Following the lives of a dozen Australian soldiers who served in the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) during World War I which follows them from the 1915 battle of Galipoli, to ... See full summary »
It's 1922; somewhere in Australia. When a Native Australian man is accused of murdering a white woman, three white men (The Fanatic, The Follower and The Veteran) are given the mission of ... See full summary »
Palestine, 1917. The British advance has been stopped by the Turkish line running from Gaza to Beersheba. The latest attack on Gaza has failed. The attacking forces included a regiment of Australian mounted infantry, the Light Horse... Lighthorseman Frank is wounded in a skirmish with Bedouin. He is replaced by a young soldier, Dave, who proves to be a crack shot, but reluctant to fire at the enemy. Dave proves himself during a German biplane attack. Recuperating in hospital, he meets a sympathetic nurse, Anne... The regiment is called upon for a bold flanking attack on Beersheba. But how do you convince the Turks the main attack will come at Gaza? And how do you attack across a desert without water?Written by
During pre-production about six hectares or fifteen acres of fully plumbed horse-yards were constructed at the country town of Hawker in South Australia's Flinders Ranges to hold about one hundred and twenty horses. See more »
Hey, Scotty, you're not Scotch, are you?
Then, why do they call you Scotty?
Cause I'm Irish.
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A First World War Australian cavalry -- sorry, mounted infantry -- film set in the Holy Land, that's not something one tends to see every day. So, for me, the fact that, yes, the characters and situations can be a little clichéd at times is far outweighed by the novelty of the whole scenario. Quibbles are easy to put to one side.
The cavalry distinction is important. Cavalry would be armed with carbines and sabres. Mounted infantry have rifles and dismount in order to fight. This subtlety plays a part in the outcome.
A series of small skirmishes heightens tension within the film until the exciting finale, when there is a fantastic, large scale, cav ... mounted infantry charge which got my pulse racing. You'll recall something similar in David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia". This set piece is bigger. Johnny Turk was the villain that time too.
This being an Australian Imperial Force meets the British Army sort of film, there is bound to be a little Pommy-bashing going 'round. When I lived briefly in Australia a decade ago, I found Pommy-bashing to be the single unattractive facet to the Australian national character. (The Kiwis don't do it. We like Poms here too. Pity the Dominions can't agree on that one.) So while some of the Poms in this film might be a few sheep short of a paddock, still there *is* balance, with one Pom who is much cleverer than the average. Bashing even works its way into the plot, a nice touch that.
The film does not use an excessive amount of Strine lingo -- billy, tucker -- so very little acclimatization is necessary for the uninitiated.
I can't vouch for the overall authenticity of this film. But I did notice that campaign map in the Turkish commander's office. It's labelled in Arabic only. Egypt is identified as "Misr". Geez, that is the correct Arabic name. And the Ottomans were still using the Arabic alphabet at the time. (It's Atatürk after the war who switched Turkish over to the Roman alphabet.) The thing's fair dinkum, mate. If they cared enough to get details like that right, then I'm sure that says a lot about the effort put into the film as a whole.
There is an earlier Australian film about the Light Horse I'd like to see, "Forty Thousand Horsemen" from 1940 or '41 (sources differ). Finding a copy of that film in this hemisphere though would be extraordinary, a bit like finding a North American who likes Vegemite.
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