First in-depth factual Aussie mini-series on a genuine hero
The story of 'Chilla', aka 'Smithy', aka Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith, one of Australia's true heroes and arguably the world's greatest airman, explored in a warts and all 6-part mini-series. Possibly the first of its type; an honest and lengthy biography, portrayed by a fine cast who often closely resembled their true-life counterparts.
This cast is complimented by an intelligent script and faultless production values. If you didn't know the story is mostly factual, you'd be hard-pressed to believe Smithy's amazing life story. He lived life to the full and those around him often paid the price in not being able to maintain the pace.
Viewers used to modern day spectaculars with CGI-generated 'crowd scenes' will probably be disappointed with the crowd scenes herein. Produced on a relatively limited budget, you'll find few 'special effects', apart from the 'Southern Cross' aerial scenes. A radio controlled model was used for many of these though it certainly wasn't obvious to me.
The series deserved a special edition DVD but what you get from Umbrella is a washed-out transfer with pixilation, original TV title inserts and even, would you believe, 'countdown' inserts. It seems to have been taken directly off the TV release tapes without any editing at all.
I only hope that such a quality production is given a restored and remastered release, eventually. Despite the foregoing, I heartily recommend 'A Thousand Skies' as Australia's finest TV mini-series.
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