Italian import Walter Chiari scores in a role that seems tailor-made – an Italian journalist who emigrates to Australia to write for an Italian journal in Sydney edited by his cousin. He arrives very green, and much amusement is caused by his taking too literally some of the Aussie slang.
Chiari finds his cousin has fled. He has left a very irate young lady, Clare Dunne, who has put money into the journal. Chiari gets a job as a bricklayer and ultimately makes the grade with his fellow Aussie workmen. Determined to repay his cousin’s debts in installments, Chiari seeks Dunne on Sydney’s beaches and elsewhere, but is rebuffed all the way.
Apart from Chiari, Chips Rafferty (who gives an outstanding performance as Dunne’s father) and Ed Devereaux as the main bricklayer, most of the cast seems self-conscious before the cameras. For the first half, the film [from the bestselling novel Down Under by John O’Grady] strives too hard to be funny and concentrates too much upon the strange Aussie lingo. Once it settles down to telling a story and forgetting about this, it is stronger entertainment.