14 April 2018 | HotToastyRag
I wouldn't really know how to summarize the plot of The Man from Down Under, since it doesn't really know what type of movie it wants to be. It's a family drama, a romantic comedy, a war movie, a boxing movie, a film of a reckless patriarch, and, just for good measure, they throw a bit of incest into the plot. If you think it would be fun to watch all those elements in one film, then by all means, rent it. Personally, I was glad when the end credits rolled.
Charles Laughton plays an Australian soldier returning home from World War One. Before he leaves France, he promises to marry Binnie Barnes, a local hooker, but he gets into a fistfight and forgets all about it. Then, he runs across two orphaned children, adopts them, and brings them back to Australia. Turns out, the kids aren't really brother and sister, and when they grow up-even though neither one is aware of that detail-they become attracted to one another. That part of the plot was seriously disturbing. Donna Reed and Richard Carlson play the adult children, and while neither one even tries to put on an accent, even if they had, their performances would still be laughably awful. Charles Laughton isn't bad-even though his idea of an Australian accent is a Cockney accent-but his character is so unlikable he gets on your nerves pretty quickly. I thought the movie would focus on the tenderness he feels for his children, but instead he sends his daughter off to boarding school and just teaches his son how to box. That's not very tender, and as he's shown as a manipulative, hot-headed gambler during the rest of the film, there's not much to root for.