The Sundowners

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In Australia’s Outback during the early twentieth century, the impoverished Carmody family lives a nomadic life out of their wagon, but the mom and son want to settle, while the dad is against it.

ACTORS :  Deborah Kerr, Robert Mitchum, Peter Ustinov

YEAR OF RELEASE :  1960

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The Sundowners  In the Australian Outback, the Carmody family, Paddy (Robert Mitchum), Ida (Deborah Kerr), and their teenage son Sean (Michael Anderson, Jr.), are sheep drovers, always on the move. Ida and Sean want to settle down and buy a farm. Paddy wants to keep moving. A sheep-shearing contest, the birth of a child, drinking, gambling, and a race horse will all have a part in the final decision.

A quiet pleasure,slightly faded by time

The Sundowners was a favourite movie of mine at the time of its initial release in 1960,and watching it again recently it still came across as a an engaging and pleasant little movie but one that perhaps has lost something of its impact with the passing years,ones in which Australian movies and actors have come to the fore internationally.In 1960 it was considered necessary to import two Hollywood names to give world wide box office appeal,something not necessary today with performers like Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett.(Of the egregious,smarmy self -centred Anglophobe Mr Gibson I will remain silent) Sundowners are itinerants ,moving from place to place in a small wagon picking up work on an as and when basis.The Carmody family-Paddy,Ida and teenage son Sean -are one such but while Paddy is content with the life the others are keen to put down roots and buy a farm. The picaresque tale tells of how the family as they drift across Australia finding work at a sheep station,becoming race horse owners etc gradually resolve their conflicts En route they meet a nomadic upper class Englishman,played as well as ever by Ustinov who acts as a kind of comic relief as he dispenses well honed epigrams The central section dealing with life on the sheep ranch is the best with some richly comic scenes including a shearing contest and some bar room scenes straight out of John Ford

The accents of Kerr and Mitchum are not secure or convincing but they carry the roles through sheer star power and their are strong contributions fron Glynis Johns and John Meillon

Still enjoyable but a remake with indigenous actors would be an interesting idea Still,all in all a bitter-sweet little gem of a movie I am glad I saw it again

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