Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. Australia, 1983. The Australian Film Commission, Barron Entertainment, Bush Christmas Productions Pty. Ltd., Film and Television Institute W.A., Queensland Film Corporation. Screenplay by Ted Roberts. Cinematography by Ross Berryman, Malcolm Richards. Produced by Gilda Baracchi, Paul D. Barron. Music by Mike Perjanik. Production Design by Darrell Lass. Costume Design by Utopia Road. Film Editing by Ron Williams.
Charming family film that plays like a kid-friendly Walkabout or an Australian Darling Buds of May, made more interesting now by its being the feature debut of sixteen year-old Nicole Kidman. She’s the eldest daughter of the Thompson clan, who are approaching Christmas with heavy hearts as they are in danger of losing their farm to debt. Crisis really hits when horse thieves take three animals from their property in the middle of the night, prompting the kids to head into the wilderness with their Aboriginese ranch hand (Manalpuy) and chase the bad guys down while their worried mother waits at home, unable to get in touch with her husband who has gone off to sell their cattle because they need the money. Remade from the 1947 film made by the Rank Organization, this one never lets things get too serious or too dangerous, the climax involving the bad guys is quite humorously soft, but that only contributes to its sweet nature.