Hog heaven as Har­ley is born

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Pay Television - Har­ley and the David­sons,

The mere men­tion of Har­ley-David­son mo­tor­cy­cles brings to most minds the Hell’s An­gels gang. De­spite these as­so­ci­a­tions, the Har­ley re­mains a sym­bol of free­dom, tra­di­tion and com­mu­nity, a metaphor for a par­tic­u­lar Amer­i­can life­style.

Har­ley and the David­sons, part of Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel’s move into scripted drama, cel­e­brates the story be­hind the sym­bol­ism and the way the bike be­came a piece of Amer­i­can his­tory, as fa­mil­iar as Coke or Levi’s. Based on the true story of founders Wal­ter and Arthur David­son, and their friend Bill Har­ley, the three-part, six-hour minis­eries, which uses 80 spe­cially built replica mo­tor­cy­cles, charts the birth of the iconic bike be­gin­ning at the turn of the 20th cen­tury.

Knock­about for­mer rancher Wal­ter (Michiel Huis­man), younger brother Arthur (Bug Hall) and en­gi­neer­ing ge­nius Bill (Robert Ara­mayo) risked their en­tire for­tune to launch the bud­ding en­ter­prise. Each of these men faces very dif­fer­ent chal­lenges.

The first episode shows Arthur and Bill’s strug­gle to cre­ate a ma­chine with a small but pow­er­ful petrol en­gine; an en­gine not much larger than a lady’s foot, but strong enough to pro­vide the re­quired horse­power. Even­tu­ally, af­ter Wal­ter joins Arthur and Bill, they de­ter­mine to build some­thing dif­fer­ent to the many other ma­chines of the time. “And we build it tough,” says Wal­ter. “I want ours to go any­where.”

It’s all a bit boy’s own, ca­pa­bly di­rected by Ciaran Don­nelly, the big races alone worth the price of ad­mis­sion, aimed squarely at true be­liev­ers. As The Hol­ly­wood Re­porter said, this is “hog ha­giog­ra­phy, pure and sim­ple”, and on that level it is ut­terly en­joy­able. Dis­cov­ery. Thurs­day, 8.30pm,

Robert Ara­mayo, Michiel Huis­man and Bug Hall play the men who cre­ated the Har­ley-David­son mo­tor­bike

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