peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2022 06 25 BitterSprings

Bitter Springs (1950)

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On a DVD extracted from the Orange City library, watched at the Temple Bar Caravan Park at Alice Springs. A very early Ealing Studios-in-Australia production in black and white, shot in South Australia near the Flinders Ranges. The plot is very stock: frontier violence, the customary story of the dispossession of indigenous people. What makes it worthwhile is that there is some great footage of a very expressive Aboriginal tribe (actually two). I enjoyed how they captured the critical role that sign language plays in a hunting culture. So, for the most part, it was far better than I expected, right up to that bust of an ending (reconciliation in ten seconds) where the Aborigines are somehow convinced to shear sheep, presumably in return for continued access to their waterhole. To be fair shearing did become part of the culture in some areas, alongside rugby league.

Paul Byrnes. Ozmovies. Deb Verhoeven: yeah, I also enjoyed Michael Pate's efforts here.