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Source: Australian Screen
form y separately published work icon Uncivilised single work   film/TV  
Issue Details: First known date: 1936... 1936 Uncivilised
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

An action adventure, Uncivilised sees Beatrice Lynn, a successful novelist, journey into the 'unexplored' reaches of north-west Australia to research a book about an Aboriginal tribe who is believed to be ruled by a white king, Mara. On the way there she is abducted by an Afghan trader, but the strange song of the Mara echoes through the jungle. The white chieftain later buys her from the Afgani, and attempts to win her love. Meanwhile opium smugglers try to buy Mara's collection of fabulous rubies, as war breaks out between Mara and a renegade Aboriginal warrior called Moopil. Beatrice finds she is falling in love with Mara, as a great battle begins.

Exhibitions

Notes

  • The film includes two songs, written into the narrative especially for Dennis Hoey, a British baritone singer and character actor who Chauvel chose in order to give the film an air of glamour. There are also several scenes in which Aboriginals, cast from within the Palm Island community, perform highly choreographed dances and rituals.
  • Chavel's intention with Uncivilised was to make a film that would be accessible to the American market, and hence it contains no discernible Australian context. Production on the film took place in northern Queensland and on Palm Island, while interiors were filmed at Pagewood Studios in Sydney. In all Uncivilised cost some £20,000 and took six weeks to complete. Interestingly, Chauvel gained a great deal of publicity for the film when two scenes, one in which Margot Rhys swam nude in a jungle pool, and the other a strangulation scene involving the Aboriginal killer, were objected to by the Commonwealth censor. Chauvel was eventually able to release it as he intended, although the cuts became a condition for the film's export.
  • There is some uncertainty regarding the exact authorship of the original screenplay. A number of secondary sources, including Australian Screen and the Internet Movie Database, indicate that the screenplay was by Chauvel, based on an original story by Timms. On the other hand, Andrew Pike and Ross Cooper record that both men shared in the writing of the screenplay (p. 228). The issue is further confused by the fact that the novel of the film (published that same year) is attributed solely to Chauvel. It is possible, however, that the screenplay, written by Chauvel and Timms from an original idea by the latter author, was turned into a novel by Chauvel, using the screenplay as the basis for his expanded literary version and without attributing Timms's contribution to the film version.
  • Further Reference:

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

First known date: 1936

Works about this Work

Collaborations and Renegotiations : Re-examining the ‘Sacred’ in the Film-Making of David Gulpilil and Rolf de Heer Alison Jasper , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: Literature and Theology , June vol. 31 no. 2 2017; (p. 187–199)

'This article discusses the term ‘sacred’ in relation to the work of nineteenth-century sociologist Émile Durkheim, for whom the word denoted the objects, practices and assumptions that sustained communal solidarity and fostered dynamic energies, whether or not they were conventionally described as ‘religious’. I then turn to the work of more recent scholars of ‘critical religion’ suggesting that the terms ‘religion’ and ‘the sacred’ derive from a predominantly western, patriarchal and colonial context, forming part of a complex network of interconnected categories that represent a distinctive and dominant discourse of power constructing a privileged identity through hostile Othering or exclusions. Arguably, in the Australian mainstream, a discourse of ‘religion’ imported largely by Christian settlers from the west over the last two hundred years has been employed to exclude Aboriginal ways of understanding the world, for example by promoting the category of ‘land’ as an exploitable, God-given human possession. Nevertheless, drawing on the work of Julia Kristeva, I understand that an encounter with the Other—whether the Aboriginal or the balanda—can be viewed differently: as a zone of properly disturbing but also creative possibility. It remains very important, however, to acknowledge the power imbalances that are still embedded within such encounters, and the consequent risks to indigenous Australians, of further dislocation and dispossession. This idea is explored through a consideration of the collaborative film-making of David Gulpilil and Rolf de Heer and, in particular, of two films: Ten Canoes (2006) and Charlie’s Country (2013).'  (Publication abstract)

Landscapes of Whiteness: Aboriginality in Chauvel’s Early Cinema Ben Miller , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journal of the European Association for Studies on Australia , vol. 2 no. 2 2011; (p. 127-133)
'This article focuses on two of Chauvel‟s early films to show how representations of Aboriginality and landscape often subtly, though sometimes violently, prioritise white sovereignty. Ultimately, whiteness (a way of seeing and being in the world) can be read as a lens Chauvel uses to both shape his representations of Aboriginality and landscape and simultaneously justify white sovereignty in Australia. When films such as Chauvel‟s are viewed with this relationship in mind, the fictionalised manipulation of landscape and Aboriginality, which is characteristic of whiteness in Australian cinema, is undermined as a legitimising discourse of white sovereignty.' Source: Ben Miller.
'This Fiction It Don't Go Away': Narrative As an Index to Palm Island's Past and Present Cheryl M. Taylor , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Queensland Review , vol. 16 no. 1 2009; (p. 35-67)
This article describes an abundant tradition of Palm Island narrrative, from early "whitewash" travelogues, to a previously unrecognised place-based corpus of black writing that includes the work of Boori Pryor. It discusses the presentation of Palm Island in poetry and in novels by Thea Astley and Elizabeth O'Conner.
White Lubra/White Savage : Pituri and Colonialist Fantasy in Charles Chauvel's Uncivilised (1936) Jeanette Hoorn , 2005 single work criticism
— Appears in: Post Script , Winter-Summer vol. 24 no. 2-3 2005; (p. 48-63)
y separately published work icon Featuring Australia : The Cinema of Charles Chauvel Stuart Cunningham , Sydney : Allen and Unwin , 1991 Z808336 1991 single work biography
'This Fiction It Don't Go Away': Narrative As an Index to Palm Island's Past and Present Cheryl M. Taylor , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Queensland Review , vol. 16 no. 1 2009; (p. 35-67)
This article describes an abundant tradition of Palm Island narrrative, from early "whitewash" travelogues, to a previously unrecognised place-based corpus of black writing that includes the work of Boori Pryor. It discusses the presentation of Palm Island in poetry and in novels by Thea Astley and Elizabeth O'Conner.
Landscapes of Whiteness: Aboriginality in Chauvel’s Early Cinema Ben Miller , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journal of the European Association for Studies on Australia , vol. 2 no. 2 2011; (p. 127-133)
'This article focuses on two of Chauvel‟s early films to show how representations of Aboriginality and landscape often subtly, though sometimes violently, prioritise white sovereignty. Ultimately, whiteness (a way of seeing and being in the world) can be read as a lens Chauvel uses to both shape his representations of Aboriginality and landscape and simultaneously justify white sovereignty in Australia. When films such as Chauvel‟s are viewed with this relationship in mind, the fictionalised manipulation of landscape and Aboriginality, which is characteristic of whiteness in Australian cinema, is undermined as a legitimising discourse of white sovereignty.' Source: Ben Miller.
y separately published work icon Featuring Australia : The Cinema of Charles Chauvel Stuart Cunningham , Sydney : Allen and Unwin , 1991 Z808336 1991 single work biography
White Lubra/White Savage : Pituri and Colonialist Fantasy in Charles Chauvel's Uncivilised (1936) Jeanette Hoorn , 2005 single work criticism
— Appears in: Post Script , Winter-Summer vol. 24 no. 2-3 2005; (p. 48-63)
Collaborations and Renegotiations : Re-examining the ‘Sacred’ in the Film-Making of David Gulpilil and Rolf de Heer Alison Jasper , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: Literature and Theology , June vol. 31 no. 2 2017; (p. 187–199)

'This article discusses the term ‘sacred’ in relation to the work of nineteenth-century sociologist Émile Durkheim, for whom the word denoted the objects, practices and assumptions that sustained communal solidarity and fostered dynamic energies, whether or not they were conventionally described as ‘religious’. I then turn to the work of more recent scholars of ‘critical religion’ suggesting that the terms ‘religion’ and ‘the sacred’ derive from a predominantly western, patriarchal and colonial context, forming part of a complex network of interconnected categories that represent a distinctive and dominant discourse of power constructing a privileged identity through hostile Othering or exclusions. Arguably, in the Australian mainstream, a discourse of ‘religion’ imported largely by Christian settlers from the west over the last two hundred years has been employed to exclude Aboriginal ways of understanding the world, for example by promoting the category of ‘land’ as an exploitable, God-given human possession. Nevertheless, drawing on the work of Julia Kristeva, I understand that an encounter with the Other—whether the Aboriginal or the balanda—can be viewed differently: as a zone of properly disturbing but also creative possibility. It remains very important, however, to acknowledge the power imbalances that are still embedded within such encounters, and the consequent risks to indigenous Australians, of further dislocation and dispossession. This idea is explored through a consideration of the collaborative film-making of David Gulpilil and Rolf de Heer and, in particular, of two films: Ten Canoes (2006) and Charlie’s Country (2013).'  (Publication abstract)

Last amended 28 Aug 2014 08:26:13
Subjects:
  • ca. 1920s
Settings:
  • Northern Australia,
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