Sunday, April 28, 2013

"The Man from Snowy River" (1982)


This has been my favorite film since I was two years old.  And I've already written a lot here about my relationship to this film, so today I will just review it briefly.

The Man from Snowy River himself is Jim Craig (Tom Burlinson), a young Australian man who is orphaned early in the movie when his father dies in an accident due to a mob of brumbies (wild horses).  


Jim Craig (Tom Burlinson)

Jim has to earn the right to live up in the mountains on his father's homestead, so he goes down to the flat country and winds up working for Mr. Harrison (Kirk Douglas), a wealthy American rancher.  


Mr. Harrison (Kirk Douglas)

Jim falls in love with his boss's daughter, Jessica (Sigrid Thornton), but Mr. Harrison hates mountain men, so he forbids the match.


Jessica Harrison (Sigrid Thornton)


Then this really valuable horse goes missing, and Jim is blamed for the disappearance.  To clear his name, he joins the group of men hunting down the horse, which has joined the same band of brumbies that caused his father's death.  And then a lot of amazing horse riding commences.  


The super-famous shot of Jim riding his horse down a steep mountain.

This is Jim's chance to clear his name, prove he's grown up and can live on his own up in the mountains, and show Mr. Harrison he can succeed at really hard things, thereby maybe earning his permission to court Jessica.  "Prove yourself" is a very important theme to me, though I'll never know if it's because of this movie, or if I love this movie because I was going to love that theme no matter what.



I love some of the costumes in this movie!  Jessica gets some very Victorian dresses, as does her Aunt Rosemary (Lorraine Bayly).  I managed to capture this, which shows off Jessica's bustle and most of Jim's usual outfit.



There's a scene or two where Mr. Harrison, his daughter, his sister-in-law, and some guests wear evening clothes.  They spend the whole time seated at a table, so this is about all you see of them, though you do get close-ups now and then.  I love all the period props in this shot too.




But Jim Craig and most of the men wear your ordinary Aussie-western apparel.


Jim meets his horse.
Jessica watches Jim return to the homestead.
The Harrison Homestead.
Is this a family-friendly movie?  Pretty much.  There are a handful of bad words, and there's a question about Jessica's true paternity, though I can tell you from personal experience that the latter flies right over the head of a small person.

Well, there you have it, a brief review of my favorite movie of all time.  I got to watch it over my birthday with one of my best friends, which was a great pleasure.  I'll leave you with one final shot of The Man himself, tipping what I consider to be one of the greatest hats in cinema history.



22 comments:

  1. I actually hadn't heard of this movie until I moved in with my roommate. She has this one and the sequel both and wanted me to watch them. Excellent movies! And I admit I loved the love story between Jim and Jessica. Plus Jim's pretty handsome. And that famous riding scene. It's certainly famous for a reason! Quite incredible. :)

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    1. It's kind of obscure, which is weird since it did decently at the box office. I'm always surprised and pleased when I meet someone who has actually seen it!

      (But I don't like the sequel. Saw that in the theater too, when I was what, eight? Doesn't hold a candle, IMHO. I saw it again on video once, and agreed with my child-self's assessment.)

      Tom Burlinson did nearly all his own riding for the movie, including the plunge down the mountainside, which they did in one long take.

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    2. I don't think I knew that he actually did that ride in real life as they videoed it. Or if I did, I'd forgotten. That's quite a feat! And it's certainly a jaw dropping scene.

      Hmmm. Now you've got me wondering. I haven't watched either movie for several years (I know, just terrible! ;). I'm thinking I should watch them again, and see if I'd agree with you or not on the sequel. I remember really enjoying both the first time. Ah well, we can't be alike in everything now can we? That'd be crazy! :D

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    3. Oh, you're not terrible -- this is my favorite movie we're talking about, and I hadn't watched it since before my son was born, so for at least 5 years.

      And nope, can't be exactly the same -- that would be boring!

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  2. Oh I just found this on Netflix so I am able to stream it. Thank you for the review.

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    1. Hooray for Netflix! That's how my friend watched it too. Probably a good thing I don't have Netflix, or I'd never get anything done, feed my children, etc. We don't have cable for the same reason, lol. I love movies too much for that to be safe!

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  3. Your favorite movie since you were 2 years old? Seriously? You obviously were one smart little girl, to have followed along and understood this at such a tender age!

    I thought my kids were smart, but when they were 2 we hadn't even graduated to animated Disney stuff---we were still watching Barney, Lamb Chop, Mister Rogers, and Clifford the Big Red Dog!!

    We discovered "The Man from Snowy River" when my kids were about 8 and 10, I guess. Haven't watched it in years, since we have it on VHS and our VHS player is broken. I always liked it, though. It's a wonderful story.

    My daughter has the piano music, and I love to listen to her play it. It's beautiful!

