Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Sundowners (1960)


In this Turner Classic Movie regular film, Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr portray early 20th Century itinerant ranch workers in the “Outback” of Australia.  They travel taking temporary positions in the sheep industry playing out a plot sub context of being free to move and take positions like they do versus settling down and raising their own sheep.  This is played against the setting of the wide open landscape of the massive open space that is central Australia.

The importance of the sheep industry and its nature in Australia is the first obvious geographic element to notice.  Sheep are raised, moved and loaded much as one found in the early cattle business of the United States; as shown in many western movies.  As Americans drove in cattle drives, so do we see Australians driving sheep to rail heads and/or shearing stations.  You get to observe sheep shearing as a major segment is at one of these stations.

The landscape shown is vast and very arid.  The same sorts of hazards present themselves in Australia, as in the United States, with the exception of native community attacks.  We see the distances and time to cross them.  We see the danger of fires.  The kangaroos are a fun element as we cross these areas, but dangerous animals do exist.

The vastness of the landscape is obvious to the careful and casual  viewer.  Scene after scene has unlimited perspective.  That vastness is dry.  One gets thirsty watching.  The ground looks dry.  The plants look dry.  The vegetation is sparse. 

The actual shooting sites varied widely.  IMDb lists the following Australian sites as those used in making The Sundowners:

Carriewerloo Station, South Australia, Australia
Cooma, New South Wales, Australia
Corrabera Station, South Australia, Australia
Corunna Station, South Australia, Australia
Flinders Ranges, South Australia, Australia
Hawker, South Australia, Australia
Nimmitabel, New South Wales, Australia
Iron Knob, South Australia, Australia
Port Augusta, South Australia, Australia
Quorn, South Australia, Australia
Saltia Creek, South Australia, Australia
Snowy Mountains, New South Wales, Australia
South Australia, Australia
Whyalla, South Australia, Australia


IMDb.  2015.  The Sundowners.  Internet.