A Son Is Born

A Son is Born (Eric Porter, 1946) prod. Eric Porter, wr. Gloria Bourner; Kitty Bluett, Peter Dunstan, Peter Finch, Jane Holland, John McCallum, Ron Randell, Muriel Steinbeck, b/w, 85 min.; family melodrama

Eric Porter produced and directed A Son is Born (1946) one of the very few Australian feature films made between WW2 and the Renaissance of the 1970s, but the fault for the central problem with the film prolly lies with Gloria Bourner, who wrote only this one. As Pike and Cooper (203) sum it up, the ‘novelettish plot’ has a ‘surly central character of unbelievable vindictiveness’. Which is a pity, because the photography by Arthur Higgins and no less than Damien Parer (the war sequences) is good, and so is the acting. Ron Randell (much too old for the role) does his best with his (until the final sequence) one-dimensional central character, and Peter Finch is OK, in his unlovely sixth film part as a philandering drunk. Muriel Steinbeck plays Randell’s mother in this one, having played his wife in Smithy (Ken G. Hall) which was released three months earlier, tho made later. Porter, sadly, directed only one other feature, not until twenty-five years later, an animated feature, Marco Polo Junior vs the Red Dragon (1972) - although it did win an AFI in 1973 for 'direction'.

... it was in the grimness of the film's mood that the trade expressed most fears about audience reactions. After much hesitation, the distributor, BEF, opened the film on 20 September 1946 at the Victory Theatre, Sydney, where it achieved 'solid' results. Although Porter's plans for another feature, Storm Hill, were well advanced, he turned instead to develop his more secure business as a producer of sponsored documentaries and commercials. Pike & Cooper: 203.

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