On 5 October 1946 a report on an outstanding new film showing at the Leicester Square Cinema, a joint Australian-British endeavour, The Overlanders, described it as ‘fresh and lovely-and a study in artistic self-restraint’. Maybe these characteristics were matched by Ireland’s music for the film, the opening of which can be heard HERE. Throughout the film music is used sparingly (with ‘self-restraint’), underpinning particular moments. The film critic who lauded it in 1946 didn’t comment on the music, however, focusing on what he
thought were the main strengths:
It is a cast of drovers who look like drovers and of a pretty girl who can manage cattle with the best of them. The all ride splendidly. Besides riding, they have not so little to do that they become more nonentities, nor so much to do that their shortcomings as actors are evident. But the real principals in the cast are the horses, the cattle – and, above all, the stony, forbidding territory of the Australian North.
I have written previously of Ireland’s attempts to transport his musical response to the English landscape to an unknown, harsher place. He would have been drawn to the ancient wilderness images of the film, and perhaps rather taken with a young actor going by the name Peter ‘Pagan’!
Source: Manchester Guardian, 5 October 1946, p. 5.