Sunday Too Far Away (1975) HD online
|Cast overview, first billed only:|
|Max Cullen||-||Tim King|
|Peter Cummins||-||Arthur Black|
|Reg Lye||-||Old Garth|
|Laurie Rankin||-||Station hand|
|Lisa Peers||-||Sheila Dawson|
|Gregory Apps||-||Michael Simpson|
The Port Augusta Town Hall doubled as both a film set and a production headquarters while location shooting was being undertaken in the Flinders Ranges district. The interiors of a pub bar, complete with running beer, were created by art director David Copping in the town hall's basement
A two-and-a-half (approximately 150 minute) version existed before its Sydney Film Festival Premiere. A two hour director's cut played at this Sydney Film Festival on 1 June 1975. The final release cut runs just over an hour and a half (94 minutes). Australian film historian, critic and curator Paul Brynes has said: "Thirty minutes of the original film were cut by producers, and some critics suggest the removal of important subplots might have diminished the story. The 'director's cut' has never been made available to the public."
The first Australian film to be invited to the Cannes Film Festival.
The main tagline for the film: "Friday night... too tired. Saturday night... too drunk. Sunday... too far away" is called The Shearer's Wife's Lament.
Leading man Jack Thompson sings the title song.
For the final edit, producer Gil Brealey, who was in charge of finalizing the film, swapped the opening and closing scenes around. According to the book 'Australian Film 1900-1977' by Ross Cooper and Andrew Pike, "A scene in which Foley [Jack Thompson] crashes his car and walks away from it in disgust was also moved from the end of the film to the beginning".
Reportedly, an average day's total crew cost on this picture was $3,500 (Australian).
Director Ken Hannam once said of the bad weather that affected this film's shoot: "It was incredible! We just had to chuck the schedule out of the window. The thing that hurt most was that it was a film about heat and somehow we had to retain that feeling. The twenty-minute drive to the shearing shed would take two hours there and two hours back. We were always covered in mud. It was particularly hard on Matt Carroll, the production manager who was really acting as field producer...The dry, parched areas we'd seen during the recces were muddy lakes. So much of the film was improvised around what we had at our disposal. It's a big tribute to cast and crew that it worked out at all".
According to 'Home Cinema', Director "Ken Hannam had been working for British television for six years (making episodes of Z Cars (1962) and Dr. Finlay's Casebook (1962), amongst others) when he was sent John Dingwall's treatment, then called simply 'Shearers'. Dingwall's original treatment would have made a very long film: half of it dealt with the characters of the shearers, with a second half covering the 1956 shearers' strike. Dingwall reduced his screenplay in length, with only a few scenes at the end touching on the strike. (A final caption tells us how the strike was resolved.) Hannam's cut ran about half an hour longer than the final version, which was edited to its present running time by producer Gil Brealey, who removed at least one subplot. This version played at Cannes in the Director's Fortnight and won the 1975 Australian Film Institute Award for Best Film (beating Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) amongst others). Hannam and Jack Thompson have spoken of how superior the longer version was. As Hannam's cut has never been shown publicly, it's impossible to tell if they are right or whether Brealey, less close to the material, was".
This picture was one of fifty Australian films selected for preservation as part of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia's Kodak / Atlab Cinema Collection Restoration Project.
The first theatrical feature film produced by the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC). The SAFC was established and incorporated three years earlier in 1972. Prior to this feature film, the SAFC had produced short films and documentaries such as Kangaroo Island (1974) and The Players (1974).
Brian Kavanagh was originally touted to direct the movie.
Sheep were shorn outside the theatre at the film's Opening Night Sydney Film Festival Premiere screening on the evening of 1 June 1975.
First ever Australian film to be selected for the Director's Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival. This film made the final three shortlist for top honors in this event.
The majority of the cast had to have their hair cut 1950s style short-back-and-sides as well as learn to shear sheep, though lead actor Jack Thompson had worked on a sheep station prior to making Sunday Too Far Away (1975).
First theatrical feature film directed by Ken Hannam who previously worked in television.
First of three theatrical feature films that director Ken Hannam made for the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC). Hannam's second was Dawn! (1979) whilst his third and final film for the SAFC was Robbery Under Arms (1985).
A half-hour television special entitled The Making of 'Sunday' (1975) was produced by the South Australian Film Corporation as a promotional tie-in for this movie.
This film is considered one of the key films of the Australian New Wave cinema of the 1970s.
Director Ken Hannam said that lead actor Jack Thompson turned down a lucrative part in an American movie so that he could appear in this film.
The place where the shearer's shear their sheep in this movie was the Carriewerloo Station in South Australia's Flinders Ranges. This film was made and released about fifteen years after The Sundowners (1960) which was the first and only other earlier film that had used the station and it's shearing shed for filming in a movie. Reportedly, at time of this film, about 20,000 sheep would be shorn there a year.
At the Australian Film Institute Awards in 1975, this film came away wining three awards including Best Film, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor. In those days, the Best Film award was called the Golden Reel Award. Jack Thompson's performance for both this film and his other movie Petersen (1974) tied for the Best Actor Award (known then as the Hoyts Prize for Best Performance) with Martin Vaughan for Billy and Percy (1974). Reg Lye's Supporting Actor gong was categorized as an Honourable Mention.
DOP Geoff Burton's cinematography was inspired and influenced by classic Australian paintings such as 'Shearing the Rams' by Tom Roberts and various bush landscapes by Russell Drysdale.
