Mozjoukine reviews this fine film and downs it for its stereotypes, uninspired settings. I believe they have missed the point and failed to enjoy a sophisticated story well rendered to the screen.
It is significant that this film transposes a well known and much loved novel-in-verse into a silent film that remains faithful to its origins. I suggest anyone viewing this film should first read C.J. Dennis' fourteen part poem. I would recommend looking it up on the net -- best read by speaking it aloud.
The characters of The Bloke, Doreen, Ginger and the rest of the cast are portrayed with a good deal of subtlety and the nature of the story makes for understatement. The idea of shooting on the streets of Woolloomooloo was fitting and the inter-titles (resting on the poem itself) capture the cadence of Australian colloquial expressions, echoes of which can still be heard today.
The big bloke, a drinker and gambler, a petty crook, is at heart a lamb. A type easily recognized today, and still very much alive.
Australia was once known as a workingman's paradise C.J. Dennis' poem was extremely popular because so many working people could see themselves in its words and imagines. The film had an extremely hard task in capturing this on silver-nitrate, but its success as a film showed how well it did that at the time.
Being as tough as nails and as soft as marshmallow at the same time, is part of the national character, but to see this you have to leave the middle class prissy suburbs and walk rubbing shoulders with ordinary working folks. There the truth captured in the film can be seen reflected still, though somewhat faded and far less robustly than it once was.
The bloke is a real character and the film itself a treasure of understated charm.
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