Australia – 1981
Director – David Hemmings
Vestron Video, 1984, VHS
Run Time – 1 hour 37 minutes
Donald Pleasence in top form) is a rugged frontiersman who has spent his life living on the fringes forging his own path. Barney (Ken Wahl) is a young rebel, born into a society that offered nothing but a conformity he couldn’t stomach and wouldn’t eat anyway. So reticent are they to stray from the lonely path of personal initiative that our protagonists argue with each other for the first half of the film.
|On the left is Bruno Lawrence of Quiet Earth|
David Hemmings' Kiwi Western fantasy doesn’t manage to be anything but safe. Gibbie and Barney do dabble a little in rebellion, but it would be far too upsetting if they were ever allowed to truly reject society. That’s why, in order to succeed Zephyr’s protagonists actually have to embrace it. What better way to do that than by recreating that bedrock of social institutions, the family with the introduction of a woman. Gibbie’s estranged daughter Sally (Lesley Ann Warren) starts out scolding and yelling, but reconciles with her father and falls in love with Barney in time to assist in their triumph. And of course it’s important to consider that recreating civilization in the wilderness essentially robs it of any of its frontier character. Onward colonizing heroes flush with Old Crow and treasure!