Being a government installation they had access to great movies and all the films made by the National Film Board of Canada. Our high school had a fifty seat movie theatre in the attic of the school. We watched a couple of films a month up there in lieu of reading another novel in English class. As a teacher I would have loved to have such a resource. You forget that there was a time when the classroom didn't have a television or DVD players for when teacher was too stressed out to bother.
Robert Michum is Paddy, an Irish drover who moves from town to town picking up jobs moving sheep or shearing them. With his wife and son, he moves from town to town, never staying in one place too long. We meet up with the family as they take on another drover (Peter Ustinov) on yet another one of their itinerant jobs. Along the way we learn of the dreams the wife and son have to settle down in one place despite the wanderlust of her husband who is a hard working and decent man.
Debra Kerr is magnificent (and Oscar nominated) as the wife who want to settle down. She is the better of any man around her but that comes from respect more than fear. She is kind and smart and hard working. She tries to look long term but loves a man who only can live for the moment. The up and downs this family goes through are survived because of her strength.
Peter Ustinov plays a character that I would like to believe is very much like me. I totally related to him and his role in this family's life. He acts like me and thinks like me and treats people the same way I do. Well he gets to schtupp a yappy, sexy barmaid (Glynis Johns) so on that vital point we differ.
This movie could also be a drinking game. If you took a shot each time someone used the word 'cuppa you would never make it to the end of the film.
Some people find this film to be slow and yes, you could cut a half hour out of the film easily but then you would lose all the texture and richness in the story. These are people who survive day to day and have real dreams about the future they want for themselves. How they learn to compromise with each other is what makes the story so interesting. The challenges these characters face are real and the relationships are sweet.
Of course there is lots of sheep shearing, which you all know is something I could watch all day long. It was from this movie that my love for that magnificent activity came from.
The film is full of life. The hand to mouth existence that the characters live makes them appreciate the good times. It also gives them strength to weather the bad times as well. These are stock characters who are given real depth by the actors portraying them.