No corrections yet
; reviewed by
F. KEITH MANZIE
Hollytvood's latest por- trayal of Australia gives a Victorian actor his ^
first role in American
films, and a Sydney man a technical job.
. FAR LEFT: Star of "Botany Bay" is Alan Ladd, who plays part of American wrongfully convicted, sentenced to convict life in last-century Australia. . CENTRE: Patricia Medina plays a flouncy actress imprisoned for theft, and also deported to convict
. ABOVE: Newcomer to Hollywood but not to acting is Victorian Murray Matheson, who is a convict clergyman in Hollywood film "Botany Bay."
pARAMOUNT'S film "Botany Bay"
has some chance of having a true Australian flavor. It has, at least, five Australians in the cast, and
a Sydney-born man in charge of technicolor production, John Farrow.
The Aussies in the cast are four koalas flown to Hollywood from Sydney, and Vic- torian Murray Mathe-
Murray comes from Casterton and went to London before the war. Theatrical experience, including shows with Australians Madge Elliott and Cyril Rit chard, led to films.
After service with the R.A.F., he played in "The Way to the Stars." with John Mills and had a leading role in Bea- trice Lillie's West End stage " revue, "Better
About three years ago he went to America. In "Botany Bay" he plays the part of a reverend gentleman con- victed of treason.
The film - starring Alan
Ladd as an American stu aent unjusth accused of highw a\ robberv James Mason as a cruel arrogant ships captain and Patricia
Medina as a Di un Lane actress being depoit^d for theft - open« in notorious Newaate Prison in 1787
That s whe e we meet
Ladd and Matheson and a nine-\ear-old iJohn HardM with his mother (Dorotlvs Patten) whose respectne crimes aie stealine a loaf of bread and sheltering a wounded hichwavman
'THEY are bearing their
imprisonment moie or less stoicallv when their calm is shattered bv the announcement that Kms Georee III has ordered that the\ be transported to the end of the world to a remote British settlement berne established at Botam Ba\ New South Wales
So the piKoners set off m an Australia-bouna ship
. REVENGE by a mother ( Dorothy Patten) whose son Mason has starved in solitary confinement. Bursting into the cap- tain's cabin, she at- tacks him with a knife.
commanded by James Mason, whose brutal and maitinet control closely re- sembles " that of Captain Bligh in the ' Bounty "
But the lashings keel haulings and sontarj con- finements lmposea by tne tight-lipped captain are re- lieved somewhat bj the pre- sence on boaro of the vna (lous and spaikling-eved
jVJISS MEDINA, fresh
fiom her "Magic Cal pet" escapades, also
at the State Theatre, en- livens proceedings on the conuct ship b\ plaving a . double game ' w ith the cap- tain (Mason) and the man who resists" most stronelv lLadd)
The captain falls for the lao's charms and permits her the use of comparât« ely comfortable quaiters on the trip to Australia
But the fettered Ladd has not the same freedom for expressing his admiration When he is not undergoing the discomforts of beinc keelhauled or lashed with "the cat he is condemned to a solitarv existence below cecks
The. close attention of the sadistic skipper does not prevent Ladd from making several attempts to escape from the ship, with the co- operation of Malcolm Lee Beggs (a notorious "fence'
and London underwoild character), Jonathan Harris «another highway man >, Hugh Prjse (a pickpocket), the vouthful John Hardv, and his mother.
DUT in spite of these
desperate bids 'for freedom, Alan Ladd eventually armes on the forbidding shores of New South Wales with the rest of the prisoners.
The baleful eves of aborigines kangaroos, and kookaburras peer at them from the undergrowth as they m?ke their landina on the shores of Sjdnev Cove where Governor Phillip (Sir Cedric Harowicke) has es- tablished a settlement after finding Botany Bay unsuit-
The captain of the ship immediately demands that Ladd be hanged for his
. TRAPPED. Alan Ladd, a convict at Botany Bay, is thwarted in his es- cape plans by sadistic ship's cap- tain James Mason, who hopes to have Ladd hanged for his truculence and im-
tiuculent behavior on the
But the Governor answers
There are two purposes behind transportation cap- tain To eive people a chance to reform and to open up a new world Neither is accom- plished with corpses
Later Governor Phillip tells the american medical student who has had to do quite a bit of fullv-fledged aoctoring on the wav out
This can be a great land given the same chance as jour America had
The ruthless Mason is not finished with Ladd vet ir spite oi Governor Phillips firm stand against his dicta- torial demand5
The captain sets a trap for the medical man bj leaving a waj open for his escape When Ladd swallows the
bait and is captured by Mason and his men as he attempts to steal a boat and make for Timor, things look black for the hero of the story.
But the Australian abon gmes save the day.
In a burst of sudden hos- tility, the natives send their boomerangs whizzing through the air and their spears huitling into Mason's soldiers in an opportune fracas which solves a lot of problems for Ladd. the roguish Miss Medina and the rest of the convict crew.
Although Alan Ladd is given his pardon and the chance to return to England, he decides that Australia isn't a bad sort of place to stay in, anj-how.
Taking the not unrespon
sive Miss Medina' in his I
arms he tells her: I
"I have learnt a lot of thmes about this countrj* that makes pardons seem un- important. There is some- thing grand that is here for the taking ... for j'ou and for me with you-if j-ou'll have me!"
Well, there it is!