Barry Humphries' Flashbacks (1999)

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Released 19-Jan-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Main Menu Audio
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 136:15 (Case: 184)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By David Mitchell

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Barry Humphries
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music None Given

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Barry Humphries' take on four turbulent decades of Australian social history has the affectionately snide edge of the expat - a warm sentimentality diffused through the amused lens of distance. His vision of the 50s through to the 80s in Australia is ironic, witty and at times even whimsical in its nature, possibly amazing younger viewers with some of the archival footage, and certainly providing a few cringe-worthy memories to those of us who do remember. Our frequently gawky and faltering steps as an independent nation are documented here with all the amused tenderness of parents at a movie night.

     As we toddle through those eras from coronation re-enactments of the 50s to the corporate excess of the 80s, we're offered the sport of recognising very young versions of iconic luminaries like Germaine Greer, Clive James, countless politicians and of course Msr. Humphries himself. Ably assisted with the support of Dame Edna, dear old Sandy Stone and Les Paterson, this is a series with a light, deft approach and a good handle on the milestones of those forty years of change here Downunder.

     The episode titles are:

     1. The 50s - 24 Hours of Sunshine (45:11)

     2. The 60s - Does Anyone Still Wear A Hat? (45:57)

     3. The 70s - On The Map At Last (45:07)

     4. The 80s - The Party of A Lifetime (45:11)

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


     The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 which is appropriate for its television origins.

    The presentation has eye popping brightness and detail levels and is very sharp and clear overall. The interview segments are well defined with no low level noise present at all. Grain levels in the new vision is superb, although, of course, the archive footage is of a far more variable standard.

     Where the vision was shot for this presentation, the colour is absolutely fantastic. Skin tones are rich and lush and colours hold well without bleed or blockage.

     With the exception of some quite mild aliasing, the purpose-shot footage is of excellent, artefact free quality. Archival footage is as variable as could be expected.

     There are no subtitles available on this presentation and I detected no layer change on this dual layered disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     There is one audio track on this DVD - English Dolby Digital 2.0.

     Mr Humphries' dialogue was always clear and discernible, as was that of his cohorts, Ms Everage and Messrs. Stone and Paterson. Some of the archival heroes and heroines were less distinct, through no fault of the producers of this particular presentation. Audio sync was actually a bit of a concern on Episode 3 where it all went to Pommyland on a cruiseliner for a while, but by Episode 4 it had got itself mostly back into shape again.

     The musical score can best be described as functional, with all the usual Australian iconic suspects getting an airing at some stage or another.

     There was no activity in either the surround or the subwoofer speakers.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There were no extras on offer with this presentation.


     Presented with an audio loop and static picture, the menu offers the useful "Play All" functionality.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    I can find no evidence that this presentation has been released in any other format, so R4 is the winner.


     This wry, dry and sometimes excruciating look at Australia is worthy of your time. Accompanied by his alter egos, Humphries presents an examination of Australian culture and social history that has moments of sheer hilarity.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Mirella Roche-Parker (read my bio)
Monday, January 26, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDSinger SGD-001, using S-Video output
DisplayTeac 76cm Widescreen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationTeac 5.1 integrated system
SpeakersTeac 5.1 integrated system

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