back in the 1980s the Australian TV mini-series was a huge ratings
winner for commercial stations - and there were some damn fine productions
presented to the viewing public.
of the outstanding series was ANZACs, an epic look at Australia's
fighting soldiers during World War I.
many other series on The Diggers, however, ANZACs went further
than the heroic debacle of Gallipoli and followed the Australians
into the hell of the Western Front.
they made life hard for the British officers and even harder on
the pointy-helmeted Germans.
being regarded as untried against European troops, the ANZACs acquitted
themselves so well they were rarely out of the action and over the
war some 60,000 Australians died and more than 160,000 wounded.
mini-series is very much an ensemble-acting affair with some very
well known faces in the line-up. Andrew Clarke, Paul Hogan (in his
first dramatic role), Tony Bonner, Jon Blake, Megan Williams, Ilona
Rogers and Robert Coleby among many others.
runs for almost 9 hours and is a pretty damn good look at that period
and that war.
battle scenes are terrific and the muddy trenches of the Western
Front look acceptably cold and horrible.
of the acting goes a bit astray and there is sometimes a bit too
much play on larrikinism and Ockerness, but overall it sits well
as a quality drama with good characters.
this only because I really rated ANZACs highly when I originally
saw it on the box, but since then TV perfection in the shape of
Band of Brothers has come
along and blown almost everything else out of the water.
DVD transfer for ANZACs is pretty good, considering its age,
although it does suffer a little from graininess (not in itself
a bad thing for a gritty period piece) and it lacks sharpness and
it is a good yarn and one Australians should take the time to watch.
1: Episode 1: Australia in 1914… Outbreak of war… Recruitment… Training…
2: Arrival in France (1916)… Nursery Sector… The Battle of the Somme…
2: Episode 3: The Somme Winter (1916-17)… The Hindenberg Line… Bullecourt…
Blighty Leave… Third Battle of Ypres begins (July 1917)… Menin Road…
4: Third battle of Ypres bogs down (November 1917)… The German Offensive
(March 1918)… The Battle of Amiens… Hazebrouk… Battle of Nieppe
3: Episode 5: The Yanks are coming… "Peaceful Penetration"… Monash
appointed Commander of the 5 Australian Divisions… Battle of Hamel…
The "Jack ups" Monash's Big Push (August 8, 1918)… Armistice (November
11, 1918)… Back Home.