Australia (2008)

 ●  English ● 2 hrs 45 mins

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Set against the tumultuous backdrop northern Australia at the beginning of World War II, Lady Sarah Ashley an English aristocrat inherits a vast cattle station and wishes to sell it. However, serious complications emerge when English cattle barons plot to take her land, and she is forced to team up with Drover, a rough-hewn stock-man to drive 2,000 head of cattle across hundreds of miles of the country's most unforgiving land, only to still face the bombing of Darwin, Australia, by the Japanese forces that had attacked Pearl Harbor only months earlier. Will they succeed in this seemingly insurmountable task? How will the relationship between Lady Sarah and Drover evolve?
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Did you know? No fewer than 15 babies were born to cast and crew, one being Nicole Kidman's daughter, during the course of the very long production. Read More
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as Bull
as Cath Carney
as Carney Boy #3
Supporting Actor
as Goolaj
as Administrator Allsop
as Captain Dutton
as Skipper (Qantas Sloop)
as Nullah
as Dr. Barker
as King George
as Magarri
as Neil Fletcher
as Mission Boy
Supporting Actor
as Ivan
as Kipling Flynn
as Myrtle Allsop
as Mission Boy
as Brother Frank
as Lady Sarah Ashley
as Mission Boy
Supporting Actor
as Gloria Carney
as Daisy

Direction

Director
First Assistant Director
Assistant Director

Distribution

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography
Still Photographer
Key Grip
Gaffer

Music

Music Director

Sound

Sound Re-recording Mixer
Sound Effects Editor
Foley Artist

Art

Art Director
Set Designer

Casting

Casting Director

Costume and Wardrobe

Costume Designer

Editorial

Makeup and Hair

Makeup Artist
Hair Stylist

Special Effects

Special Effects Technician

Stunts

Stunt Director
Stunt Coordinator
Stunt Performer

Visual Effects

Visual Effects Producer
Compositor
Digital Compositor
Film Type:
Feature Film
Language:
English
Colour Info:
Color
Sound Mix:
Dolby Digital, DTS
Camera:
Panaflex Millenium, Panaflex Millenium XL, Pan-Arri 435
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1
Stereoscopy:
No
Goofs:
Revealing Mistakes
In the various newspaper stories, particularly the one about the Never-Never, there are a number of repeated paragraphs.

Revealing Mistakes
In an early scene, the Drover's truck is running beside some bounding kangaroos. The leg action of the kangaroos does not match the speed they are moving at - the swing backwards is stopping too soon.

Revealing Mistakes
When Drover shows up at the ball freshly shaved, there is no tan line from where his beard once was. Since he spends all his time out in the intense sun, the bottom half of his face would surely be paler.

Continuity
During their trip to Darwin the group is resting at night, when suddenly Fletcher's guys pour out the gasoline and light it up. When the fire is lit it is pitch black and the stars can be seen. Then the stampede starts and suddenly it is in the middle of the day.

Continuity
In the scene when Sarah asks Flynn to tell her all about Faraway Downs and Fletcher, Flynn pulls out of his stock a full bottle of rum. In the close-up shot when he is opening it, it's another kind of bottle, not entirely filled with rum. In the next scene, he is again holding the (opened) former bottle.

Continuity
When Lady Ashley tells Drover to either stay at Faraway Downs or never return, Drover slams the white gate shut behind him as he storms out. In the next scene the gate is wide open again.

Crew/Equipment Visible
When Nullah "pulls up" at Faraway Downs and prepares to dismount from his horse, someone is holding the horse by a visible lead line (third rein).

Crew/Equipment Visible
As Nullah gallops back to Faraway Downs after mounting the horse in the waterhole, there is a dust trail visible in front of his horse. Evidently someone is galloping ahead of him to ensure that his mount will follow, since Nullah is obviously too small to control an animal safely at speed.

Crew/Equipment Visible
In the scene when Drover storms away from Faraway Downs after his argument with Sarah, the traces of the camera truck in front of his horse are clearly visible in the Sand.

Errors in Geography
When Fletcher gets into the pickup truck to leave Faraway Downs, he gets into the left-hand seat and drives away with the steering wheel on the left-hand side. Australian vehicles are typically equipped with steering wheel and driving controls on the right-hand side because Australian traffic drives on the left-hand side of the road.

Errors in Geography
Outback night sky shows incorrect Big Dipper constellation. This cannot be observed in southern hemisphere, especially from Australia. Southern Cross not the North Star should have been shown.

Factual Mistake
The Japanese planes are shown dropping torpedoes on land based targets. While maybe appropriate for the ships in the harbor, no pilot would use a torpedo for a land-based target.

Factual Mistake
There is character in the filmed named Administrator Allsop (played by Barry Otto), who is the Monarch's representative in the Northern Territory. However, at the time the actual Administrator was in fact named Aubrey Abbott, who served from 1937 to 1946.

Factual Mistake
The Japanese did not land troops on any island near Darwin.

Character Error
As the Japanese air-strike starts, a priest makes a transmission from Mission Island, and ends it with "over and out". The correct way to end it is saying "out", as "over" means you are giving the word to the person you are talking to.

Character Error
When the Japanese patrol arrives at the beach, they cannot see the 30 foot sailboat close enough to shore that little children could walk or easily swim out to it.

Character Error
Copper Callahan, and his men arrive at Faraway Downs looking to take Nullah and don't find him. However, while they are driving up to the ranch, Nullah and Daisy can be seen climbing the water tower ladder as the truck is facing in that direction. As they are leaving, two of the policemen are seen sitting in the bed of the truck as it pulls away. People on the station are running toward the water tower in obvious distress, Jackman climbing the ladder to retrieve Nullah and Daisy, in full view of the coppers in the truck bed as it is no further than 50 yards away, yet, the truck makes no response to the obvious activity in full view of them.

