Cast: Robert Powell, Kevin J. Wilson, Jed Brophy, John Leigh, Murran Keane,
Richard Hanna, Stephen Ure, Peter Kaa, Darryl Beattie, Tim Bray.
Screenplay: Grant Hindin-Miller from a play by Maurice Shadbolt; Production
Design: Kevin Leonard Jones; Director of Photography: Warrick Attewell;
Editor: Paul Sutorious; Music: Stephen Bell-Booth; Producer:
L Grant Bradley; Director: Dale G. Bradley.
August 1915 - A Wellington regiment, tired and sick from prolonged duty, is ordered to
take Chunuk Bair, a hill in Gallipoli, Turkey. They take the hill after a lot of bloody fighting
and despite promised British support failing to arrive. When they get up there there seems
to be little else to do but come back down. The New Zealanders sustained huge loses in
this pointless operation, including their commanding officer, when a British navy ship fires
on the summit.
The R4 DVD is selling for about $25nz. The DVD also includes a 12 min. short, 'Falling Sparrows', and a 48 minute "Making Of" documentary of Chunuk Bair. Also within the "Bonus Features" section, there is a 44 min. "Media Studies" section that contains the original trailer, title sequence, Danny Mulheron's audition, rough cut edit, 4 rushes and a fine cut edit, with soundtrack. There are no subtitles. No known source for R1 ntsc copies.
R2 DVDs are available for about 10Eur. It is presented in its original 1.33:1 format, with 2.0 dolby digital in both English and German.
As of April 2016, it would appear that this DVD is OOP. Outside of checking used bins of shops in New Zealand and Australia, otherwise Ebay is probably your best bet.
"Filmed on the coastal hills of Wellington on a modest budget, Chunuk Bair is more a confined chamber piece than an epic, but Bradley uses this to his advantage to create claustrophobia. It is war in close-up. [...] Like End of the Golden Weather, Angel at My Table and Mauri it is compulsory viewing if we are to begin to understand ourselves as a nation". – Mark Tierney, Listener, 6 April 1992.
"Chunuk Bair has enough action to satisfy the Terminator crowd, yet still manages to rise above being a simple war movie. It seems remarkable that the production received not a cent of Film Commission or NZ On Air money. Instead, it was largely funded by Wellington's Avalon / NFU Studios, and they are to be congratulated. The film makes a moving piece of our history more accessible. Like 'End of the Golden Weather' , 'Angel at my Table', and 'Mauri' it is compulsory viewing if we are to begin to understand ourselves as a nation" - (Mark Tierney, "The star of this film is its story", Listener & TV Times, April 6, 1992)
"Despite limitations of budget and being conspicuously studio- bound, the film nevertheless manages some eloquent moments. And it doesn't fudge on attributing blame - to the incompetence of British generals - for the blundering that saw 645 out of 700 New Zealand lives lost" - (Mark Knowles, "Evocative tale of growing up in the land of their fathers", Dominion Sunday Times, April 5, 1992)
OFFLINE REVIEW SOURCES
North & South Review by Brian McDonnell - May 1992 - For details or copies contact Kakapo Books