Barry Humphries' Flashbacks (1999)
|Category||Documentary||Main Menu Audio|
|Year Of Production||1999|
|Running Time||136:15 (Case: 184)|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||David Mitchell|
Universal Pictures Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes|
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)
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.
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.
|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.
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.
|DVD||Singer SGD-001, using S-Video output|
|Display||Teac 76cm Widescreen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Teac 5.1 integrated system|
|Speakers||Teac 5.1 integrated system|