15 August 2003 | Gunbarrel
Nice little Australian Christmas film ...
I first saw this film back in 1990 (we still have the VHS tape we recorded it on back then) and although I'm now 13 years older the film still makes for an enjoyable viewing.
The story involves the Thompson family, whose farm has just survived a drought and are in dire straits and risk losing their farm if they can't pay the mortgage off. Their only hope lies in their horse - Prince - who will be competing in the New Years Day Cup and if he can win they'll have enough to pay off the debt. Unfortunately 2 bumbling lowlifes called Bill and Sly steal Prince and head off into the bush where they hope to escape and use Prince to make a fortune. Upon realising this the 3 children in the house (Helen, John and their English cousin Michael) set off into the bush after the 2 thieves along with Manalpuy, an Aboriginal who lives on their farm.
The story is pretty simplistic but considering the target audience is primarily children it's decent fun. This film is special being that it was Nicole Kidman's first starring role in a movie (at the young age of 17). Australian TV viewers would probably also be interested to know that also starring was an actor named John Howard (not the prime minister) who today is now well-known for his roles in the Australian TV series 'SeaChange' (which he won a Logie for) and 'Always Greener' - here he plays one of the horse thieves (Sly) and its interesting to see the way he looked 20 years ago (he looks a lot thinner - and taller - but the face has remained the same).
Since seeing the film in 1990 I have never seen it screened again on television, nor have I seen it anywhere in any video store, so good luck to anyone who might want to catch it as it may be another of those 'hard-to-find' films (like too many older Australian films). Still its worth a watch if you can - if only to see a young, teenage Nicole Kidman with curly brown hair and freckles on her face.