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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
End Play (1975)

End Play (1975)

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Released 6-Oct-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Main Menu Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-Rain
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer
Biographies-Crew-Tim Burstall
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Short Film-AFTRS Film: Nightride
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1975
Running Time 108:41
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (66:45) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Tim Burstall
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring George Mallaby
John Waters
Ken Goodlet
Delvene Delaney
Charles 'Bud' Tingwell
Belinda Giblin
Robert Hewett
Kevin Miles
Walter Pym
Sheila Florance
Reg Gorman
Adrian Wright
Jan Friedl
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI ? Music Peter Best

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

    A lonely country highway. A young hitchhiker is picked up by an unseen man. Then murdered. Merchant Seaman Mark (John Waters) arrives at the country home of his brother Robbie (George Mallaby), who is a paraplegic. When Robbie goes into Melbourne, Mark brings in the body of the dead hitchhiker, and concocts an elaborate scheme to dispose of the body. Why he did not just bury it in the bush I do not know. Something is not quite right in the relationship between the overbearing Robbie and the meek Mark. Meanwhile, Mark is having an affair with Robbie's ex-girlfriend and cousin Margaret (Belinda Giblin). Enter Superintendent Cheadle (Ken Goodlet).

    This starts out as being yet another of those serial-killer-with-a-crippled-brother films that you've seen a million times before. There are however enough red herrings to keep the interest up, even if the dénouement is fairly predictable. There was not a lot of suspense and the film plays much like a telemovie.

    Younger readers may not be familiar with George Mallaby. The prominently-eyebrowed actor became well-known through a six year stint on the famous detective series Homicide. After leaving the series in 1973, he made a cameo appearance in Petersen, then starred in the first two seasons of the adult soap opera The Box. End Play was his first starring role in a feature film. His movie career did not take off to any great extent, and he remained a star on TV. His performance in this film may suggest why, as he does not seem entirely comfortable. Sadly, in the mid-1980s he suffered the first of a series of strokes that would put an end to his career and eventually his life. After 1992 he did not appear on screen, and another stroke confined him to a wheelchair for the last four years of his life. One final stroke killed him in July 2004 aged only 64.

    Like Mallaby, John Waters came to prominence through television with a starring role in the period drama Rush. His career has encompassed films and stage and he is still active. Belinda Giblin was also a TV star, in The Box, and it was on the back of this series that she, like Waters, made her feature film debut in End Play. Delvene Delaney, who older viewers would remember from the Paul Hogan Show and Sale of the Century, is a bit stiff in this film (for obvious reasons). There are a lot of familiar faces in the supporting cast, like Ken Goodlet, Reg Gorman and Terry Gill, as well as Sheila Florance.

    The film is reasonably well directed by Tim Burstall, though it is a little creaky at times. He also wrote the screenplay based on Russell Braddon's novel, and the script is satisfactory though perhaps could have used some tightening up. The location filming makes the film seem like it was made in the country even though the bulk of it was shot in a television studio. It is quite enjoyable, but if you have seen a lot of recent serial killer films it may seem mild and perfunctory by comparison. It is good though to see a serial killer portrayed as something other than a slavering maniac. The film comes as part of the Hexagon Tribute Collection.

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

Transfer Quality


    The aspect ratio chosen for this transfer was 1.78:1, not far from the original 1.85:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    This transfer looks much like the others in the Hexagon Tribute Collection. The film is reasonably sharp but a bit grainy. There is a good level of detail visible, though shadow detail can be a bit lacking at times.

    Colour is good though at times flesh tones are a little red. Bright reds tend to be over-saturated. There is some low level noise, so blacks are not entirely solid.

    Film to video artefacts are limited to some telecine wobble.

    Film artefacts are present, though these are not as frequent as in the earlier films in this set. Most of the artefacts are dirt or minor debris, with occasional white flecks.

    Optional English subtitles are available, and like all of these discs they are in large white font and positioned in relation to the speaker. They also have hearing impaired information. They seem to be accurate to the spoken word and well-timed, from the sample I looked at.

    The film is presented on an RSDL-formatted disc with the layer break placed at 66:45 at a scene change. It is barely noticeable.

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


    There are two audio tracks: a default Dolby Digital 5.1 mix and a Dolby Digital 2.0 mix. I listened to the default track and sampled the other.

    The only difference between the two tracks is the positioning of the dialogue. In the 5.1 version it comes from the centre channel, and in the 2.0 it sounds centred, but seems a little more forward in the mix. The 5.1 mix seems to have nothing in the way of rear channel or low frequency effects.

    Dialogue is clear throughout, though the audio level varies from time to time. It sounds to me as though this is a feature of the original recording and is not a mastering fault. A piece of dialogue at 56:33 sounds slightly garbled.

    Audio sync is almost perfect, except for a line that has been looped at 36:49 which does not fit with the lip movements of the actor, suggesting that the line has been changed.

    The music score is by Peter Best, and it is eerie, sinister and unnerving. I know that because the subtitles say so. It is a pretty good score, heightening the suspense without drawing too much attention to itself. There is also a banal theme song sung by Linda George.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Main Menu Audio

    The static main menu has audio from the score.

Dolby Digital Trailer-Rain (0:34)

    I guess every one of these Hexagon releases has this well-worn trailer.

Interviews-Cast & Crew (10:35)

    There are only three interviewees this time. Robin Copping (cinematographer) talks about the shooting and problems with the new film stock. Dan Burstall (camera operator and son of the director) waxes about the new camera that was used. John Waters, now starting to look a lot like former Doctor Who Patrick Troughton, discusses the story of the film. Behind the scenes footage from the production is shown.

Theatrical Trailer (3:25)

    Something is wrong, terribly, terribly wrong... A not-bad trailer that fails to give the entire plot away.

Biographies-Crew-Tim Burstall

    Detailed biography and filmography of the director.

Filmographies-Cast & Crew

    Here we get lengthy filmographies of Mallaby, Waters, Giblin, Copping, Edward Macqueen-Mason (editor), Alan Finney and Charles 'Bud' Tingwell.

Gallery-Photo (2:05)

    A sequence of publicity stills from the film.

Short Film-AFTRS Film: Nightride (10:56)

    A short film from students of the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, which has some thematic similarities with the main feature, as it depicts a massacre by a raving killer. Quite well made, it is in 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.

    Region 4 seems to have the film to itself.


    A pretty good little film even if it is a little creaky at times.

    The video and audio quality are quite good.

    A nice little extras package.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Thursday, December 02, 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

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