Sunday Too Far Away

Sunday Too Far Away (Ken Hannam, 1975) prod. Gil Brealey, Matt Carroll, South Australian Film Corporation, wr. John Dingwall, dp Geoff Burton, music Patrick Flynn; Jack Thompson, Max Cullen, Robert Bruning, Jerry Thomas, Peter Cummins, John Ewart, Sean Scully, Reg Lye, Graham Smith, Ken Shorter, Lisa Peers, Ken Shorter; 90 min.

Such a realistic portrayal of a shearer's life in the 1950s that it might almost be considered to be a documentary, this film was messed about with by the producer, so the missing subplot and consequent odd strands in the narrative may need some explanation.

The film was the first feature produced by the South Australian Film Corporation, established in 1972 by the state premier, Don Dunstan, to promote a commercially viable film industry in the state. ... shooting began in March 1974. Made entirely on location near Port Augusta and Quorn in South Australia (with the same shearing shed on Carriewerloo Station used fifteen years earlier in The Sundowners), the production struck severe rains and floods and was completed behind schedule early in May.
In the post-production phase, substantial cuts were made to the romantic sub-plot between Foley and the grazier's daughter, reducing the role of the girl to a few enigmatic appearances, and leaving a crucial scene (in which Foley breaks down and confesses his fears for the future) unmotivated and out of character. A scene in which Foley crashes his car and walks away from it in disgust was also moved from the end of the film to the beginning. Pike & Cooper: 287.

Considering all that was done to it in post-production and all the compromises that were made, Sunday Too Far Away emerges as an exceptional film ... Certainly there are plenty of plot holes, but the central situation, the camaraderie and rivalry among the shearers, is an exciting blend of documentary-style filming and tough, naturalistic acting. With its salty humour and its grim undertones, Sunday is one the most convincing explorations of men at work the screen has ever given us, and the moviong sequences involving Old Garth are quite unforgettable. Stratton: 105.


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