Weekends are kinda dead out here, so you can post odd things, and no one will mind. So I've decided to start looking through my movie closet. I have odd tastes....so today, for your perusal, Austrialian movies I liked, and why...
1) The Lighthorsemen
IMO, this is one of the all time best movies ever, from anywhere. The Battle of Beersheeba usually gets one sentence in American history books, if that, but if you've ever read T.E. Lawrence's "Seven Pillars of Wisdom", you saw some of the events in this movie from the back side. I fell in love with the idea of mounted infantry after seeing this movie. My husband actually found an Australian release DVD for me (no American one yet) and I was very pleased to see added scenes. What do I like best here? Well, other than the interaction between the men, the recreation of the Lighthorse's charge on Beersheeba is just magnificent to watch. ;o)
2) Phar Lap
I saw this in its very limited American theatrical release. A man and his horse, it's really the story of Tommy Woodcock, Phar Lap's best friend (who even makes a cameo appearance in the moive). It is a beautiful film, and I cry at the end every time. I actually went to the museum while in Australia to see the big red guy, (who is, indeed, quite large) and think that in some part, this movie was behind Iron Shoes.
3) The Man from Snowy River
Oh, heavens...high school days. This is the movie that made millions of American girls want to go to Australia, and we all had a crush on Tom Burlinson. Oddly, the movie plays better on the small screen than on the big screen. The sequel Return to Snow River has a great deal more Disney slickness and purtification, but it's still pretty good. I understand there's a TV series out there, as well, but no American release.
4) Starlight Hotel
Ok, this is from New Zealand, from the book "The Dream Mongers", I think. Why do I like this movie? It's not a 'great work' and the filming isn't sweeping a la LOTR. It just tells the story of a WW1 vet on the lam and a 12-year-old girl who meet and cross the NZ countryside. (I'm not certain Peter Phelps looked the right age for the character, but if he'd looked much older, it would have been creepy, I suspect.) It's kind of slow, and....soft....compared to most big movies. 'Overcoming the odds' again (See movies 1-3).
OK, this is a B movie, and still manages to have some good horse film despite that. But neither the acting or the filming should persuade anyone to buy this. Why did I buy it? During the scene where Alice is being driven to her Aunt's house for the first time, you hear a soprano singing. That was it. There's about 5 seconds of music so beautiful that it makes me cry everytime I watch it. Go figure.
6) The Far Country
I admit it, I know this was a miniseries in Australia--but I rented it at the video store like a movie, so I'm counting it into that lot. I think the story got me here. The American release of this on DVD has been expensive, but I suspect it's time I can start looking for it again.
5) Strictly Ballroom
I'm not big on musicals, or ballroom dancing, but who can resist this movie? It's candy-coated fluffy nonsense about....overcoming the odds....
What have I missed?