Miscellaneous
An Australian newspaper advertises The Wizard of Oz in a scene marked 1939. This film was not released in Australia until April 1940.

Miscellaneous
In the first "tent" scene between Drover, Sarah and the Aboriginal stockmen, Drover speaks to Sarah whilst cleaning his teeth. A close inspection of his toothbrush reveals that it is not 1939-vintage. It has dark bristles in the centre and white bristles around the outside. Also the toothbrush has an oral-dynamic shape, with a pointed end. In 1939 toothbrushes were not this sophisticated. They were rectangle-shaped with white bristles.
Trivia:
Nicole Kidman saved Hugh Jackman from a poisonous scorpion on the set of their new movie while the actress was about to join Hugh in the bag, she noticed the poisonous scorpion crawling up his leg. She calmly told him not to move and squatted down, scooped the arachnid into her hat and walked over to the woods and released it. Everyone applauded but was asked why she hadn't just stomped on it. She said, 'I would never kill an animal. Every creature here has its purpose. This one just didn't belong in Hugh's bag!' "

Heath Ledger was originally cast, but backed out to do The Dark Knight (2008).

Nicole Kidman revealed that she agreed to star in the film without reading the script. Hugh Jackman stated in an interview for 60 Minutes (1979), which aired on Sunday the 16th of October 2008, that Nicole told Hugh he had to be in the movie at a Super Bowl party, and when Hugh told her he didn't even have a script Nicole told him to forget the script, because Baz Luhrmann was directing.

Over 1500 wild horses were used for this movie

Even though the filming schedule was pushed back a half year, Nicole Kidman never lost her faith in the project and instead prepared for the role, by touring the country with her family, riding horses and even castrating bulls.

No fewer than 15 babies were born to cast and crew, one being Nicole Kidman's daughter, during the course of the very long production.

It took nine months to finish the movie's principal photography. Some reshoots were made in late 2008.

Filming on the project finally began in spring 2007 and went on for nine hard months. Baz Luhrmann approached the filming with obsessive resolve. He constantly shot and re-shot scenes until he got it just the way he wanted. This obsessive attention to detail caused the project to go over budget and caused several scheduling problems. To further the production's difficulties, Australia itself was not very cooperative. On one occasion, the largest and most expensive of the sets for the film was completely flooded when huge rain showers hit a part of the country that rarely gets any rain at all. On other occasions, filming had to be delayed for days on end because of bad weather or poor lighting. Every delay was especially costly on this project, since Luhrmann employed hundreds of crew members and had a herd of fifteen hundred cattle that needed to be fed and cared for. This completely drained the budget allotted for the movie and production had to be improvised. Director was forced to go begging for more money and certain compromises had to be made. He even had to move the filming of the final scenes of the movie from Darwin, where they were supposed to take place, to Bowen because the local government provided him with 500,000 dollars to film there.

Nicole Kidman, who dislikes watching herself on screen, said of her performance: "I can't look at this movie and be proud of what I've done...It's just impossible for me to connect to it emotionally at all". However, she has expressed great enthusiasm about being part of the project and very much enjoyed the performance of her co-stars.

Brandon Walters was discovered by Baz Luhrmann, who had been searching for a young boy to play the important role of Nullah for over 12 months, through a series of nationwide radio call outs in Australia. After a series of workshops at Fox Studios Australia, Luhrmann and his team traveled to Broome and had the privilege of camping with Walter's family at 80 Mile Beach, WA. It was during this time that Luhrmann and the family decided they would take the leap and become involved in the film together.

Russell Crowe was attached as the lead during pre-production. 20th Century Fox executives wanted to reduce Crowe's salary considerably, in order to appease the film's budget. This decision compelled him to ultimately leave the project.

The film sees Hong Kong actor and stuntman Wah Yuen make his official English language debut. Yuen, a classmate of Jackie Chan and Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, has played the villain in such Hong Kong classics as Dragons Forever (1988) and Eastern Condors (1987), and is probably best known internationally for his role as the Landlord in Kung Fu Hustle (2004).

The final scene features "Nimrod" from Edward Elgar's "Enigma" variations. This was also used in Elizabeth (1998), for which David Hirschfelder composed the music, too.

The film's AUD$100M budget reportedly increased to more than AUD$150M.

Last cinema film of Ray Barrett.

This film's opening prologue states: "After the bombing of Pearl Harbour on the 7th December 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy steamed south, unleashing their fire on Darwin, a city in the Northern Territory of Australia. 'The Territory' was a land of crocodiles, cattle barons and warrior chiefs where adventure and romance was a way of life. It was also a place where Aboriginal children of mixed-race were taken by force from their families and trained for service in white society. These children became known as the Stolen Generations."

The orchestral score heard when Lady Ashley travels from England to Australia is an obvious homage to Johann Sebastian Bach's "Hunting Cantata" (BWV 208), especially the aria "Sheep may safely graze". Interestingly, Australian composer Percy Grainger used this cantata as a source of inspiration for some of his own compositions (Blithe Bells, 1931).

WILHELM SCREAM: heard during the bombing of Darwin when a towns-person goes flying.

The word "billabong" is often mentioned in the movie, including regarding the key scene in which Lord Ashley is murdered. "Billabong" is an Australian term for a small lake, especially (but not only) one formed by a U-shaped bend in a river.

This film's closing epilogue states: "The [Australian] Government officially abandoned the Assimilation Project for Indigenous Australians in the Northern Territory in 1973. In 2008, the Prime Minister of Australia offered a formal apology to the members of the Stolen Generations."