Bitter Springs – 1950 | 89mins | Drama | B&W
Bitter Springs was the third Ealing release to be made in Australia, directed this time by Ralph Smart who had been Harry Watt‘s associate producer on The Overlanders. Bitter Springs is the leas successful of the trio, and concerns turn-of-the century pioneers who trek 600 miles to reach land they have bought from the government, only to find it in the possession of an aborigine tribe who have been settled there for centuries and who, as the water supply is only just adequate to support them are not eager to yield to white settlers. There are nasty incidents, an aborigine is murdered, the whites are rescued from siege by the arrival of mounted troops, and the film ends with promises between the two factions to behave and co-operate, a somewhat crude and desperate piece of plot construction.
The cast included Tommy Trinder as an ex-circus performer who apparently does not even know how to mount a horse; as in the majority of serious Ealing films he made, Trinder’s performance is at variance with the prevailing mood. Chips Rafferty, by now the British idea of a professional Australian, leads the settlers, and the party includes the stalwart Gordon Jackson, a favourite Ealing stock player. It was the last Ealing film to be made at Pagewood for, in spite of the efforts Balcon had made to help the establishment of regular Australian production, Canberra decided not to extend the lease any further, arguing that films were nonessential and the leaseholders non-resident.
ExtractŠ George Perry: Forever Ealing.
Ralph Smart: Director
Charles Woolveridge: Art Direction
Leslie Norman: Associate Producer
Michael Forlong: Asst Director
David Moore: Asst Director
George Heath: Cinematography
Ernest Irving: Conductor
Bernard Gribble: Editing
Ralph Vaughan Williams: Music
Michael Balcon: Producer
Monja Danischewsky: Script
WP Lipscomb: Script