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Australia 1977
Directed by
Ken Hannam
102 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Break Of Day

An unjustly overlooked also-ran from the 1970s Australian Film Renaissance Stakes, this post-WW1 costume drama about a Gallipoli veteran (Andrew McFarlane) who returns to his small country town home and begins an affair with a visiting painter (Sara Kestelman) is deftly directed by Hannam and enhanced by AFI Award-winning cinematography by Russell Boyd (with John Searle as assistant).

Hannam who had made the classic Sunday Too Far Away the previous year does a fine job with this more elegiac piece, as carefully detailed a production as any of the better-known Lawrentian costumes dramas that were so popular at this time. Casting, however, probably did the film no favours, McFarlane who has had a long career in Australian  television subsequently is too bland for the lead and Kestelman who was imported from the UK, equally lacks fire. Partly this is due to Hannam's tack and the script by Cliff Green (who had scripted the hugely successful  Picnic At Hanging Rock (1975) adopting a too measured tone with the story of seduction and heartbreak unfolding with a remarkable lack of drama (although a bodice-ripping approach would no doubt have had disastrous results).

Clearly made to satisfy the taste of the times but done so with a good deal of finesse, Break Of Day deserves to be better known.

DVD Extras: Theatrical Trailer

Available from: Umbrella Entertainment




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