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Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, The


  • International Version
  • Original Version
Release: Sep 03, 2020 - Author: brainbug1602 - Translator: Mike Lowrey - external link: IMDB

The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith - A thought-provoking, important film in Australian film history

Jimmie Blacksmith, the son of an Aborigine and a white mother, was brought up by Reverend Neville and his wife Martha around 1900 in the hope that he would one day be part of civilised society in Australia. As a young adult, Jimmie moves out to look for work. He finds work as a fence builder for the farmer Healey, but the farmer keeps cutting his wages and refuses to write him a recommendation despite his good work. Jimmie helps the policeman Farrell to stir up the inhabitants of an Aboriginal camp to hunt down a wanted murderer. With farmer Newby he finds work as a fence builder again and is treated much better than with his previous employers. He is even allowed to marry his white friend Gilda. When Gilda gives birth to a white child, Jimmie faces Newby's ridicule because he cannot have been the father of the child. Later, when Jimmie's brother Mort and his uncle Tabidgi show up to help him with his work, farmer Newby uses this as an excuse to withhold Jimmie's food rations, as the extra manpower was not part of the original deal. Jimmie confronts Newby and there is a scandal during which several members and friends of the Newby family are killed. Jimmie and Mort flee, killing more people who have wronged Jimmie.

Jimmie Blacksmith only wants to live a decent life, but because of his origin he is confronted with constant racism and oppression. The constant harassment leads to an eruptive outburst of violence, in which the frustration built up over the years is released. The until then sympathetically portrayed Jimmie Blacksmith thus becomes a murderer who wants to take revenge on all those who have done him wrong. He does not shy away from further brutal acts. The film, which is based on a true story, thus raises the question of what possibilities remain for an individual who is discriminated against by society. Jimmie was shaped by his environment. Is the outbreak of violence justified by this? With great actors, a stirring, thought-provoking plot, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith is one of the most important Australian films of the 70s. Highly recommended.

Eureka's British Blu-ray features two versions with relatively minor differences

There are two different versions of The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith. One is the original Australian version and the other is a version adapted for the international market, which has been shortened by 4:38 minutes. There is a part of the conversation between Knowler and the butcher missing and later again a complete scene in which the two talk. The conversation of the men at the campfire chasing Jimmie was also shortened, as well as a surreal scene towards the end of the movie after Jimmie was shot. The Tabidgi trial has been relocated in the international version. The missing scenes are not fundamentally important, so that one can basically live with the international version. Interesting is the different color scheme of the two versions. The international version is clearly more flashy with its colours than the desaturated Australian version.

The Shout! Factory logo appears in front of the international version. It can therefore be assumed that a Blu-ray release is also pending in the US. You can be very satisfied with the Eureka! set, though. You will receive both versions of the film, extensive bonus material and an informative booklet. Interested parties can access it without hesitation. The big advantage of the release lies also in the English subtitles, which are switchable for both versions. So the Australian dialect is much more comprehensible.

The international version was compared to the original Australian version. Both are included on the UK Blu-ray by Eureka!


Picture comparison:

International version:

Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith international version screenshot

Original version:

Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith original version screenshot


International version: 117:16 min.
Original Australian version: 121:54 min.

The runtimes are without the logos at the beginning of the film.


The scene at the butcher's begins earlier in the Australian version. Mr. Knowler notes that the pictures are related to the crime in the newspaper. The butcher comments that some of the pictures might be too cruel to be printed in the newspaper. During the interview, the butcher cuts up the meat and wraps it up.

Knowler: "Anyhow, the Mail'll have all the photographs."
Butcher: "Surely not all, Mr Knowler. There are some things the public ought to be spared."
Knowler: "How do you mean?"
Butcher: "Murder isn't just a matter of being made to lie down on the floor. Even virgins and wives can die in ways that make the toughest policeman sick. Could be photographs taken for too terrible for anyone other than doctors and senior policeman to look at."
Knowler: "I wouldn't want to see nothing like that. What I meant was I might recognise the from or some of the people. I'm a Gilgandra boy myself. I might know these Newby people."
Butcher: "Oh, yes."

AU: 40 sec.


At the camp fire, the men talk about going to war and that more people die of typhus than are shot in the war.

