The Man from Down Under (1943)

102-103 mins | Drama | December 1943

Director:

Robert Z. Leonard

Cinematographer:

Sidney Wagner

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Full page view
HISTORY

According to pre-production news items, producer William Cagney and his brother, actor James Cagney, were interested in purchasing the original Bogart Rogers-Mark Kelly story for their own company as a starring vehicle for James. When M-G-M bought the property, they intended to co-star Wallace Beery and Gracie Fields as "Jocko Wilson" and "Aggie Dawlins." Later, Blanche Ring was considered for the role of Aggie, and Van Johnson was considered for the role of "Nipper" as an adult. News items include Arthur Stenning, Carol Lou Nugent , Naomi Scher and David Shurian in the cast, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. One news item mentioned that "the four Severn boys," Christopher, Ernest, Raymond and Clifford, would portray Nipper at four different ages, but only Christopher and Raymond portrayed Nipper. Ernest had another small role in the film, but Clifford's appearance has not been confirmed. Elmo Veron is listed in one HR news item and on early HR production charts as the film's editor, but only George White is credited onscreen and in reviews. According to HR news items, Charles Laughton suffered a knee injury during a fight scene and was off the production for about two weeks.
       While the film's plot concerns possible incestuous feelings of "Nipper" for "Mary," the word incest was not used in the film or in reviews. The PCA file on the film, in the AMPAS Library, indicates that the script and film were accepted without elimination, although it was suggested by the PCA that some lyrics of the song "E Pinched Me" should be changed to make it less "vulgar." ... More Less

According to pre-production news items, producer William Cagney and his brother, actor James Cagney, were interested in purchasing the original Bogart Rogers-Mark Kelly story for their own company as a starring vehicle for James. When M-G-M bought the property, they intended to co-star Wallace Beery and Gracie Fields as "Jocko Wilson" and "Aggie Dawlins." Later, Blanche Ring was considered for the role of Aggie, and Van Johnson was considered for the role of "Nipper" as an adult. News items include Arthur Stenning, Carol Lou Nugent , Naomi Scher and David Shurian in the cast, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. One news item mentioned that "the four Severn boys," Christopher, Ernest, Raymond and Clifford, would portray Nipper at four different ages, but only Christopher and Raymond portrayed Nipper. Ernest had another small role in the film, but Clifford's appearance has not been confirmed. Elmo Veron is listed in one HR news item and on early HR production charts as the film's editor, but only George White is credited onscreen and in reviews. According to HR news items, Charles Laughton suffered a knee injury during a fight scene and was off the production for about two weeks.
       While the film's plot concerns possible incestuous feelings of "Nipper" for "Mary," the word incest was not used in the film or in reviews. The PCA file on the film, in the AMPAS Library, indicates that the script and film were accepted without elimination, although it was suggested by the PCA that some lyrics of the song "E Pinched Me" should be changed to make it less "vulgar." The PCA file also reveals that another song was written for the film by Earl Brent, "Three Little Birds in a Blue Gum Tree," but that song was not in the released film. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
7 Aug 1943.
---
Daily Variety
4 Aug 43
p. 3, 8
Film Daily
4 Aug 43
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Mar 42
p. 24
Hollywood Reporter
7 Aug 42
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Nov 42
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Feb 43
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Feb 43
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Feb 43
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Feb 43
p. 2, 10
Hollywood Reporter
3 Mar 43
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Mar 43
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Mar 43
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Mar 43
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Mar 43
p. 4, 10, 15795
Hollywood Reporter
21 Apr 43
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Apr 43
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
5 May 43
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
10 May 43
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jun 43
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Aug 43
p. 3, 8
Hollywood Reporter
4 Oct 43
p. 7.
Motion Picture Daily
4 Aug 1943.
---
Motion Picture Herald
7 Aug 1943.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
7 Aug 43
p. 1470.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
18 Sep 43
p. 1547.
New York Times
27 Sep 43
p. 23.
Variety
4 Aug 43
p. 8.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Eddie Dew
Leland Hodgson
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
WRITERS
Based upon the story by
Based upon the story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Assoc
COSTUMES
Cost supv
Men's cost
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Rec dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
MAKEUP
Makeup created by
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
Tech adv
Tech adv
Unit mgr
SOURCES
SONGS
"'E Pinched Me," music and lyrics by Earl Brent.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
December 1943
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 27 September 1943
Production Date:
25 February--30 April 1943
retakes mid May and mid June 1943
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
3 August 1943
Copyright Number:
LP12219
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
102-103
Length(in feet):
9,287
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
9385
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In Belgium, in 1919, Australian soldier Jocko Wilson celebrates the war's end by going to see his sweetheart, tempermental English entertainer Aggie Dawlins. That same day, Jocko sees a starving little boy fighting in the street and takes him and his little sister under his wing. When Jocko's leave is over, he realizes that he is too fond of the children to abandon them and so sneaks them aboard his ship. Jocko then asks Aggie to be the mother of his children, not explaining that the children already exist. Meanwhile, at the orphanage from which the children came, a friend of their late father explains that the children do not know, but the boy's father actually adopted the girl after her own parents had been killed. Later that afternoon, Jocko gets in a fight and lands in the brig before sailing, and Aggie is left single and fuming on the shore. Many years later, the boy, now called "Nipper," is a successful boxer and the devoted Jocko has made his Sidney pub a success. Convinced that Nipper can win the title "champion of the empire," Jocko takes on all bettors for the fight. That night, the girl, Mary, who has been away for years at an expensive boarding school, arrives for a happy reunion. At home, she is introduced to "Dusty" Rhodes, an American sports reporter and friend of Nipper, who is immediately attracted to her. Hoping to buy a place in the country, Jocko overextends his book, and when word gets out that he may welsh if Nipper loses, the bar patrons become rowdy. Nipper calms them by saying his earnings will ... +


