Bush Christmas (1947 film)

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Bush Christmas
Bush Christmas.jpg
Directed by Ralph Smart
Produced by Ralph Smart
Written by Ralph Smart
Starring Chips Rafferty
John Fernside
Narrated by John McCallum
Music by Sydney John Kay
Cinematography George Heath
Edited by James Pearson
Production
company
Release dates
June 1947 (UK)
19 December 1947 (Aust)
Country Australia
United Kingdom
Language English
Budget £25,000[1]

Bush Christmas is a 1947 Australian-British comedy film directed by Ralph Smart and starring Chips Rafferty. It was one of the first movies from Children's Entertainment Films, later the Children's Film Foundation.

Plot[edit]

In the Australian countryside, five children are best friends, including a set of siblings, an English war evacuee, and aboriginal Neza. They boast to three strangers, Long Bill, Jim and Blue, about the mare belonging to the father of one of them. The next day the mare has gone. Suspecting the three men of stealing it, the children set off to recover it.

They discover the horse thieves and harass them by stealing their food and shoes. They get trapped when the thieves trap them in an old ghost town, but are rescued in time.

Cast[edit]

  • Chips Rafferty as Long Bill
  • John Fernside as Jim
  • Stan Tolhurst as Blue
  • Helen Grieve as Helen
  • Nick Yardley as Snow
  • Morris Unicomb as John
  • Michael Yardle as Michael
  • Neza Saunders as Neza
  • Pat Penny as father
  • Thelma Grigg as mother[2]
  • Clyde Combo as Old Jack
  • Edmund Allison as policeman

Production[edit]

Children's Entertainment Films had been set up by Mary Field for the Rank Organisation to make films to be screened to children in cinema clubs throughout England on Saturday mornings.[3][4][5]

Bush Christmas was originally planned as a serial, but it was then decided to turn it into a feature.[6]

Several cast members from The Overlanders appear, including Chips Rafferty, John Fernside and Helen Grieve. Grieve was the first choice for her role. Michael and Nick Yardley were brothers who had worked in radio. Neza Saunders came from a mission station near Rockhampton and was discovered by Chips Rafferty. Morris Unicomb was a veteran of stage and radio.[7][8]

The film was entirely shot on location in the Blue Mountains and the Burragorang Valley.[9]

Post production was completed in Sydney by June 1947.

Release[edit]

Reviews were positive.[10][11] The film was very popular in Britain and Australia[12] and was seen in 41 countries.[13]

It was serialised in children's magazines and a novelisation of the script was published. The movie was also adapted for radio with a young John Meillon.[14]

Ralph Smart announced plans to make further children's films in Australia, including a serial about a family living in the outback, but these did not come to fruition.[15]

Helen Grieve retired from acting to study science.[16] Child actor Nick Yardley later had his face smashed by a boomerang.[17]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "What Goes On?.". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956) (Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia). 19 January 1950. p. 5. Retrieved 20 August 2012. 
  2. ^ "Won star role after two years of struggle.". The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982) (1933 - 1982: National Library of Australia). 29 April 1950. p. 32. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  3. ^ "PLANS FOR SPECIAL CHILDREN'S FILMS.". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) (NSW: National Library of Australia). 20 October 1954. p. 2. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  4. ^ "AUSTRALIAN STORY FOR FILM.". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) (NSW: National Library of Australia). 11 August 1945. p. 3. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  5. ^ "Former schoolteacher makes children's films.". The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982) (1933 - 1982: National Library of Australia). 19 April 1947. p. 40. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  6. ^ "You won't find cowboys of gangsters in these films.". The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 - 1954) (Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia). 23 August 1952. p. 2 Supplement: SUNDAY MAGAZINE SUPPLEMENT TO THE MAIL. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  7. ^ "Children featured in film of Australia...". The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982) (1933 - 1982: National Library of Australia). 18 May 1946. p. 19. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  8. ^ "FIVE CHILDREN IN NEW FILM.". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) (NSW: National Library of Australia). 14 August 1946. p. 1 Supplement: Playtime. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  9. ^ Bush Christmas at Australian Screen Online
  10. ^ "NEW FILMS.". The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954) (Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia). 15 May 1948. p. 4. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  11. ^ "FILMS IN SYDNEY.". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) (NSW: National Library of Australia). 22 December 1947. p. 10. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  12. ^ "Australian Children's Film Success In London.". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) (NSW: National Library of Australia). 21 May 1947. p. 1. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  13. ^ "Anger Made Him A Film Magnate.". The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954) (Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia). 21 February 1953. p. 7. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  14. ^ "Busy Life For Young Actor.". The Sunday Herald (Sydney, NSW : 1949 - 1953) (Sydney, NSW: National Library of Australia). 29 January 1950. p. 1 Supplement: Playtime. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  15. ^ "Rank's men to make children's films here.". The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 - 1950) (Perth, WA: National Library of Australia). 8 March 1947. p. 12 Edition: FIRST EDITION. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  16. ^ "A page for the Worker Woman. [?].". Worker (Brisbane, Qld. : 1890 - 1955) (Brisbane, Qld.: National Library of Australia). 12 March 1951. p. 10. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  17. ^ "Boy star hurt by boomerang.". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956) (Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia). 29 July 1950. p. 5. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 

External links[edit]