Dramatization of the 1932/33 Test cricket series between England and Australia. Played in Australia, the series gained notoriety in Australian and worldwide cricketing history for the fact ... See full summary »
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Dramatization of the 1932/33 Test cricket series between England and Australia. Played in Australia, the series gained notoriety in Australian and worldwide cricketing history for the fact that the English team (headed by captain Douglas Jardine) applied a bowling technique called "leg theory", or more commonly, Bodyline. This technique involved bowlers bowling the ball directly at the batsman's body, and resulted in many of the Australian team receiving numerous bruises and injuries, with batsman Bert Oldfield sustaining a cracked skull. The series generated much anger and resentment towards the English team within Australia and seriously damaged Anglo-Australian cricketing relations at the time. Written by
Dave Bowyer <email@example.com>
It's been twenty years since I last saw this tour de force of war movies, and, having watched it again just last night, it hasn't aged one day. Sadly, I have. And when I was fourteen, in 1985, (when England had just regained the Ashes from the nice version of Allan Border and his chubby Australians) my love of the sport was far more pure and non-partisan. So it's through those youthful eyes, unsullied by nationalistic distortions, that I will rate this production as 'simply terrific', and for so many reasons: production standards, performances, faith to the sport, and editing are all of the highest calibre, all designed to grip and to entertain and never slipping into the badlands of the docu-drama. This is just great drama, dramatically portrayed, and edge-of-the-seat exciting in its frequent recreational sequences, and in its portrayal of the political and international tensions those sequences allegedly caused.
But what about now, twenty years on? Well, we've just won again, so I really don't care about the 'bias' or the occasional inaccuracies. In fact, upon watching it once more, I realised that perceptions are vital when it comes to representing your country in any sport, indeed in any situation: and the Australian perception of the ruthless Jardine and his foot soldiers at the time is, in fact, faithfully reflected. Of course, that gives the film a wonderfully juicy, ironic dimension in 2006: the all-conquering Australian superstars clearly learnt a lot from Jardine (took them long enough) about ruthlessness, while all we learnt from the Aussies of the same era was how to whinge. Although the worm seems to be turning - yet again...
To all cricket fanatics from opposite sides of the world, this is an absolute must-see, or 'must-see again' if you saw it when it first appeared all those years ago, as I did.
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