This costume is significant because it was worn by Michael Caton as Darryl Kerrigan in the first scene of the popular 1997 Australian film comedy 'The Castle'. A renowned character actor, Caton has appeared in many films including 'Strange Bedfellows', 'The Interview', 'The Animal' and 'Monkey Grip'. He has also appeared on television in 'The Flying Doctors', 'Blue Heelers', 'Home and Away', 'A Country Practice', 'Cop Shop', 'Homicide', 'Hot Property' and 'Dancing with the Stars'. He played Uncle Harry in 'The Sullivans'.
Directed by Rob Sitch and produced by Working Dog, which also produced the ground-breaking television satire 'Frontline', 'The Castle' was made on a low budget over five weeks, shot in eleven days and distributed by Village Roadshow. 'The Castle' is the story of a happy, close-knit family of lovable Aussie battlers who win a fight against the odds to stop the compulsory government acquisition of their house to make way for extensions to the neighbouring airport.
A key element of the film's humour is the repetition of catchphrases, including:
'Tell 'em they're dreamin';
'That's going straight to the pool room';
'Suffer in your jocks';
'Get your hand off it, Darryl';
'Ah, the serenity';
and, as an articulation of legal argument in the courtroom, 'Ah... it's just the vibe'.
'The Castle' became one of Australia's most successful films, grossing more than $10 million here, and gained US distribution through Miramax Films. It won an AFI Award for Best Original Screenplay. Michael Caton was nominated for an AFI Award as Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for his portrayal of Darryl Kerrigan, the father of the Kerrigan family, whose home is his 'castle'. His first appearance in the film, wearing this paint-splattered costume, sets up his character as a man with pride in his home and love for his family. His ugg boots signify a particular Australian lifestyle, as do other Kerrigan family traits such as owning multiple cars, an obsession with sport, the love of a bargain and displaying trophies in the pool room.
The term 'sloppy joe' is applied by Australians to cheap, casual, loose, non-woollen sweaters. The name ugg (or ugh or ug) has long been used by Australians as a generic term for this style of sheepskin boots. The origins of ugg boots are unclear, but they are thought to have first appeared in the 1920s and have been made by a number of manufacturers in Australia and New Zealand. Comfortable and warm, ugg boots were once considered to be 'daggy' but in recent times have become more fashionable.
The trademark 'UGH-BOOTS' was registered in 1971 by an Australian entrepreneur who sold it to Deckers Outdoor Corporation of the USA in 1995. Deckers also has the rights to the word 'UGH' and 'UGG AUSTRALIA'. Reports that Deckers considered litigation against traders of other sheepskin boots using the terms Ugg and Ugh were the subject of public debate and parliamentary discussion in 2004, as many Australians regard the ugg boot as a national icon.