Australia / Channel 10 – Jethro – Australian Film Commission / 2×120 minute episodes / Broadcast 3-10 October 1985
Writer/Director: Ben Lewin / Camera: Vincent Monton / Costume: Rose Chong / Music: Greg Sneddon / Design: Tracy Watt / Producer: Bob Weis
When cafe owner and concert hall violinist Alex Engelhart escapes from Nazi occupied Austria and makes it to England he thinks his troubles are over. Unfortunately they are only just beginning, as soon as the second world war breaks out he is rounded up with other Jewish refugees and shipped off to Australia on the ship Dunera, the British Government of the day convinced that some of these refugees may in fact be enemy agents.
During the three years they spend in a POW cap in far western NSW the Dunera boys prove to be model prisoners, over time the rules of the prison are relaxed and and the refugees are able to integrate themselves into the local community.
Despite the hardships that the men have to go through this mini-series has an uplifiting feel and as a whole focuses on the way the men cope with their new surroundings and the accomplishments they manage along the way. Bob Hoskins is his usual brilliant self in the lead role and Warren Mitchell, that ebulliant gem of an actor, also has a prominent role.
Based on a real historical incident the Dunera Boys is top quality drama, well made and never afraid to show the harsher realities of life.
BOB HOSKINS as Morrie Mendellsohn
JOSEPH SPANO as Alexander Engelhardt
WARREN MITCHELL as Mr Braun
JOSEPH FURST as The Baron
JOHN MEILLON as Brigadier Templeton
SIMON CHILVERS as Colonel Berry
MARY-ANNE FAHEY as Naomi Mendellsohn
STEVEN VIDLER as Tropp
MOSHE KEDEM as Rabbi Aronfeld
MARK LITTLE as Private Dunstan
PAUL VANE-MASON as Friedkin
KIRK ALEXANDER as Captain Webber
JULIA BLAKE as Mum
SALLY COOPER as Kath
KIM GYNGELL as Private Bruce
JANE HOPKINS as Bernice Slattery