In Belgium, in 1919, Australian soldier Jocko Wilson celebrates the war's end by going to see his sweetheart, tempermental English entertainer Aggie Dawlins. That same day, Jocko sees a starving little boy fighting in the street and takes him and his little sister under his wing. When Jocko's leave is over, he realizes that he is too fond of the children to abandon them and so sneaks them aboard his ship. Jocko then asks Aggie to be the mother of his children, not explaining that the children already exist. Meanwhile, at the orphanage from which the children came, a friend of their late father explains that the children do not know, but the boy's father actually adopted the girl after her own parents had been killed. Later that afternoon, Jocko gets in a fight and lands in the brig before sailing, and Aggie is left single and fuming on the shore. Many years later, the boy, now called "Nipper," is a successful boxer and the devoted Jocko has made his Sidney pub a success. Convinced that Nipper can win the title "champion of the empire," Jocko takes on all bettors for the fight. That night, the girl, Mary, who has been away for years at an expensive boarding school, arrives for a happy reunion. At home, she is introduced to "Dusty" Rhodes, an American sports reporter and friend of Nipper, who is immediately attracted to her. Hoping to buy a place in the country, Jocko overextends his book, and when word gets out that he may welsh if Nipper loses, the bar patrons become rowdy. Nipper calms them by saying his earnings will cover the book, then secretly admits to Mary that only the winner's purse will be enough. Nipper badly injures his shoulder in the fight, and Jocko wants to throw in the towel, but Nipper refuses and wins. Later, the doctor tells Jocko that Nipper may never fight again because every ligament in his shoulder is torn, but Nipper vows that he will go to America to fight for the world championship. A worried Jocko temporarily dissuades him, however, by buying a hotel in the country. Several months later, Nipper has maintained his workouts with the assistance of his friend, Father Polycarp, and Jocko and Mary cannot convince him that his boxing career is over. Because of expenses and no customers, Jocko is having financial problems, and Mary suggests to Nipper that they go back to Sydney to find jobs. She wants to work in Dusty's office, but Nipper, who for no apparent reason is anxious over her romance with Dusty, is reluctant. One day, Aggie, who is now a rich widow, appears, pretending to have forgiven Jocko. Jocko decides to marry her to keep the hotel, but she knows about his financial problems and lures him into card and dice games until she eventually wins the hotel and hires him as its manager. Soon Dusty arrives before leaving for his new assignment in Berlin and asks Mary to go with him as his wife. She wants to go back to Europe to find out about her family, but turns him down because she does not love him and is so happy with Jocko and Nipper. When Nipper, who has been fighting his physical attraction to Mary, sees her kiss Dusty goodbye, he misunderstands and angrily slugs Dusty. The next day, Nipper apologizes to Dusty and shakes his hand, but cannot face the confused Mary. He then goes to see the sympathetic Fr. Polycarp, who has suspected Nipper's torment and offers him sanctuary at the monastery. A short time later, Nipper tells Jocko that he is retiring from the ring and plans to leave Australia. Mary and Jocko are both hurt and cannot understand what has happened. When Aggie goes to comfort Mary, she reveals that she has always felt safe with Nipper, but curiously has no memory of him from her early childhood. That night, Germany invades Poland and the British Empire goes to war. Jocko and his friend, Ginger Gaffney, decide to enlist and Jocko will not listen to Aggie's questions about how he met the children. Jocko is shattered when the army turns him down because of his health, but determines to be part of the war effort by doing whatever he can. Some months later, when the Japanese bomb Darwin in Northern Australia, children need to be evacuated south and Aggie and Mary turn the hotel into a shelter for displaced children. When Ginger is slightly wounded, he comes to the hotel looking for Jocko, not knowing that his friend had told Aggie and Mary that he was an army officer. Japanese bombing continues that night and the hotel suffers some damage. Jocko, who is working as a ditch-digger nearby, sees bombing near the hotel and rushes over. Just then, Nipper, back in Australia after being wounded, goes to the monastery and also sees the bombing. On his way to the hotel, his truck is hit by a bomber. Jocko finds the slightly wounded Nipper in the truck and the two head for the hotel, which has just been occupied by the crew of a downed Japanese plane. Nipper and Jocko successfully fight the Japanese and free Mary and Aggie. As Nipper and Mary embrace, Fr. Polycarp arrives with their birth certificates and other information from Belgium, confirming that they are not blood relations. Aggie then explains everything to Jocko, who gets a call from Brisbane asking him to report for duty as a captain in the militia. Jocko knows that Aggie has arranged this and as Mary and Nipper walk hand in hand in the garden, Jocko and Aggie embrace. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.