This exquisitely photographed film is based on an autobiography published in 1953 titled Caddie, A Sydney Barmaid. It is set in Australia during the 1920s. Helen Morse stars as a suburban housewife who takes her two small children and leaves her husband after he commits adultery with her best friend. Caddie soon discovers it's a male-dominated world outside, but she is determined to support her family.
The story chronicles the hardships of single parenthood. Caddie gets a job as a barmaid but is constantly uneasy about those taking care of her children during working hours. Eventually the children are placed in foster homes, and Caddie sees them on weekends. During the Depression, the family is reunited but times are hard and they barely have enough to eat.
Helen Morse succeeds in making Caddie into a credible feminist who survives because of her strong work ethic, her ingenuity, and her will power. Jack Thompson (seen in Breaker Morant) is spiffy as a womanizer Caddie forgets once she sees what he's really like. Taxis Emmanuel is very good as a Greek owner of a dress shop who pledges his love but takes a long time to fulfill his promise. Set alongside the portraits of females in Picnic at Hanging Rock and The Getting of Wisdom, this sturdy film helps round out our understanding of the plight of women in Australia.