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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>
Peter Carver was only cast as Clint the Shearer only after the actor first cast was cast in a different part. See more »
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 »
Robert Mitchum had one undeniable talent as an actor, his phenomenal ability to pick up and use any kind of accent or dialect. I can't think of another actor who could have so convincingly played a New England hood in The Friends of Eddie Coyle, native Irish in Ryan's Daughter and A Terrible Beauty, and pure Australian in The Sundowners. Although the rest of the cast is great, it's his performance that pivots the whole film.
The movie itself is amazing in that the characters created are so engaging that even though the film really has no plot, just a series of connected wanderings, you enjoy it nevertheless. The film ending is also offbeat. Normally you would think that Deborah Kerr would win out in her desire to settle down on a farm. But unusual for Hollywood she gives in to Mitchum's wanderlust.
In their travels herding sheep through rural Australia of the 1920s these people, hardworking and living close to the poverty line look like their lives are fun. Like Mitchum's Paddy Carmody says he has no worries and no ulcers because he doesn't own any property or has any money in the bank. A whole lot like the real Mitchum in his Kerouac like youth. It's what makes this film just good fun.
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