To the children of Australia
in the hope of enlisting their sympathies
for the many beautiful, amiable, and frolicsome creatures
of their fair land,
whose extinction, through ruthless destruction,
is being surely accomplished
Dot and the Kangaroo (1977)
Running Times: 80 mins
Directed and Produced by: Yoram Gross
Music by: Bob Young
Joan Bruce- the kangaroo
Barbara Frawley- Dot
Ross Higgins- Willie Wagtail
Spike Milligan- Mr Platypus
Joan Slater- Mrs Platypus
This was one of my favorite movies as a child. It was based on a book by Ethel C. Pedley (published in 1899). I really wish I could get my hands on this movie, as I only have the old beta tape.
The main story is that a little girl, Dot, gets lost in the thick bush in Australia. She is picked up and put in the pouch of a nice kangaroo, who has recently lost her Joey and has room in her pouch. The kangaroo shows Dot all the wild Australian animals. While it is nice being with these animals, it is important for Dot to get home to her family. The kangaroo takes it upon herself to bring Dot back home. The danger? Dot’s father and friends like to shoot kangaroos.
This movie subtly teaches children the importance of protecting the wildlife lest it become extinct. This is done in two ways. First, we see all the animals in the deep forests of Australia, and makes you identify with them. We are also put into the animals shoes, as our little friend, Dot, gets lost in an unfamiliar setting. Without the kangaroo’s help, she would have died. It kind of has a treat-others-as-you-would-like-to-be-treated message being sent, which is important to teach little kids.
The movie is animated on top of real background footage. It was really cool to see the –actual- bush, not just some artist’s rendition of it. It made the movie really beautiful. In my opinion, this is a must-see for children. Though it has been ten years, I still remember it vividly today.