THE BACK OF BEYOND made its film premiere at the Marree Town Hall, SA on July 24th, 1954 followed by a screening at the inaugural Sydney International Film Festival in the same year, then two months later screening in Venice, winning the prestigious Grand Prix Assuluto Award over all the films screened.
Throughout the following year and half, the film would go on to be seen by more than a million Australians.
Considered Australia’s most successful documentary, it was described in 100 Greatest Films of Australian Cinema as “perhaps our national cinema’s most well known, best kept secret”.
Well received by critics and the public alike, it was prophetically described during an ABC radio broadcast by Professor Stout as “ a classic… John Heyer’s THE BACK OF BEYOND is a landmark Australian documentary. It will cause a sensation in Britain.”
THE BACK OF BEYOND follows Tom Kruse’s 300-mile drive along the remote mail route from Marree in South Australia to Birdsville in Queensland where he delivered letters and supplies to outlying cattle stations. It follows his remarkable journey and celebrates the characters he regularly meets along the way that define outback Australia.
The 60th anniversary DVD edition of THE BACK OF BEYOND contains three bonus John Heyer historical short films: Journey Of A Nation (1947); The Reef (1977) and Let’s Go (1956) plus a photo gallery of archival images from the John Heyer Estate.
THE BACK OF BEYOND returned to the big screen last year at the Sydney International Film Festival after it debut at the event’s opening year back in 1954.
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