Sundowners, The (1960)

The Sundowners (1960), produced and directed by Fred Zinnemann.

Australian sheepherder Robert Mitchum likes to keep on the move, but his wife Deborah Kerr and their teen boy want to get a farm and settle down. Some conflict but also enough love to work it out. Along the way we have sheep-drives across the outback, wildfire, a marathon shearing contest, good natured drunken brawling, and horseracing.

Mitchum did the picture so he could work with Kerr again, having become friends with her while making Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957). They have good, relaxed married-couple chemistry. She is always particularly good at clear-eyed, unsqueamish sexual relations.

It's startling to see Peter Ustinov as former sea captain turned drover; I always thought of him as an indoor guy, but he can ride a horse and do the work.

This was well liked at the time, nominated for five Academy Awards. It's still pleasant but seems modest in range and scope.

The outdoor scenes were filmed in Australia, with Nicolas Roeg as an uncredited second unit camera operator.

Dimitri Tiomkin score.

Available on DVD.