Man 1: "You thinkin' of joining, Dowie?"
Man 2: "I might. Now."
Man 1: "Britain's war, not ours."
Man 2: "They're worse than this, I reckon."
Man 1: (singt) "Many years have gone by since the Irish rebellion..."
Man 2: "Yeah, look at all the fellows dyin' of disease. Hardly anyone ever gets shot."
Man 1: "Bloody Boers don't need guns."
Man 2: "Look at the death lists in the Herald. Private Briggs, enteric fever. Brown, enteric fever. Enteric fever, enteric. Hardly anyone ever dies of wounds."
Man 1: "Boers are gettin' all the sympathy, too."
Man 2: "And why not? All they wanted to do is have their land and keep the black man in his place."
Man 1: (singt) "And among them James Corbin, the Irish rebel..."
Man 2: "Aw, stick a sock in it, will ya?"

AU: 47 sec.


After the man was shot in the camp, a new scene follows in the Australian version. Tabidgi is on trial. The judge asks the jury who finds him guilty. In his defense, Tabidgi says he acted out of impulse.

Judge: "Has the Jury reached the verdict as to the charge of the murders of Miss Jane Newby and Miss Vera Newby?"
Juror: "We have, Your Honour."
Judge: "What is that verdict?"
Juror: "We find the defendant guilty, Your Honour."
Judge: "Has the jury reached the verdict as to the charge of accessory to the murders of Miss Heather Newby and Miss Petra Graf?"
Juror: "We have, Your Honour."
Judge: "What is that verdict?"
Juror: "We find the defendant guilty, Your Honour."
Spectator: "Don't worry, we'll see we get the other one."
Judge: "Very well. Have you anything to say before I pass sentence?"
Tabidgi: "I only wanted to give Jimmie sacred stone. Let him know he shouldn't have married a white girl. I've never done nothing like this before. You would think it would take quite a while to make up your mind to kill someone and then to kill him. I'm just an ignorant black man, but take my word for it, it only takes a second.

Afterwards, we see people leaving the courthouse.

After that, the scene in which the two men are talking in the bar starts earlier. They're trying to figure out where Jimmie Blacksmith might be.

Dowie: "I wonder if they've gone down to the coast. Around places like Port Macquarie, Taree."
Dan: "Taree? I know a family in Taree. Two nice daughters. Well, you can't live like a monk for the rest of your life."
Dowie: "Well the Blacksmiths aren't gonna live like monks. As poor bloody Toban found out."

AU: 2:09 min.


In the US version, after the teacher lies down, the scene in which Tabidgi is on trial follows.

Afterwards, we see people leaving the courthouse.

Instead, the Australian version shows a new scene in which Knowler talks to the butcher again. Knowler wonders why they haven't been caught yet. The butcher thinks that this is only a matter of time. Then Knowler says that there could be problems if the two are hanged, because he read in a newspaper that an Aborigine almost had his head cut off. The butcher ironically doubts the truth of the article.

Knowler: "It strikes me, they must have killed the teacher. Otherwise he would have slowed them down. I mean, it's odd that there are 20.000 people searching for them and they haven't seen hide nor hair of them for three weeks."
Butcher: "I'm sure they'll soon be brought to justice, Mr. Knowler, now that the army's involved."
Knowler: "After everything they've done, I expect these are hangings you're looking forward to."
Butcher: "I just do what is expected of me, Mr. Knowler. No more, no less."
Knowler: "Of course I can understand you being a trifle concerned."
Butcher: "I don't follow you, Mr. Knowler."
Knowler: "Well, I'm told the blacks present problems."
Butcher: "How do you mean?"
Knowler: "Scientific problems, you might say. Problems with hanging, you know."
Butcher: "I didn't know. I'd better leave such questions to you, Mr. Knowler, since you're the expert."
Knowler: "Well, that last black they hange4d, in Bathurst. I don't like to say it, but the newspapers do."
Butcher: "They said what?"
Knowler: "That he nearly got his head pulled off."
Butcher: "What newspaper said that?"
Knowler: "Truth, and the Sporting Chronicle."
Butcher: "What's a sporting paper doing printing stuff like that?"

Int: 1:42 min.
AU: 1:20 min.


The camera continues to move up the tree, then it begins to spin wildly. Jimmie has a vision in which several people he has met appear before him.

"Is she all white, Mr. Blacksmith?"
"I'll cut your bloody black balls out."
"A real genuine white."
"Paley bastard."
"Missionary black."

Afterwards, we see Jimmie awakening again.

AU: 1:17 min.


The smoking leaves can be seen longer. Jimmie puts on a little more.

AU: 3 sec.


The kitchen can be seen a little longer.

AU: 1 sec.