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    1. I was the first child, and my dad didn't like leaving me with baby sitters, so if he and mom went to a movie, they took me too. After this one, I reportedly played "Jim and Jessica" for months, with me being Jim and my dad being the horse, and I guess my mom was Jessica and needed rescuing. Once VCRs came into our lives, this was one of the first movies they rented, and my mom stuck her tape recorder next to the TV and recorded the songs for me. There's the voice of a tiny 5-year-old me on that tape, repeatedly asking, "When are the horsies coming?" I really only loved the last half hour at that age, and suffered through the rest to get there.

      I picked up the DVD copy a couple years ago for $5 at Walmart. And it's widescreen! So groovy to see everything and have no pan-and-scan!

      I have the sheet music to just the main theme and Jessica's Theme. I've had the main theme memorized since my hands were big enough to handle it, so probably since I was 10 or 11. I also have the soundtrack -- it's the first CD I ever bought. I had it playing in the background when each of my kids were born.

      So, um, no, not obsessed at all! :-)

      Oh, but my kids are 1, 3, and 5, and have yet to see it. All they ever want to watch are The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh, Cars, , and some VeggieTales. Some day.

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    2. What great music to listen to during your labor!! Definitely soothing to the soul!

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    3. Actually, I chose all energizing and empowering music for laboring -- I also took along a disc of my favorite exciting cues from the LOTR trilogy, and a combo disc of Pirates of the Caribbean and Master and Commander. I did listen to the latter for a bit with my second labor, but never got around to LOTR with any of them.

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  4. I will attest to the fact that Rachel watched it at 2 years of age, because she play-acted it all the time when we lived in Iowa, and we moved from there when she was 3. No, she didn't obviously understand the whole plot, but she knew the characters and the horse riding scenes were very special to her. Rachel's been a horsey girl ever since (and maybe before) If you haven't guessed, I'm her mom :-)

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    1. Awesome! I think it's cool that she's loved and been faithful to one thing for so long. And I think it's even cooler that she had the mental capacity to appreciate a non-animated film at the tender age of 2.

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    2. Maybe I'm just wired differently, but for as far back as I can remember, I've responded to the stories, not whether they're in animated or live-action or radio or book form.

      I've shown my kids both live-action and animated movies, it just happens that my son is extremely empathetic and doesn't like stories where people get in trouble or danger, and it is super hard to find stories like that in any form.

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    3. I love that you've loved this story for so long! Reminds me of me, kinda. Not so much with movies, but books. My mom is a voracious reader herself, so there were always tons of books at our house, plus we'd go to the library often. (They knew me well there! I think every person working there knew my name by the time I moved out of state.)

      Anyway, mom had books that she deemed over my head that she'd tell me not to read, but wouldn't you know that whenever she wasn't home, guess where I'd go? Of course I knew exactly where she kept them.

      I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think it definitely depends on the child. Some children can handle things better than others. Movies and especially this one, were obviously ones that you were able to enjoy. Does that make sense?

      (Sorry for rambling on.)

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    4. By the way, hi Rachel's mom! :D

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    5. When we left MI when I was 12, I actually corresponded with our librarians there for 2 or 3 years! Advantage of a small town.

      My mom's "over your head" books were all in the basement. Which is where I did my studying for high school. And so, I read a lot of them too, clandestinely. That's how I read my first Raymond Chandler mystery, my first Daphne du Maurier, and my first Rex Stout. She had some sort of low-key romance novels too (not bodice-rippers, just entirely focused on the romance), and I tried a couple of those and didn't care for them. I think they were by Victoria Holt.

      My 3-year-old daughter is more ready for things than my 5-year-old son. So she and I have been watching some movies together while he reads in another room sometimes. This week, we watched The Aristocats and she talked it up so much ("It's so funny when the kitty sits on the record player and goes around and around!") that he thinks he might watch it sometime himself :-) Every kid is different!

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  5. I've never seen this movie, but I really really love the '90s tv show Snowy River: The McGregor Saga, which is partly based around the same source material I believe, but is more about the next generation. Have you ever seen that series?

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    1. And I have never seen the show! I would like to, as Hugh Jackman is in an ep or two, but they're hard to find here in the US.

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    2. They're hard to find everywhere outside Australia! Bút... the series is on YouTube in it's entirety! You could easily find it by searching for 'Snowy River McGregor saga' if you'd like

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    3. WHY do I never think to check YouTube for things? Thank you!

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  6. I was probably 30 when Snowy River came out, and I immediately fell in love with it. Is it my favorite movie of all time? No. But it's probably in my top 20. Few westerns can match this movie in musical score; the Magnificent Seven comes to mind.

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    1. Isn't its score wonderful? I listen to it regularly.

      I'd say my top 5 favorite western scores are The Man from Snowy River, The Magnificent Seven, The Sons of Katie Elder, Tombstone, and Silverado. I also really like the score for Hour of the Gun, but I only just discovered that.

      Always nice to meet a fellow MFSR fan! And a western fan :-)

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