolific programme notes for several Melbourne International Film Festivals.
Essentially, in Top Gear terms, the big extrovert Clancy was the Jeremy Clarkson of cinema studies; John O’Hara the diffident intelligent James May - leaving the diminutive Douglas Ling as the smarter-than-anyone Richard Hammond.
Were students of cinema in 1979-80 spoiled with an over-abundance of sheer unbridled cinematic knowledge and intelligence? Yes.
But in the posthumous best film lecturer awards, Douglas Ling wins. He knew everything about movies, as they all did. With Clancy and O’Hara it was in their heads.
But with Ling it was visceral.