The Man from Snowy River

Jim’s ride …

In the classic Australian film, The Man from Snowy River, Jim Craig (Tom Burlinson) has joined the crack horsemen in pursuit of the wild brumbies, but the men baulk at following the mob down a precipitous decline. As Harrison (Kirk Douglas) declares the mob has beaten them, Craig gallops through the pack and over the precipice.

The essence of the poem by Banjo Paterson (on which the film is based) is captured in this sequence – the wild ride down the mountain. Many of the film’s lines, as when Harrison says ‘You can bid the mob good day’, come directly from Banjo Paterson’s poem.

Jim’s ride is surely one of the most exhilarating film sequences ever shot in Australia.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Another character from the film was of course Clancy of the Overflow, played by Jack Thompson. Although debate rages as to whether the Man from Snowy River was a real person or the synthesis of many horsemen whom Banjo Paterson had met or heard about, there is an impressive body of material to support the conclusion that Clancy was indeed Thomas Gerald Clancy, an overseer and drover who was based in central NSW from the 1860s to the 1880s. Amongst that material is Thomas Clancy’s will, signed and witnessed by one A.B Paterson, solicitor.

    The poem written by Paterson, “Clancy of the Overflow”, is reputed to have been based on a true story that he experienced when working as a solicitor when someone asked him to send a letter to a man named Thomas Gerald Clancy, asking for a payment that was never received. Banjo sent the letter to “The Overflow”, a sheep station 100 kilometres south-west of Nyngan, and soon received a reply that read:

    “Clancy’s gone to Queensland droving and we don’t know where he are”.

    In 1897, Thomas Clancy – himself something of a bush poet – wrote a poem to reply to Banjo Paterson’s, named “Clancy’s Reply”.

    On 26 February 2014, there was a fascinating episode on Radio National where Michael Cathcart investigated the issue.


  2. Worth noting, for those who may not realize it, the poet Paterson was a solicitor, and since he would have to have seen the events to have recorded them, they made him the solicitor who brings the horse to Harrison at the beginning of the movie — though he introduced himself by his given name, Andrew, rather than by his pen name, Banjo. Aside from lines from “The Man From Snowy River,” it also borrows at least a few words from Paterson’s poem, “Clancy of the Overflow,” when Clancy in the movie describes the outback as a “vision splendid.” The poem reads, “He sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains unended.” Plus naming the one character Mrs. Hume would be a reference to Hamilton Hume, the explorer who opened up the region. So the movie is truly saturated with iconic Aussie references. Definitely worth seeing for so many reasons — but yes, especially for that famous ride.

    Liked by 1 person

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