In Australia’s Outback during the early 20th century the impoverished Carmody family lives a nomadic life out of their wagon but the mom and son want to settle while the dad is against it. HERE COME “THE SUNDOWNERS”!
Across Six Thousand Miles of Excitement…Across a Whole World of Adventure Comes the Rousing, Story of Real People Called “The Sundowners”!
The renowned cast. The rugged country. The joyous adventure classic. The Sundowners are here! A roaring chip on their shoulder—A rousing challenge on their lips! There’s a new word for EXCITEMENT…There’s a new name for ADVENTURE… HERE COME “THE SUNDOWNERS”! They’re real people, fun people, fervent people. They have a tremendous urge to keep breathing. Their rousing story comes roaring across six thousand miles of excitement… FILMED IN AUSTRALIA. YOU are part of its blazing excitement…its elemental drama…its rousing laughter, all of which made ‘The Sundowners’ the year’s record-shattering tops in entertainment ! AUSTRALIA as seen through the eyes of FRED ZINNEMANN who gave you ‘HIGH NOON’ ‘FROM HERE TO ETERNITY ‘THE NUN’S STORY’, etc etc ACTUALLY FILMED IN AUSTRALIAN LOCATIONS Thrill to a new kind of outdoor adventure !
For such a gifted actor as Robert Mitchum to go unrecognized by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a shame and makes one glad that George C. Scott did what he did in refusing to receive the Oscar for his amazing work in “Patton.” I don’t want to mention Marlon Brando because I’m still not certain what he was up to. He seemed to want attention more than to make a statement when he flaunted the Academy. Added to this shame is the same Academy virtually ignoring Mitchum’s co-star in this movie Deborah Kerr, also deserving of more formal recognition for her contributions to the Hollywood dream machine. Anyone who has any doubt about the outstanding acting abilities of these two stars needs only watch “The Sundowners” to see where I’m coming from. The rest of the cast in “The Sundowners” add to the overall effectiveness of the movie, especially the brilliance of Peter Ustinov.
There is really not much of a story. The film is more of a character study of a vagabond with a wife and a son who is trying to make a living as a sheep drover in the outback of Australia. He encounters a rather mysterious man Rupert Venneker (Ustinov) who becomes his hired hand to help with the sheep. Paddy Carmody (Mitchum) is very happy with this hand to mouth existence, living in a tent or sleeping out amongst the stars, keeping a little change in a jar, but his wife and son prefer a more settled existence, dreaming of owning their own ranch. Director Fred Zinnemann captures the essence of vagabond life down under filming on location in Australia, showing the exotic wild life in all its beauty and spender. Technicolor and wide-screen heighten the viewers enjoyment of this tale of dreams fulfilled and unfulfilled in a land that is still somewhat mysterious to the average American.
Of special note is the Australian music used by Zinnemann. In the first pub scene Mitchum bellows out in a drunken Aussie accent one of John Ford’s favorites, “Wild Colonial Boy,” but then sings a ballad that is seldom heard on the big screen, “Botany Bay,” about the infamous penal colony from which modern Australia sprang. The versatile Robert Mitchum was also a singer and songwriter. He helped write the music of his production of “Thunder Road” and even had somewhat of a hit recording of the title song in 1958. Rupert Venneker (Ustinov) makes fun of Paddy’s voice in “The Sundowners,” but actually it wasn’t bad.
This is a rather long film, over two hours, but a highly enjoyable one. I first saw it on the big screen when I was a senior in high school. It was one of those flicks that stays with a person. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing it a few more times since. It is still as fresh and as good as when first released.
The Sundowners (1960) Full Length Spaghetti Western Films