Newest Reviews
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Gentlemen Broncos
To the Stars
Lady Godiva Rides Again
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A
This is a Hijack
Loved One, The
Jumanji: The Next Level
Krabi 2562
Call of the Wild, The
Diary of a Country Priest
Sea Fever
Throw Down
Grudge, The
Green Man, The
Specialists, The
Romantic Comedy
Going Ape!
Infinite Football
Little Women
Camino Skies
Another Shore
Cry Havoc
Legend of the Stardust Brothers, The
Mystery Team
Westward the Women
Man Who Killed Don Quixote, The
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
Murder Inferno
Overlanders, The
Can You Keep a Secret?
Women in Revolt
Newest Articles
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
  Overlanders, The The Longest Cattle Drive
Year: 1946
Director: Harry Watt
Stars: Chips Rafferty, John Nugent Hayward, Daphne Campbell, Jean Blue, Helen Grieve, John Fernside, Peter Pagan, Frank Ransome, Stan Tolhurst, Marshall Crosby, John Fegan, Clyde Combo, Henry Murdoch
Genre: Western, Drama, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Australia in 1942, and the fear is that Japan will invade the Northern Territory, so drastic action must be taken. Although the white population numbers a mere five thousand, the number of cattle is far more as farming is the prevailing occupation in that region, and the Government have decided that to make sure the Japanese get none of their resources, the animals must be slaughtered and their carcasses burned. But not everyone is happy about this as a preventative measure, and cattleman Dan McAlpine (Chips Rafferty) is one of them: he believes the cows can be saved, though to do so would involve driving hundreds of them across the continent in a potentially very dangerous operation with no guarantee of success. But Dan is convinced, and convinces the authorities too...

As the opening credits tell us, The Overlanders was based on a true story, though none of the actual people who took part in the cattle drive were depicted in this fictionalised version of an event that, it turned out, was unnecessary as the Japanese did not invade Australia. Still, this film had been in production from Britain's Ealing Studios since the war had been underway, and though it was over by the point of release, it was a huge hit in Australia, partly because of the novelty of watching a project from their own homeland, and made a star of Rafferty who became something of an iconic presence in that nation's films. Since they were looking for homegrown heroes, Rafferty fit the bill as an unpretentious, down to earth but endlessly capable representative of the national character.

In Britain, as with many places around the globe, Westerns out of Hollywood were the most popular form of entertainment as far as movies went (but other media like books as well), yet making that genre outside of America was not going to be too impressive as far as emulating their success went - this was a couple of decades before Europeans, like the Italians, found their Westerns becoming very popular indeed. One solution for Ealing was to set up shop in Australia, where there were plenty of plains and deserts all the better to recreate the mood of the prairie which would not have been possible in Britain, and the films they made there were essentially Westerns in all but name. Just look at the imagery of The Overlanders and you would see men riding around on horseback - women, too - baking hot weather, acres upon acres of frontier territory, all the trappings of the American genre, basically.

Yet Australia, while having things in common with the United States, also has differences, and it was important to render the particular personality and characteristics of the land in those Ealing films, despite them being made with British talent - the director here, Harry Watt, had been chosen because of his documentary experience in Africa, which was considered close enough to Oz to make the most of his experience. Visually, he packed in as much of the landscape as he could, and though his cast were of varying levels of competence as far as acting went, they came across as authentic, as did almost everything here. The plot was essentially one damn thing after another as the cattle are placed in peril, and in fact so are some of the cattlemen, with the danger of running out of water, falling off cliffs and so forth the sort of issues they were facing. There was even space for romance, as Scottish sailor Peter Pagan gets to know cattlewoman Daphne Campbell, a former beauty queen in her only film role, but it was the environment you would take away from The Overlanders, no matter how monotonous the storyline threatened to become. Music by John Ireland (not the actor).

[Technically, this is a British film, hence Network releasing it on Blu-ray under their The British Film label. An image gallery is the extra.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 227 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Hannah Prosser
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Rachel Franke
Paul Smith


Last Updated: