Regarded as one of Australia's most successful and affectionately remembered documentaries, The Back of Beyond follows mailman Tom Kruse as he makes his fortnightly deliveries along the Birdsville Track. The theme explored is very much that of the ability of Australians to adapt to the harshness of the central Australian outback.
Instead of the typical documentary film's 'single voice of authority,' Back of Beyond's narration is provided by several storytellers representative of the voices of the outback. These people include Kruse, the women on the two-way radio, Malcolm (an Aboriginal man), and the Birdsville policeman.
'The Back of Beyond celebrates the life and times of Australia’s best known outback mail man Tom Kruse MBE. Every fortnight he battled isolation, heat, sand dunes and floods to deliver mail and supplies to the families along the 517 kilometre Birdsville Track in central Australia.
'Representing the complex interrelations of the multicultural community and their environs, the film is considered by many to be one of Australia’s premier films, and is an exemplary representation of 1950s Australian transformational culture.' (Publication blurb)
'The post-war period in Australian cultural history sparked critical debate over notions of nation-building, multiculturalism and internationalization. Australian Post-War Documentary Film tackles all these issues in a considered and wide-ranging analysis of government, institutional and also radical documentaries.
'On one level, the book is a selective history of Australian documentary film in the immediate post-war years. It also charts the rise of a progressive film culture. As a whole it is a thorough study of the international flows of film culture. Williams illustrates these themes by critiquing the key films of the era, including the seminal
'The Back of Beyond, often cited as the greatest Australian film of all time. Australian Post-War Documentary Film retells film history by reading these documentaries as part of a nexus of international, and particularly Australian filmic, written and dramatic texts, with close attention to textual analysis. The book will appeal to anyone interested in international cinema, the way that it theorizes the period and offers a host of international comparisons, widening its ideas to the fabric of cultural production that surrounds all art works.'
Source: Publisher's blurb.