Newest Reviews
Looking On the Bright Side
Take Me Somewhere Nice
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Gentlemen Broncos
To the Stars
Lady Godiva Rides Again
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A
This is a Hijack
Loved One, The
Jumanji: The Next Level
Krabi 2562
Call of the Wild, The
Diary of a Country Priest
Sea Fever
Throw Down
Grudge, The
Green Man, The
Specialists, The
Romantic Comedy
Going Ape!
Infinite Football
Little Women
Camino Skies
Another Shore
Cry Havoc
Legend of the Stardust Brothers, The
Mystery Team
Westward the Women
Man Who Killed Don Quixote, The
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
Murder Inferno
Newest Articles
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
  Storm Boy What A Wonderful Bird Is The Pelican
Year: 1976
Director: Henri Safran
Stars: Greg Rowe, Peter Cummins, David Gulpilil, Judy Dick, Tony Allison, Michael Moody, Graham Dow, Eric Mack, Frank Foster-Brown, Michael Caulfield, Paul Smith, Hedley Cullen
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Mike Kingley (Greg Rowe) is a ten-year-old boy who lives in the Coorong, a large reserve in Southern Australia, with his father Tom (Peter Cummins) who eschews the modern world to eke out a living as a fisherman in his little boat. Even the house they live in is a modest affair, barely a shack, really, but Tom has built it sturdy and hardy against the changeable weather in the area. What he will not accept is his son having any influence from the wider world, so when the kid finds a transistor radio on the beach while looking for wood to fuel their boiler, he insists Mike should throw it away immediately, for in his view any element of the outside culture will simply make him want more...

Storm Boy was based on a popular novel, not necessarily a children's novel, mind you, by Colin Thiele, and after its publication in 1963 quickly became regarded as a classic, and a set text for children across Australia, even abroad as well. Sort of the Aussie equivalent of the near-contemporary Dutch book The Wheel on the School, it has gone on to be treasured by many generations, so obviously a movie version was a given, though it took till the following decade before that actually happened. This was likely because the Australian film industry did not take off (pardon the pun) until the nineteen-seventies, so the operation was not in place to create the adaptation.

When it was released in 1976, quite in contrast to the sex and violence-filled Ozploitation flicks that were propping up the nation's industry, it proved a gentle hit to take the younglings too, and down the years many have looked back on either a cinema visit or seeing this on television as a nice, nostalgic memory. That said, despite its reputation as a quiet little film for animal lovers of all ages, a boy and his beast yarn of the sort that have dotted the movie landscape since the medium was devised, there were indications Storm Boy was not going to be like other countries' children's entertainment, leaning as it did into the national character and delivering a particular peril.

Rowe, whose brief career as an actor fizzled out in the eighties, was never less than convincing as the untutored and lonely boy whose best friend ends up being a pelican called Mr Percival, one of three he raises from chicks which were orphaned when hunters semi-illegally shot the birds' parents. This is one of many threads suggesting that Mike's life is not some bed of roses but blighted by what resembled a post-apocalyptic existence where if the landscape was not hauntingly bleak enough then the occasional visitors would have you questioning the validity of humanity's presence there. Every so often, you see, there will be intruders on the land who either shoot the endangered wildlife or get up to simple-minded vandalism which sees the Kingley shack damaged by their buggies crashing into it.

The reason they do not do more damage is because of the other main character, Fingerbone Bill, played by the most visible Aborigine actor of the decade and indeed afterwards, David Gulpilil. Fingerbone was a refugee from his tribe - he tells the boy that he risked his life if he stayed there, so now must exist in exile - and though he should not be on the Coorong by law ("White man's law!" he scorns) he turns ally for Mike and Tom. He also is one of the few people who the child gets to talk to, though a schoolteacher tries and fails to persuade Tom to allow him to learn at her school, making this one of the few nature-based stories to feature a lead character who desperately yearns for civilisation. Not that Mike wants to abandon his life, but he does feel the lack of knowledge in it is hurting his intellect, and with some justification. This did get melodramatic with its trained pelican, the storm, and the hunters leading to a perhaps predictable conclusion, but it was a decent production overall. Remade in 2019. Music by Michael Carlos.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 330 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Hannah Prosser
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Rachel Franke
Paul Smith


Last Updated: