review for The Sundowners on AllMovie

The Sundowners (1960)
by Keith Phipps review

Hardly the most conflict-driven film of Fred Zinneman's career, or anyone's, The Sundowners is characterized by a gentle tone that effectively complements its striking Australian location photography. Wavering accents aside, both Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr make a great team as a pair of Irish drovers, with Mitchum seeming, amazingly enough, almost cuddly. The central issue -- Mitchum's wanderlust versus Kerr's desire to settle down -- is so muted as to be almost invisible, but the two leads carry it off nicely. Even if it dodges some the stickier issues of class and colonialism, it keeps the interest in its characters high, with Peter Ustinov providing memorable comic relief. By its conclusion, Sundowners has ably conveyed the difficulties facing those who settle the frontier.