Sundowners, The (Warner 1960, Robert Mitchum, Deborah Kerr)


By the late ’50s, American studios were experimentally shooting an occasional feature in Australia. Colorful story, The Sundowners, set in the ’20s and directed by Fred Zinnemann, features Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr as a hardworking drover and his wife who wander the continent working toward their dream of buying a farm.

Their family’s travels bring them into contact with outsized characters (including former ship’s captain Peter Ustinov) and Mitchum engages in his share of fighting and drinking. Their dreams nearly come to pass when Mitchum wins a horse that turns out to be a swift runner. The exotic vistas of Australia provide a harshly beautiful backdrop for drama and adventures.

Although many critics and fans site Mitchum’s performance in The Sundowners as one of his finest, Mitchum said in an interview, “All I did was feed [Deborah Kerr] some lines. She did all the rest. She’s really the one who can act.

Based on Jon Cleary’s novel.

Golden Globe for Special Achievements.

Academy Award Nominations: 5, including Best Picture; Best Director; Best Actress: Deborah Kerr.

Cast: Robert Mitchum, Deborah Kerr, Glynis Johns, Peter Ustinov, Michael Anderson Jnr, Dina Merrill, Wylie Watson, Chips Rafferty

Director: Fred Zinnemann
Producers: Gerry Blattner, Fred Zinnemann
Original Story: Jon Cleary
Director of Photography: Jack Hildyard
Editor: Jack Harris
Composer: Dimitri Tiomkin
Screenwriter: Isobel Lennart
Art Director: Michael Stringer

USA / Warner Bros. / 133 minutes / 1960

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