A slice of Aussie life...compromised by non-Aussie leads
Ray Lawler's play about two tempestuous sweetheart couples coping with the layoff season in Sydney, Australia comes to the screen without much humor and a misguided heart. Sugar cane cutters Ernest Borgnine and John Mills take Kewpie doll collector Anne Baxter and manicurist Angela Lansbury to South Australia to rest up and look for holiday work--but trouble brews with Borgnine, who has mysteriously left his job after fifteen years. Practically without plot, this character study has become, on film, a visual journey rather than an emotional or personable one. Paul Beeson's cinematography is certainly striking, even as the entangled relationships and mercurial tempers at the forefront of the story quickly wear themselves out. Forget about accents, these actors (interestingly, if unsuccessfully, cast) don't even look like Aussie natives. Borgnine's strong sense of character and natural way with a complicated chunk of dialogue nearly saves him, but it was a fundamental error to surround these stars with unknown players who really do sound like Australians. The lively section at the amusement park is full of raucous vitriol and Beeson's playful visual composition, but every scene back at the boarding house is a lost cause. A very strange project, indeed. ** from ****
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?