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In the Australian Outback, the Carmody family--Paddy, Ida and their teenage son Sean--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. Written by
Jeanne Armintrout <email@example.com>
During the shearing contest, at the first break, Robert Mitchum collapses onto his seat and his opponent is shown in the background getting his pipe out of his pocket, lighting up and smoking. Then the camera cuts to a closeup of the opponent and he is shown getting his pipe out and lighting up again. See more »
A gentle study of a cheerful, loving Australian family whose whole life is one of adventure
Frequently slow, solemn and simplistic, the films of Fred Zinneman are the work of a director who appears to have equated artistry with neatness, objectivity with aloofness, and significance with decorative, humorless reverence
"The Sundowners" was perhaps the best 'Australian' film made up to that time, and was, incidentally, a perceptive study of a marriage: Deborah Kerr was the wife who wanted to settle down, and Robert Mitchum the husband who didn't It reveals much about their life-style and the land in which they live Their good teenaged son Sean (Michael Anderson Jr.) explains the meaning of a sundowner as someone whose home is wherever he happens to be when the sun goes down
So Paddy (Mitchum) and Ida (Kerr) are a warm and well-adjusted couple with one grown son, except for one argumentthe struggle between his love of being a wanderer and her fundamental desire for the stability of a home Paddy was a man who couldn't settle in one place For him, most places were fit only for arrivals and departures
The filmwhich constantly endeavored to show the Australian woman's compassion for the problems of women in a big male societyis also a happy celebration with other notable participants being Glynis Johns as an awfully pleasant barmaid-innkeeper who loves men's company and knows how to deal with them; Peter Ustinov as an educated but slightly mysterious Englishman, a likable drifter, a kind of an elderly turtle who wears a nautical cap, with wealth of experience, but not much of a mind to make use of it This turtle signs on as a drover with Paddy, apparently not so much for a job but for something to pass the time
Outstanding is a scene in which Ida, as a woman with no makeup, sitting on the wagon, spots in the window of a stationary train a well-dressed woman who obviously has all the things she doesn't... They look at each other for an instance as the rich woman applies powder to her face Ida gently lifts her fingers over her cheeks They stare at each other and we rapidly notice Ida's thoughts
"The Sundowners" is one of the very best of Mitchum's films In the pub sequence, he is at his best when he sings "Botany Bay" and "Lime Juice Tub."
Deborah Kerr gave the role both a touch of delicacy and a touch of sensuality She wins, for her impressive performance, her sixth and last Oscar nomination
The motion picture, splendidly photographed in Technicolor and with a nice atmospheric music, contains fires in the dry forests, shearing contests, fist-fights, the Aussie's love of beer, a game of two-up, a big race meeting, much of the beautiful Australian landscape and the life on sheep farming stations
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