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The Naked Country

Naked Country, The (Tim Burstall, 1985) aka Morris West's The Naked Country; prod. Ross Dimsey for Naked Country Productions, wr. Tim Burstall, Ross Dimsey, from novel by Morris West, dp David Eggby, music Bruce Smeaton, design Philip Warner, ed. Tony Paterson; John Stanton, Rebecca Gilling, Ivar Kants, Tommy Lewis; Charters Towers Qld; colour, 35mm, 90 min.

Burstall turns the film into an Australian western, and much of The Naked Country is quite exciting, especially in the scenes in which hero John Stanton struggles to survive after he has been wounded by Aboriginal lances and left to die in the bush. Unfortunately, the sentiments of the 50s which are basic to the novel, although worked over considerably in the screenplay by Burstall and Dimsey, still come across in the 80s as patronising and insensitive towards blacks, and this impression is heightened by the embarrassing miscasting of Neela Dey, an Asian actress who had played Junie Morosi in the mini-series The Dismissal. To cast Ms Dey as an Aboriginal woman in the mid-80s bogges the mind; it might have been supposed that such clangers ended back in 1967, when Ed Devereaux and Kamahl appeared as Aborigines in an almost-forgotten shocker called Journey out of Darkness. David Stratton: 72-3.

Garry Gillard | New: 9 February, 2013 | Now: 24 June, 2020