Pacific Banana (1981)
Main Menu Audio
Featurette-Pacific Banana Unpeeled
Featurette-Confessions Of An R Rated Filmmaker
Gallery-Pacific Banana Gallery
Gallery-Deborah Gray Gallery
Trailer-Sexy Oz Retro Trailers (3)
Audio-Only Track-Deborah Gray And Luan Peters "Trouble" Single
|Year Of Production||1981|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||John D. Lamond|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
This release is one of a series called the "Sexy Oz Retro Collection", the other releases being The True Story of Eskimo Nell and a double-feature of Fantasm and Fantasm Comes Again.
Martin Budd (Graeme Blundell) is a pilot for Sir Harry Blandings, and while ferrying Lady Blandings she, umm, wants to test his joystick. Sir Harry catches them in the act, at which time Martin sneezes. Sir Harry has to dismiss Martin but, knowing his wife's infidelities, gets him another job, with Banana Airlines. This low budget airline (definitely not to be confused with Virgin!) flies to Tahiti. Martin is co-pilot to the randy Paul (Robin Stewart), who is engaged to both hostesses: Sally (Deborah Gray) and Mandy (Alyson Best). Paul also has several bits on the side.
Martin though now has a problem. Whenever he gets in a promising situation with a woman he sneezes, and, umm, his windsock goes limp. Literally, as well as figuratively. Nothing Martin can do seems to help, even though Paul tries to set him up with several willing helpers. Meanwhile, Candy Bubbles (Luan Peters) enters into an arrangement for Banana Airlines to fly passengers to her Club Med-like resort. And Sir Harry's daughter Julia (Helen Hemmingway) is infatuated with Martin.
This is what passed for a low budget Aussie sex comedy in the early 80s. Surprisingly, it is proficiently made despite the lack of funds. This is no masterpiece but it moves at a quick pace and is rarely dull. The jokes are rather limp (ahem) and obvious, and the nudity is laid on with a trowel but the film does have a storyline to peg all of this on, and it is not made with that repressed "nudge nudge wink wink" sense of prudery and naughtiness prevalent in similar British films of the time. This could be called good wholesome fun, if this is your idea of fun.
The performers are all uninhibited and treat the material with a tongue-in-cheek sense of humour. Two British actors were imported: Robin Stewart, who would be familiar to many as Sid's son Mike from the TV series Bless This House (and also as Leyland Van Helsing in The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires), and Luan Peters, who played an Australian in an episode of Fawlty Towers. Of course, this would not be this type of film from this era without Graeme Blundell, who gives his usual assured comic performance as the somewhat timid Martin. The script is by Alan Hopgood, who wrote Alvin Purple and And The Big Men Fly, and he also plays Sir Harry in this film. The director John D. Lamond made a speciality of this type of film.
I nearly finished the plot synopsis without using the term "political correctness". There is little of that in this film. However, there is nothing particularly offensive here (at least to me) and I am sure that this movie has an audience out there in suburbia.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. I suspect that the original aspect ratio was 1.85:1, but have not been able to confirm this.
The film is pretty sharp and clear, looking much as it must have done in those suburban theatres and drive-ins in 1981. Shadow detail is not the best. The location filming in Tahiti in bright sunlight does not appear to have been augmented by the use of reflectors, as the actors cast deep shadows in which you cannot see very much. In some scenes the actors appear backlit and the level of detail is thereby reduced - I am not sure whether this was deliberate or not.
Colour is good, though perhaps a little oversaturated, as evidenced by the bright red chairs in Sir Harry's office. Flesh tones are accurately represented most of the time, which is a good thing given the amount of flesh on display.
Apart from some occasional instances of aliasing on furniture and buildings, the transfer is free of film to video artefacts. Compression artefacts were not noticed.
The print used for the transfer was in good condition, with only the usual white flecks from time to time and the occasional hair to contend with. There is some telecine wobble and jitter present throughout.
There are no subtitles on this disc. The disc is dual-layered but the entire film is on one layer and the extras on the other, so there is no layer change.
The sole audio channel is English Dolby Digital 2.0, which does not seem to have any stereo effects and there is no surround encoding present.
Dialogue is very clear and every joke is clearly enunciated. I did not notice any problems with audio sync. While the audio generally will not win any prizes, it comes over reasonably well with no deficiencies worth noting.
The music score is uncredited, and I suspect that it may have been library music not written for this film. The theme song is by the actresses Deborah Gray and Luan Peters, and has not stood the test of time very well.
|Surround Channel Use|
For a film of this age and genre, some reasonable extras have been assembled. The review case was an opaque pink plastic affair, which means that the track listing and pictures of other releases on the back of the slick were not visible.
The theme song is played as background for the menu.
This interesting featurette is based around an interview with the director John D. Lamond shot in what looks like a hotel room. He is pretty honest about the lack of pretensions in his films and talks about his views on filmmaking and the production of this film. Having a topless barmaid serving him drinks from time to time was not a wise thing to do in my opinion, as it just makes him seem like a dirty old man. There are also interviews with one of the crew, actress Deborah Gray and writer Alan Hopgood. The featurette is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.
This is more material from the above interview presented in the same format, with Lamond discussing his career in more general terms.
34 photographs from the production, including posters, publicity shots and behind the scenes material.
20 photos of Deborah Gray, most of which are from magazines and newspapers from her time as a model and actress.
The original trailer, this is in poor condition and is presented in 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. I think this gives a good idea of what sort of film this is.
Trailers for The True Story of Eskimo Nell, Fantasm and Fantasm Comes Again, all 16x9 enhanced with the first in 1.78:1 and the others in 1.33:1. The Nell trailer is quite funny, not so much the film itself but the overlaid text listing the treats that the film delivers. The latter two trailers are pretty murky looking.
This is a single released by the two actresses, and is very much of its era. There is no time coding but it runs about three minutes. The display has the cover of the singles with lyrics and a publicity shot of the performers.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This film has only been released on DVD in Region 4.
A surprisingly well fashioned comedy, this is not earth-shaking material, but it will find an audience. It contains nudity, sexual references and adult themes.
The video quality is quite good.
The audio quality is satisfactory.
The extras are not bad.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-S733A, using Component output|
|Display||Sony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Yamaha RX-V596 for surround channels; Yamaha AX-590 as power amp for mains|
|Speakers||Main: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Richter Harlequin; Rear: Pioneer S-R9; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175|