First of five theatrical feature films that British television director Ken Hannam made in Australia. The subsequent pictures were Break of Day (1976), Summerfield (1977), Dawn! (1979) and Robbery Under Arms (1985).
This movie was made and released about twenty years after the Australian mid-1950s era in which it was set.
'Allmovie' has said of this film that it was "...the first Australian film of the 1970s to gain international acclaim, paving the way for the Australian New Wave and the success of movies such as The Last Wave (1977) and 'Breaker' Morant (1980)".
'VideoVista' (Gary Couzens) has said of this film that "John Dingwall's original treatment gave equal time to the strike, which would have made for a three-hour film. [Director Ken] Hannam's original cut, never publicly shown, ran half an hour longer than the present version, which was shortened by the producer".
Writer John Dingwall based his original story for this film on the experiences of his brother-in-law who was a "gun-shearer" of sheep.
In this film Jack Thompson plays Foley who is a "gun shearer". A "gun-shearer", also known as a ringer or a professional shearer, is a shearer who can shear more sheep in a day than his fellow shearers. An average amount of sheep that a shearer might shear in a day may be around the one hundred mark. A gun-shearer is said to be able to shear about double this amount or even more than two hundred a day. The "gun" shearer can shear a sheep in two or three minutes and can shear the fleece without seriously cutting or marking the animal. The shearing time can be even less than two minutes in the elite arena of competitive shearing.
First produced screenplay for a feature film for writer John Dingwall who had previously worked in television. His later feature films as a writer would be Buddies (1988), Phobia (1990) and The Custodian (1993).
Second lead starring role in a theatrical feature film for actor Jack Thompson. Thompson's first was Petersen (1974).
The people of the South Australian township of Quorn in the Flinders Ranges, who at the time of filming had a population of about 1000, assisted with this film by providing facilities for the production as well as appearing in the movie in small roles and as extras.
The production shoot for this film was scheduled for six weeks but with weather delays, ran to about eight weeks. This movie was filmed between March and May 1974.
Reportedly, Jack Thompson once said to Australian film critic David Stratton in Autumn 1976 that this film's two-hour second longer cut (the first ran 2½ hours) was emotionally shattering and was one of the finest if not the finest of achievements of the Australian cinema.
Reportedly, director Ken Hannam's salary on this film was $6,000 (Australian) and was without residuals.
A number of film writers and critics have likened this film about Australian male mateship to the work of Howard Hawks who specialized in making movies of macho masculine culture such as men-dominated war films and westerns.
This film's cast is male-dominated and it's story centers around Australian men shearers in 1950s Australia. This movie only features two women characters, Lisa Peers as Sheila Dawson and Phyllis Ophel as Ivy, a barmaid.
The shearing stalls featured in this film, shot in the shearing shed at Carriewerloo Station in the Flinders Ranges of South Australia, have been commented as being rather unique. The shearing barn featured about twenty stalls whereas in reality such typical shearing houses (at least of this 1950s period) actually featured only about six to eight shearing stalls.
Jack Thompson received top / first billing, Reg Lye received second billing, Max Cullen received third billing.
The post-production problems associated with this film are notorious and legendary within the Australian Film Industry. Such a marred and controversial process actually resulted in the creation of one of the classics of the Australian Cinema, winning four Australian Film Industry awards including Best Film, garnering international acclaim, and is historically considered as launching the modern wave of Australian Cinema onto the world platform.
The post-production controversy allegedly arose around the editing of the film due to unworkable sub-plots, a slow pace, miscasting and poor performances in a couple of roles, extensive length and some technical faults. There were allegedly extensive creative differences at different times between the filmmakers.
According to The Last New Wave (1980) by David Stratton (page 103), in a conversation between actor Jack Thompson and film critic David Stratton in the autumn of 1976, Thompson stated that in its longer version, this film was "emotionally shattering" and "one of the finest achievements of the Australian cinema, if not the finest."
A two-and-a-half (approximately 150 minute) version of "Sunday Too Far Away" existed before it's Sydney Film Festival Premiere cut of about two hours. The Final Cut runs just over an hour and a half (94 mins). Apparently, this original cut no longer exists.
All the male cast members had to have their heads shaven to the short-back-and-sides hair look of the 1950s so effectively, like the sheep in "Sunday too Far Away", the shearers also got shorn .
This picture, according to screening notes for the 2018 Adelaide Film Festival, "was the feature that launched the South Australian Film Corporation, confirming the genius of Gil Brealey, Matt Carroll and Ken Hannam, and brought Australian cinema back to Cannes for the first time since 1965."
In summary form, the film's achievements were reflected by the following accolades, according to the South Australian Film Corporation's 'Showcase'. The picture was the "winner of [the] Australian Film Institute Award for Best Film, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor and was "selected for [the] Cannes Film Festival Director's Fortnight."
Debut theatrical feature film lensed by Australian cinematographer / director of photography (D.O.P) Geoff Burton.
This movie's original script title was 'Shearers'.
Torrential rain and flooding produced serious problems during the filming of this movie which was set in hot, dry and barren conditions. At least at one stage, it rained constantly for two weeks.
A title card at the start of this film sets the time and place as "Australia 1955".
The film's closing epilogue states: "The Strike lasted nine months. The Shearers won. It wasn't the money so much. It was the bloody insult".