Eureka Stockade

2231. EUREKA STOCKADE (1948-England-Australia). With CHIPS RAFFERTY, CORDON JACKSON, PETER FINCH. Directed by HARRY WATT. Back in the 1850s, Australia was a land Of great wealth and dire poverty. Then gold was discovered at various locales throughout the British colony. Thousands Of immigrants and blue collar types headed to the gold fields in an attempt to improve their lot by striking it rich. This upset the wealthy who were losing their workers en masse. They and the government instituted regulations and rules in an attempt to cure this “gold fever.” Soldiers would show up on horseback and ride through the fields harassing the panners. Peter Lalor is played (with just the right touch Of subtlety and conviction) by Chips Rafferty, Australia’s most famous movie actor during the 1940s and 50s. As resentment against authority builds among the diggers, the sOft-spoken Lalor is a voice Of reason amid the madness. His goal is to show the government that the diggers are not rabble but a disciplined body who are coming together to demand human rights. The result is an exciting and deeply moving drama Of gentleness and greed, injustice and brutality. Scottish-born director Harry Watt was one Of England’s pre-eminent documentary filmmakers before he began making feature films in the mid-1940s. 103 minutes Drama