LES BAGNARDS DE BOTANY BAY

Botany Bay is a 1953 American drama film directed by John Farrow and starring Alan Ladd, James Mason and Patricia Medina. It was based on a novel of the same name by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall.

Personal comments : Louis de Funès is not marked in the credits, he appears at the beginning of the film but, and he says :

'' Jacques le goureau
Y a pas de quoi rire Georges !!
C'est pas drole du tout
Ma parole, on dirait le gouverneur en personne.
Ils vont nous offrir une tasse de thé sans doute !
Ecoutez ça : Après avoir examiner les dossiers concernant les crimes pour lesquels vous avez été poursuivis, jugé, condamné à la peine capitale, sa majesté à accepter par mesure exceptionnelle de commué toutes les susdit sentences en déportation à la Nouvelle Galles du sud pour la vie. Pique pocket, le révérend Mortimer Thynne, rené gars, Thomas Oakly voleur de grand chemin, Hugh Tallant, voleur de grand chemin !! "

♦ Synopsis :

In 1787 prisoners are shipped from Newgate Jail on the Charlotte to found a new penal colony in Botany Bay, New South Wales. Amongst them is Hugh Tallant (Ladd) an American medical student who had been wrongly imprisoned. During the journey he begins to clash with the villainous Captain Gilbert (Mason), and is soon plotting a full-scale mutiny against him.

♦ Distribution :

  • Silvana Mangano : Teresa (Teresa)
  • Alan Ladd as Hugh Tallant
  • James Mason as Captain Gilbert
  • Patricia Medina as Sally
  • Jonathan Harris
  • Sir Cedric Hardwicke as Governor Arthur Phillip
  • Malcolm Lee Beggs as Nick Sabb
  • Anita Sharp-Bolster as Moll Cudlip (billed as Anita Bolster)

♦ Production :

  • There was film interest in the book even before its publication because of the success of Mutiny on the Bounty, also from a novel by Nordhoff and Hall. The film rights were sold in 1940 for a reported $50,000.

  • In 1941 Joel McCrea expressed interest in playing the lead. The film was originally planned to be made in 1946, starring Ray Milland with location shooting in Australia. However these plans were delayed when Paramount became concerned about the cost.

  • The project was re-activated in 1951 as a vehicle for Alan Ladd.

  • Four koalas and two kangaroos were flown from Australia to appear in the film. The koalas were the first to be exported from Australia in 25 years and were later transferred to San Diego Zoo

  • The only Australian born members of the cast were Murray Matheson and Brendan Toomey. Aboriginal characters were played by African-American actors. (Peter Pagan was reported as going to feature in the film but this did not seem to eventuate.)

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