Three journalists, Charles Bean, Ellis Ashmead Bartlett and Phillip Schuler, arrive at Gallipoli with the invading British and Allied troops in 1915. They will report the war but are ...
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Emily Alyn Lind
Three journalists, Charles Bean, Ellis Ashmead Bartlett and Phillip Schuler, arrive at Gallipoli with the invading British and Allied troops in 1915. They will report the war but are prevented from getting out the true story of an unfolding disaster. From encampment in Cairo to Anzac Cove to the evacuation, this is the story of journalists who will not accept that truth be the first casualty. This is the story of the men who will not shut up. The actions of these men will help change the course of the campaign, ensure that a strategic disaster becomes a legend of human heroism, and leave an impregnable mark on each of their lives. Written by
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Not long before "Deadline Gallipoli" was shown on TV, a panel of
entertainment reviewers commented on how Australians were getting
Gallipoli'd out as we approached the 100th anniversary of the landing.
They discussed the avalanche of documentaries, special features and
media events commemorating the event. They felt that overkill was the
main reason the recent, big budget mini-series, "Gallipoli", had not
rated well. However, they had high hopes for this two-part series,
which covered the war correspondent's role in the campaign. Was such
For the most part the answer is yes, but with reservations in a few
The story covers the attempts of four correspondents to report the
Gallipoli campaign: Englishman, Ellis Ashmead Bartlett (Hugh Dancy),
and Australians, Charles Bean (Joel Jackson), Phillip Schuler (Sam
Worthington) and Keith Murdoch (Ewan Leslie). The series gives a
fascinating insight into the way the military hierarchy tried to censor
every report mainly to cover their own shortcomings.
The film's strength is in the believable, sometimes witty exchanges
between the characters, which lets us know what is happening without
resorting to narration. The script, and a well-chosen cast define the
characters of the men involved: the more rebellious Bartlett, Schuler
and Murdoch against the somewhat straight-laced and studious Bean. It
takes a good script to hold the attention through the intrigues of that
100-year old campaign, but "Deadline Gallipoli" is full of tension.
Where it suffers is in depictions of the campaign it seems the budget
could only stretch so far. For example, the advance of three thousand
Australians across the flat plain at Krithia is represented here by a
couple of dozen extras scampering around on a hillside. For the most
part, the major complaint about the recreations is lack of scale rather
than outright distortion, but the Charge at the Nek is a different
This must be put down to a brain snap on the part of the filmmakers.
Only masochists would run the risk of such a weak offering being
compared with Peter Weir's masterful recreation of the event in 1981's
"Gallipoli". It's almost as though the rigorous research that informed
the rest of the production simply didn't take place here.
Charles Bean was not in the front line at the Nek during the charge nor
was 'Push on' Antill. As for the latter threatening to shoot men who
would not climb out is something I haven't read in any of Charles
Bean's accounts or in John Hamilton's well-researched, "Goodbye Cobber,
God Bless You". It's a pity that this strange scene was included in a
drama, which has as its central theme the honest and accurate reporting
With that said, "Deadline Gallipoli" is probably the best of the
current crop of mini-series and recreations about Gallipoli. It brings
to life with a degree of intelligence, men who made an impact on the
times they lived in and shaped history as we know it.
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