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The Australian exhibitor-distributor Greater Union (GU) was originally going to finance the film but director Graeme Clifford went off to direct Frances (1982) in which time GU lost interest but another Australian exhibitor-production group, Hoyts-Edgley, came on board, and agreed to finance the picture. See more »
At the conclusion of the cast list in the end credits it reads: Mr. Stillwell as himself. See more »
I expect the story behind this movie is something like: screenwriter (or director, or producer) reads Alan Moorehead's book "Cooper's Creek" and thinks "that'll make a great movie. But I will have to make a few (minor) changes to make it screen worthy". And so we get something that looks like a film student's very literal translation of book to screen, but "improved".
We have pretty much all the major incidents of Moorehead's book, but we have a vastly overplayed love interest (presumably because someone felt a female presence was necessary). We have someone's attempt to be "arty" with occasional flashbacks and other fractured story- telling, the sort of thing that might have been novel when Theodore Sturgeon employed it (for much the same reasons) in "The Man who Lost the Sea" in 1959 --- but 1959 was a long time ago and the technique has overstayed its welcome. And we have a desperate attempt to add a villain to the mix: whatever Moorehead ascribed to misunderstanding, the movie ascribes to incompetence. what Moorehead ascribes to incompetence the movie ascribes to malice.
So, is it worth watching? IMHO it's worth giving it a few minutes (with lots of fast forwarding) to get a feel for the terrain --- what it actually looks and feels like. But it's not worth more time than that unless you're interested in some particular deconstruction of the movie, like how it handled particular events.
Could it have been better? I don't know. The changes made were formulaic, but without them the movie would still have been somewhat plodding. I think the basic concept, trying to tell the story as a literal movies, was flawed from the start. A better alternative would have been a documentary, telling the same story but allowing for the background information which made the book rather more interesting than this movie. Another alternative would have been a much more grand scale re-imagining, for example an Australian road trip movie that covered the same route and continually referred to the original expedition, or the story of someone obsessed with the expedition and wanting to retrace the route.
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