Botany Bay (film)

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Botany Bay
Botany Bay 1953.jpg
Directed by John Farrow
Written by Jonathan Latimer
Based on novel by Charles Nordhoff
James Norman Hall
Starring Alan Ladd
James Mason
Patricia Medina
Music by Franz Waxman
Cinematography John F. Seitz
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates 1953
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1.9 million (US)[1]

Botany Bay is a 1953 American drama film directed by John Farrow and starring Alan Ladd, James Mason and Patricia Medina. It was based on a novel of the same name by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall.[2]

Plot[edit]

In 1787 prisoners are shipped from Newgate Jail on the Charlotte to found a new penal colony in Botany Bay, New South Wales. Amongst them is Hugh Tallant (Ladd) an American medical student who had been wrongly imprisoned. During the journey he begins to clash with the villainous Captain Gilbert (Mason), and is soon plotting a full-scale mutiny against him.[3]

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

There was film interest in the book even before its publication because of the success of Mutiny on the Bounty, also from a novel by Nordhoff and Hall. The film rights were sold in 1940 for a reported $50,000.[4]

In 1941 Joel McCrea expressed interest in playing the lead.[5] The film was originally planned to be made in 1946, starring Ray Milland with location shooting in Australia.[6] However these plans were delayed when Paramount became concerned about the cost.[7]

Four koalas and two kangaroos were flown from Australia to appear in the film.[8][9] The koalas were the first to be exported from Australia in 25 years and were later transferred to San Diego Zoo.[10]

The only Australian born members of the cast were Murray Matheson and Brendan Toomey. Aboriginal characters were played by African-American actors.[11] (Peter Pagan was reported as going to feature in the film[12] but this did not seem to eventuate.)

Historical Basis[edit]

There was a real ship called the Charlotte which sailed with the First Fleet under a Captain Gilbert.

References[edit]

  1. ^ 'The Top Box Office Hits of 1953', Variety, January 13, 1954
  2. ^ "Botany Bay". British Film Institute. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  3. ^ "FILMS.". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956) (Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia). 27 March 1953. p. 16. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  4. ^ JAMES MASON DEAL SET AT PARAMOUNT: Will Co-Star With Alan Ladd in 'Botany Bay' for Studio-- Farrow Directing Film Guarding Cowboy Actors Of Local Origin By THOMAS M. PRYOR Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 16 Nov 1951: 22.
  5. ^ "JOEL McCREA IN BOTANY BAY?".". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) (NSW: National Library of Australia). 12 June 1941. p. 19. Retrieved 4 August 2012. 
  6. ^ "Ray Milland to Make Film at Botany Bay.". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) (NSW: National Library of Australia). 19 March 1946. p. 11 Supplement: The Sydney Morning Herald Magazine. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  7. ^ "Hollywood Goes All Australian.". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956) (Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia). 11 September 1946. p. 13 Supplement: Woman's Magazine. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  8. ^ "Koalas To Go To U.S. For Film.". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) (NSW: National Library of Australia). 4 January 1952. p. 1. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  9. ^ "Kangaroos, Koalas Go To U.S.". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) (NSW: National Library of Australia). 7 January 1952. p. 4. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  10. ^ "Our Koalas Draw Big Crowds To U.S. Zoo.". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) (NSW: National Library of Australia). 10 January 1952. p. 1. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  11. ^ "Early adventure in "Botany Bay".". The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982) (1933 - 1982: National Library of Australia). 18 June 1952. p. 31. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  12. ^ Drama: 'Mr. Congressman' Cast Well Set Up; Martin Promotes Discoveries Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 21 Dec 1951: B7.

External links[edit]