Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
Australia/USA, 1997. Samson Productions Pty. Ltd., Planet Pictures, YTC Motion Picture Investments, Village Roadshow Pictures. Story by David Giles, Martin Meader, Screenplay by Bruce Beresford, based on the diaries of Betty Jeffrey. Cinematography by Peter James. Produced by Greg Coote, Sue Milliken. Music by Ross Edwards. Production Design by Herbert Pinter. Costume Design by Terry Ryan. Film Editing by Tim Wellburn.
Cardboard characters and cliched situations are overwhelmed by the passionate performances and beautiful music of this World War II drama. It tells the story of a vocal orchestra that was formed when British women living in Singapore were taken prisoner by the Japanese. Glenn Close and Pauline Collins play the two women who come up with the idea in order to boost morale in the camps and bring their favourite orchestral pieces to their fellow inmates through voices instead of musical instruments. A notably early role for Cate Blanchett is featured here, as well as strong support by an amazing cast, but the rarity of seeing this little-told chapter of history being made into a film will have to suffice as it is not actually made with the level of nuance that one has come to expect from the usually more reliable Bruce Beresford.