GALLIPOLI by Jack Bennett


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A ""novelization"" of the recent, well-received WW I film--adding son e Australian landscape and character background descriptions but otherwise merely recyclin what is, at its heart, a fairly predictable anti-war tale. Archy Hamilton from the Bindana back-country and Frank Dunne, an unpatriotic egoist, meet when they run against each other at a track meet--so, when a recruiting drive for the 10th Light Horse Brigade rejects too-young Archy, he and Frank strike out for Perth: eventually, after crossing 40 miles of desert by foot, Archy manages to get into the Light Horse while Frank (no horseman) joins the infantry with buddies Billy, Barney, and Snowy. Thus, all sail off for the great adventure of training--before being sent to help the British fight the Turks at Gallipoli, where horror is commonplace. Then a big drive to push the Turks back to Constantinople requires the diversionary sacrifice of the Australians, who are sent without bullets into machine-gun fire (supposedly on a fearful bayonet charge that will put a scare into the Turks). Barney, Snowy, and Archy die almost instantly; Frank lives because Archy has given him his safe job as message-runner. An obvious story altogether--the film's actors provided much of the appeal--and inferior in almost every respect to Roger McDonald's 1915 (1979), the best recent fictional treatment of Australians at Gallipoli.

Pub Date: Dec. 28th, 1981
Publisher: St. Martin's