Landmark Australian 1949 epic of "How the West Was Won" proportions SONS OF MATTHEW, based on a true family exploration story set in the astonishing beauty of incredible rugged hinterland on the far north coast of Sydney, was a major film in its day. I saw it in 1995 as a new 35mm print screened in a luxury cinema. The impact of this huge cinematic success is undiminished and viewers today will be equally as impressed. Just to film this epic would be a feature in itself rather like Burden Of Dreams is to Fitzcarraldo. Produced by Oz Industry statesman Charles Chauvel, SONS OF MATTHEW was one of many films he created celebrating the Australian pioneering spirit. The major change to tastes and perceptions today would be the horror at the immediate destruction the family wreak on massive trees and forest in their effort to '"tame the land" . This century it is seen as environmental vandalism on an unprecedented and wasteful scale. There are several scenes of absolutely massive ancient trees with buttress roots 50 feet high that are slowly (hand)sawn down that crash violently through pristine mountain forest, destroying acres of breathtaking untouched jungle landscape. This is 'King Kong' looking territory. The men wedged high up the trunk look like ants sawing at an elephant's leg. Apart form that, Australia was not restricted by the same tedious censorship restrictions as the American Hayes code, and in several very revealing scenes, the male and female cast are seen swimming stark naked in waterfalls and mountain ponds. Absolutely nude, as one would do when enjoying some stripped recreation in the lusty throb of taming virgin territory. Chauvel went on to make many other films, the most notable also revealing the brutal ploughing of native Australia is seen in the breathtaking color feature JEDDA in 1956. In 1978 a color and panavision feature was produced by Anthony Buckley called THE IRISHMAN which I also recommend as a bookend to SONS OF MATTHEW.
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Length: 105 minutes
Copyright date: ©1949
Prices include public performance rights.
Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.
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