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Botany Bay (1952)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama, Romance | 7 October 1953 (USA)
In 1787, American medical student Hugh Tallant and British convicts are sent from London to New South Wales on a ship commanded by the evil Captain Gilbert.

Director:

John Farrow

Writers:

Jonathan Latimer (screenplay), Charles Nordhoff (novel) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Alan Ladd ... Hugh Tallant
James Mason ... Capt. Paul Gilbert
Patricia Medina ... Sally Munroe
Cedric Hardwicke ... Gov. Phillips (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
Murray Matheson ... Rev. Mortimer Thynne
Dorothy Patten Dorothy Patten ... Mrs. Nellie Garth
John Hardy John Hardy ... Nat Garth
Hugh Pryse Hugh Pryse ... Ned Inching
Malcolm Lee Beggs Malcolm Lee Beggs ... Nick Sabb
Anita Sharp-Bolster ... Moll Cudlip (as Anita Bolster)
Jonathan Harris ... Tom Oakly
Alec Harford Alec Harford ... Brig-keeper Jenkins
Noel Drayton ... Second Mate Spencer
Brandon Toomey Brandon Toomey ... Guard (as Brendan Toomey)
Ben Wright ... Deck Officer Green
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Storyline

In 1787 prisoners from London's Newgate Gaol are to be shipped to New South Wales. Hugh Tallant is an American medical student whom, we learn at sea, was falsely imprisoned. Because of his attempt to escape, evil Captain Gilbert decides to return him to England on charges of mutiny. Events, including arrival of plague, keep Tallant busy in New South Wales. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

SAVAGE as the Great Continent They Invaded!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 October 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Les bagnards de Botany Bay See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,900,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A ship called the Charlotte which sailed with the First Fleet under a Captain Gilbert really existed. See more »

Quotes

Hugh Tallant: I'd rather be a free man running than the most comfortable slave in the world.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Never Fear Smith Is Here! (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Too bad it wasn't shot in Australia
20 September 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Other reviewers of Botany Bay have complained about the lack of location shooting in this film. Two very good reasons for Paramount's decision to opt for the back lot. First it was expensive to go to Australia for an American company. I'm sure that there are Aussie films that deal with this particular portion of their history far better than Botany Bay.

But secondly this was the last picture on Alan Ladd's Paramount contract. He and his agent/wife Sue Carol made a decision to move to Warner Brothers so Paramount was getting rid of the last film on his contract. They were not about to spend big bucks promoting a star who wasn't going to be bringing in more box office for them.

Having said that Botany Bay is not a bad film and it certainly did give American audiences some idea about the founding of Australia as a haven for convict prisoners. One of our original 13 colonies, Georgia, was founded for just that reason also, but here a whole continent was devoted to same.

Ladd plays an American accused of being a highwayman in Great Britain. The fact he was an American probably played some role in his conviction so shortly after the American Revolution in the 1780s. He's saved from the hangman by this offer of pardon to go to Australia and he travels on a crowded ship, skippered by a sadistic captain.

Who is played by James Mason who basically steals the film. The novel on which this is based is by Nordhoff and Hall who wrote Mutiny on the Bounty and there's a whole lot of Captain Bligh in Mason. We've also got Patricia Medina, a saucy wench who likes Ladd, but flirts with Mason for her survival on the ship in some comfort.

Not a bad film, but not the greatest of send offs for one of Paramount's biggest stars.


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