Review: ‘Travelling North’

This superbly crafted adaptation of David Williamson's popular stage play is a mature, frequently funny and ultimately most moving story of old age and retirement.

This superbly crafted adaptation of David Williamson’s popular stage play is a mature, frequently funny and ultimately most moving story of old age and retirement.

Leo McKern plays Frank, a rather cantankerous ex-Communist and civil engineer who retires from work at age 70. A widower, he has persuaded his close friend, Frances (Julia Blake), a widow but not as old as he, to accompany him north, to subtropical northern Queensland.

After many happy days fishing, reading and listening to music (and enjoying the sexual side of the relationship), Frank’s health begins to deteriorate and Frances starts to yearn to see her family again.

Australian-born McKern, in his first Australian film, gives a remarkable performance as the crotchety, yet endearing, Frank. It’s a hugely enjoyable portrayal. As Frances, Blake positively glows; she plays a patient, loving woman with a determination of her own, and it’s a rich characterization.

Travelling North

Australia

Production

View. Director Carl Schultz; Producer Ben Gannon; Screenplay David Williamson; Camera Julian Penny; Editor Henry Dangar; Music Alan John; Art Director Owen Paterson

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1987. Running time: 96 MIN.

With

Leo McKern Julia Blake Graham Kennedy Henri Szeps Michelle Fawdon Diane Craig
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