The Swagman

The Swagman is a 1965 Australian television play.[2] It aired as part of Wednesday Theatre.

"The Swagman"
Wednesday Theatre episode
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 13
Directed byHenri Safran
Teleplay byIan Stuart Black
Original air date31 March 1965
Running time60 mins[1]

Despite being set in Australia, it was written by a British writer.

A copy of the production is held at the National Archives of Australia.[3]

Plot

Jack and Jane Bell are a married couple who live on a small sheep farm. Jane is a young Englishwoman who cannot adjust to the isolation of the outback.

Jane becomes attracted to the hired hand, a young Australian-born Italian, Tony. Jane and Tony arrange to be alone on the farm for one night, but their romantic plans are spoiled by the arrival of a swagman .

Cast

  • June Thody – Jane Bell
  • Vincent Gil – Tony
  • Don Reid – Jack Bell
  • Edward Hepple – The Swagman

Production

The play was written by English author Ian Stuart Black who had never visited Australia. It was selected for production by Henri Safran.[4]

The play was shot in ABC's studios in Gore Hill, Sydney. The swagman was played by Edward Hepple, an English-born actor who had recently moved to Australia.[5]

Reception

The TV critic for The Sydney Morning Herald said Safran "avoided the common fault of accentuating the Australian features" of the play. "An Australian production which does not stamp 'this is Australia' on any local subject matter may be said to make great strides in maturity and competence and there was promising evidence of this in excellent acting, capable camera work and fluency of treatment."[6]

Another critic from the same paper said that although the play "had... some holes in its... story big enough to sink the entire cast and author combined, it came off as one of the finest bits of Australian drama from the A.B.C.'s Sydney studios... an absorbing bit of stuff. It plunged straight into the centre of the story with a minimum of preamble, the cast all turned in workmanlike performances, and action and suspense (even with those implausible holes) was sustained to the last."[7]

A critic from The Canberra Times said the pay "opens tautly with not a moment wasted in creating the setting for a night of adultery" but that the writer was "unable to sustain this idea in the same vein. Overt blackmail by the tramp becomes the means of this progressive intrusion rather than the more subtle action of the couple's own guilt and fear. Paradoxically, the dramatic inevitability and tension arc shattered.[4]

The screening of the program prompted letters of complaint from viewers.[8][9][10][11][12][13]

The Canberra Times called it among the best locally produced television dramas of 1965.[14]

Radio version

The play was adapted for radio and broadcast by the ABC on 30 May 1965.[15]

See also

References

  1. "WEDNESDAY". The Canberra Times. 39 (11, 116). 29 March 1965. p. 18. Retrieved 20 March 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  2. "U.K. playwright, long range view". The Canberra Times. 2 April 1965. p. 15. Retrieved 23 June 2015 via National Library of Australia.
  3. The Swagman at National Archives of Australia
  4. "U.K. playwright, long range view". The Canberra Times. 39 (11, 120). 2 April 1965. p. 15. Retrieved 28 March 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  5. "Play set on a farm". Sydney Morning Herald. 22 March 1965. p. 13.
  6. "Play on ABN". Sydney Morning Herald. 1 April 1965. p. 10.
  7. Marshall, Valda (4 April 1965). "TV round up". Sydney Morning Herald. p. 92.
  8. "Seeing filth on A.B.C. TV". The Canberra Times. 39 (11, 120). 2 April 1965. p. 2. Retrieved 28 March 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  9. "ABC play not sordid". The Canberra Times. 39 (11, 121). 3 April 1965. p. 2. Retrieved 28 March 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  10. "Letters to the Editor". The Canberra Times. 39 (11, 122). 5 April 1965. p. 2. Retrieved 28 March 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  11. "ABC play only a symptom". The Canberra Times. 39 (11, 123). 6 April 1965. p. 2. Retrieved 28 March 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  12. "The healthy disciplined life". The Canberra Times. 39 (11, 124). 7 April 1965. p. 2. Retrieved 28 March 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  13. "THE SOUTHERN TABLELAND NATIVE GOES WALKABOUT TO ORANGE Feeding the idiot box". The Canberra Times. 6 September 1965. p. 2. Retrieved 23 June 2015 via National Library of Australia.
  14. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article105880447
  15. The Swagman at AusStage

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