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UK / Australia 1947
Directed by
Ralph Smart
75 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

Bush Christmas (1947)

Written, produced and directed by Australian-born Ralph Smart for The Rank Organization and, as the credits tell us, the "Cinema Clubs For Boys And Girls", this charming little adventure story about of group of brave kids who pursue some horse thieves through the Australian bush to the inevitable end will appeal more to those old enough to remember seeing such fare at Saturday afternoon matinees for 6d than their modern equivalents.

With the exception of Chips Rafferty most of the cast were small-time Australian character actors such as John Fernside (Jim) and Stan Tolhurst (Blue) or in the case of the children, non-professionals and former film editor Smart's direction is at best workmanlike, giving the film a somewhat stitched-together feel, a quality confirmed by the post-production-added dialogue and sound effects.

Nevertheless, for a young audience brought up on the wholesome adventures of Enid Byton and The Secret Seven this would have been enjoyable fare, with mountainous Australian landscape being effectively used as a majestic setting for the action in George Heath's black and white photography.

BTW: The film was remade in 1983 with Nicole Kidman in the Helen Grieve role.




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