John Grant, a teacher working in the remote Australian town of Tiboonda, is under a financial bond with his Government job. At the end of term before Christmas holidays, he plans to visit his girlfriend in Sydney. In order to catch a flight to Sydney, he takes a train to the nearby mining town called Bundanyabba (or "The Yabba"), and plans to stay there overnight before moving on further to the airport. But things go grossly out of script as he is engulfed by the Yabba and its disconcerting residents.Written by
The movie had been out of circulation for decades because the negative went missing, sparking an international search. After a ten-year quest veteran Australian producer Anthony Buckley finally tracked it down in mid-2004 in a Pittsburgh warehouse, inside a shipping container marked "For Destruction". See more »
When John first meets Doc in the steakhouse, Doc's beer can switches from hand to hand whilst he is drinking. See more »
[checks his watch]
Alright, off you go.
[children clamour as they leave the classroom]
Happy Christmas, teacher!
Happy new year.
Thank you, Dave.
Give my love to your girlfriend in Sydney, sir.
I'll do that, Sam, thank you.
Have a happy holiday, sir.
[shakes his hand]
And you, Chris. Thank you. Enjoy yourself.
[...] See more »
Aside from changing the title to "Outback", all international prints credit Group W Films (the more-recognized American production partner) ahead of NLT Productions. With the restoration of the uncut Australian release, this has been reversed. See more »
Yet another first-class film made in Australia by foreigners (a Canadian director working for a British studio), during the long period from World War II to the early 1970s when Australian cinema lay fallow. Like many other good ones - "The Overlanders" (1946), "They're a Weird Mob" (1966), "Age of Consent" (1969), "Walkabout" (1971) - although "Walkabout" is more seriously flawed than the others I've named - it doesn't feel like a foreign film; it feels as if the director made an honest attempt to be Australian, and succeeded. It's interesting that all these films are British. American films shot in Australia during the same period are, without qualification, American films; one scarcely even notices that "On the Beach" was shot in Melbourne rather than, say, Capetown or Tierra del Fuego, however many trams and banksias there may be.
The central character is clearly English; just as clearly, he doesn't like Australia. But I suspect that even in 1971 a greater proportion of Australians would have felt themselves to have been trapped in Hell if they'd been in his circumstances, than English. A greater proportion of Australians, then as now, live in cities, and the outback is further away from over 90% of Australians than anything is from anyone in England.
It's interesting that this fellow should be so RIGHT about everything (The Yabba IS a "bloody terrible" place, the hospitality he encounters DOES border on aggression, the game of two-up IS about as simple-minded and dull as it's possible for a game of chance to be), and yet be such an unsympathetic, unimaginative prig with scarcely more insight than he has backbone. He always needs a local to tell him what's going on and even then he doesn't get it. Yet we follow him with fascination and real concern all the same.
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