Alvin Rides Again (Roadshow) (1974)

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Released 5-Aug-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Dolby Digital Trailer-Rain
Theatrical Trailer
Biographies-Crew-Tim Burstall (Director)
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Gallery-Photo
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Short Film-AFTRS Film: Six Days Straight (2002)
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1974
Running Time 87:16 (Case: 81)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (54:50) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By David Bilcock
Robin Copping
Studio
Distributor
Hexagon
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Graeme Blundell
Alan Finney
Gus Mercurio
Frank Thring
Chantal Contouri
Noel Ferrier
Abigail
Briony Behets
Frank Wilson
Jon Finlayson
Jeff Ashby
John Michael Howson
Penne Hackforth-Jones
Case ?
RPI Box Music Brian Cadd


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Alvin Purple (Graeme Blundell) and his mate Spike (Alan Finney) decide to escape Melbourne's rat race and head north. After some comical adventures in the country they end up in an unnamed city which bears a remarkable resemblance to Melbourne. At a casino they blow a couple of thousand dollars in winnings from a country cricket match, and fall in with a bunch of American gangsters led by Balls McGee (Graeme Blundell). When Balls is accidentally put out of commission, Alvin is forced at gunpoint to impersonate the gangster, so that dealings with the local crime bigwig Fingers (Frank Thring) can go ahead. Alvin also meets Fingers' lady friend Boobs la Touche (Chantal Contouri). Can Alvin and Spike survive the underworld war? Will Alvin and Boobs find true and lasting happiness together? Is this an inept and embarrassing film that should have been kept in the vault?

    This is an inept and embarrassing film that should have been kept in the vault. Where the original Alvin Purple was a fresh comedy with a witty script and appealing performances, this is a mess. The script is just dumb, the performances vary from fair to terrible (Noel Ferrier for example) and the film is dull and tedious.

    The actors look disinterested. Graeme Blundell's usual cheerful blokiness is overwhelmed by the stupid Americanisms visited upon the Balls character he plays, the name of which is a giveaway of the level of comedy in the film. Why would 1970s American gangsters and their molls wear 1920s clothing? Maybe it isn't supposed to be realistic, but surely this was going too far. The script too, taken out of the hands of the screenwriter Alan Hopgood, is truly terrible. The one priceless moment in the film is the look of utter contempt on Frank Thring's face when he finds himself forced to utter the immortal lines "Balls, meet Boobs. Boobs, meet Balls." A lot of performers from the first film reappear in this one, but apart from Blundell and Finney they play entirely different characters.

    It's hard to say anything positive about this film, but it was a commercial success on initial release, making a considerable profit. Presumably that was on the coat-tails of the original film. I doubt whether many people went to see it twice, and this film killed off a potential Alvin franchise according to Alan Hopgood.

    This film is included on the second disc of a two-disc set, with Alvin Purple on the first disc. So, if you want a copy of Alvin Purple, you get this as well.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, not too distant from the original 1.85:1, and it is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is something of a disappointment compared to the first film, though really it is not that bad. The major differences are the amount of grain and the level of film artefacts, which may be neither here nor there for many viewers. The transfer is quite sharp, and detail is rendered quite well.

    Contrast levels are good. There is not much in the way of detail in shadows, and some of the indoor scenes are a little murky. Low level noise is present throughout, so the shadows are not uniformly dark and blacks are rarely solid. Colour otherwise is reasonable, though flesh tones can tend to be a little dark. Reds are very bright, such as Alvin's red jumper at 7:25.

    Film to video artefacts are limited to some minor aliasing on car grilles. There are a lot of film artefacts, with minor blemishes, dirt flecks and minor scratches visible throughout the running time.

    Optional hearing impaired subtitles are provided, and as is the case with all of the releases in this series, they are in large and easily read white type and are positioned on the screen relative to the speaker. The subtitles are very close to the actual dialogue from the sample I made of them.

    The film is presented on an RSDL-formatted disc with the layer change at 54:50. It is well positioned at a scene change and is not disruptive.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are two audio tracks provided. The default is Dolby Digital 5.1, with an alternative Dolby Digital 2.0 track. I listened to the default track.

    Dialogue is quite clear throughout. I presume that the original audio recording was mono. This surround remix is very much located across the front channels, with dialogue from the centre speaker and music and effects spread across the main speakers. There seems to be little in the way of rear channel or subwoofer activity. In fact I did not notice any low frequency effects.

    The music score is again by Brian Cadd, with the same theme song as in the first film. Again, the score suits the film, though it suffers because the film is so poor. Cadd gets to perform on screen with his Bootleg Family Band during the nightclub sequence. The song they perform is All In the Way (That They Use My Face), which was a hit at the time.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Like the Alvin Purple disc, the cursor was not visible on the main menu screen, which meant that I had to guess where it was in order to access the submenus. The submenus do not have this problem, nor did it occur on my DVD-ROM drive.

Main Menu Introduction

    A brief animated introduction to the set of films in the Hexagon Tribute Collection.

Dolby Digital Trailer-Rain (0:34)

    This old thing again, which is shown when you select Play Movie from the main menu. You are able to skip forward to the movie.

Theatrical Trailer (3:40)

    The trailer shows all the "highlights" from the film. It is in reasonable condition until near the end, where there is some major damage.

Biographies-Crew-Tim Burstall

    A detailed biography and complete filmography.

Filmographies-Cast & Crew

    Complete filmographies for Blundell, Hopgood, Robin Copping, Finney and David Bilcock.

Gallery-Photo (3:35)

    Footage showing posters and publicity and behind-the-scenes photographs.

Interviews-Cast & Crew (8:05)

    This shorter than usual set of interviews features Burstall, Copping, Hopgood and Blundell discussing the film. Blundell claims not to remember much of the making of it.

Short Film-AFTRS Film: Six Days Straight (2002) (10:35)

    This is a short graduation film from the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, about the comic bungling of a robbery. By comparison with the feature film, this is a masterpiece. In its execution it is streets ahead of the 1974 film, even though I have to admit I did not particularly like it (mainly due to the presence of an actor who rubs me up the wrong way entirely). The young film-makers show some talent, which I hope they are able to use in the local industry before too long. The film is in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 but is not 16x9 enhanced.

R4 vs R1

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

    Fortunately for Region 1, this film has not been released on DVD there, or in fact anywhere else in the world. The reputation of the Australian film industry remains intact, for the time being.

Summary

    This is an atrocious film by any criteria, an embarrassment to all concerned I fear. The video and audio transfers are far better than the film deserves, as is the extras package.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Sunday, November 28, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Another Alvin sequel ... sort of - REPLY POSTED
Censorship rating has changed -
Oops! - REPLY POSTED
Speaking of the R rating and Alvin... - REPLY POSTED
Alvin Rides Again's M Rating - REPLY POSTED