IMDb > Jedda the Uncivilized (1955)

Jedda the Uncivilized (1955) More at IMDbPro »Jedda (original title)


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Release Date:
27 February 1957 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
It was DEATH for him to look on this Girl ! See more »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
A generation stolen? See more (6 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)
Ngarla Kunoth ... Jedda
Robert Tudawali ... Marbuck
Betty Suttor ... Sarah McMann
Paul Reynall ... Joe
George Simpson-Lyttle ... Douglas McMann
Tas Fitzer ... Peter Wallis
Wason Byers ... Felix Romeo
Willie Farrar ... Little Joe
Margaret Dingle ... Little Jedda
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
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Directed by
Charles Chauvel 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Charles Chauvel 
Elsa Chauvel 

Produced by
Charles Chauvel .... producer
 
Original Music by
Isador Goodman 
 
Cinematography by
Carl Kayser 
 
Film Editing by
Pam Bosworth 
Alex Ezard 
Jack Gardiner 
 
Sound Department
Arthur Browne .... sound
Peter Davies .... dubbing mixer
 

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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Jedda" - Australia (original title)
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Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Gevacolor)
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
There are several words or terms associated with Aboriginals used in the film - lubra (meaning woman or girl), coroboree (ceremony), didgeridoo (a musical instrument), walkabout (short period of nomadic bushlife undertaken by Aboriginals) and piccaninny (baby or child).See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: The rips in Jedda's shirt vary in the scenes after she and Marbuk are discovered near the waterhole.See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Tudawali (1988) (TV)See more »

FAQ

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10 out of 10 people found the following review useful.
A generation stolen?, 4 March 2002
Author: bamptonj from Melbourne

An aboriginal cook from a Northern Territory cattle station dies giving birth. The child is subsequently adopted by the proprietors - the McManns' - who have just lost their own daughter. The child is named 'Jedda', meaning 'little wild goose' and she is raised (as best Sarah can, yet against the pleaful wishes of her husband and coworkers) as a white girl ("bringing her closer to our way of life"), not knowing her own language or culture. Having learnt the piano, her A.B.C. and generally being taught how to behave a proper Australian woman, the polite girl soon comes to be greatly adored by all on the ranch. Yet come rainy season, when all her aboriginal friends 'head bush', Jedda regrets not being able to go with them.

Temporarily becoming a station-hand at the McManns' Station is Marbuck - a nomadic, fringe-dwelling Aborigine - whom Jedda is strangely drawn to. His tribe still observes the traditional customs of the Dreamtime as they were at the time of White Settlement. To Jedda, Marbuck is a true and absolute representation of the culture that has, because of her upbringing, always been denied and outrightly repressed (both by her 'parents' and subconsciously, herself). However, when she is unexpectedly abducted by him, she is somewhat abhorred by the experience. When Marbuck brings his new bride before his tribal elders, he is non-too-politely asked to leave his 'white' wife. The two head off into the bush; Jedda uncertain what her fate will be and Marbuck undecided what action he will take.

While the topical issue of the Stolen Generation may come to mind, this film is, I believe, in no way a comprehensive piece of propaganda in favor of such a process; in fact the message the film seems to give is a mixed one. At the start of the movie, Sarah's husband recognizes and extols the pride the local Aborigines have in their culture and respects them for retaining their ancestral links (though perhaps for material reasons) - "they go out on their walkabout and come back better stock-men for it." He pleads to Sarah not to try "turning that wild, little magpie into a tame canary. Her roots are deep, they don't tame, only on the outside...it takes a thousand years to 'tame' it, you're trying in one life". Sarah, however, insists in almost a missionary tone that adopting Jedda is the only action they can take if they are to bring "them" closer to the 'Australian' way of life: "that's the old cry isn't it...you think they like to sleep with their dogs and their flies?"

Made in 1955, of course, it does not try to counteract the attitude at the time that most Aborigines were fringe-dwellers and subservient to White Australia, though the film does not go out of its way to illustrate it either. Nevertheless, all the aborigines we see either exist as hired-hands especially dependent on the station's hospitality or can be categorized under the "gone bush", tribal stereotype that most Australians at the time subscribed to. Perhaps to cater for this expectation of a 1950's audience, the film makers have chosen to select unusually black Aboriginal actors. Even if not done on purpose, the cast of extras, filmed under garish-pastel Technicolor, look almost like they have been covered in Vaseline. If not for the desert scenes, an international audience may have thought they were seeing the clichéd charcoal Islanders of early Hollywood cannibal films, rather than the browner ingenious inhabitants we know today. They all address whites as "boss" and "missus".

This film is greatly entertaining and heartbreaking, epic in its scope and is genuinely well-made, though the local utilization of the color format (the first film in Australia to do so) may make you chuckle. There are some very tense moments in the film as well as some beautifully shot scenes of the outback, and this movie was totally made on location. JEDDA is, we are told, a true story.

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