High Rolling (1977)

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Released 6-Oct-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-Rain
Interviews-Crew
Theatrical Trailer
Biographies-Crew-Tim Burstall
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Gallery-Photo
Short Film-AFTRS Film: A Horse With Stripes
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1977
Running Time 82:06
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (54:46) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Igor Auzins
Studio
Distributor
Hexagon
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Joseph Bottoms
Grigor Taylor
Wendy Hughes
John Clayton
Judy Davis
Sandra McGregor
Gus Mercurio
Chantal Contouri
Terry Gill
Terry Norris
Mario Milano
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI Box Music Sherbet


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 2.35:1 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

    Two carnival workers, Tex (Joseph Bottoms) who works the shooting gallery and Alby (Grigor Taylor), a boxer, decide to leave the troupe somewhere in North Queensland and hitchhike south. On the way, they are picked up by Arnold (John Clayton) in his lime-green Corvette. That night in a motel Arnold makes a play for Alby, who beats him unconscious. Tex and Alby discover that the Corvette has a big bag of "doings" (marijuana), so they steal the car and drive south to Surfers Paradise. On the way they pick up teenage hitchhiker Lynn (Judy Davis), but mobster Arnold is soon hot on their trail.

    This is a very slight buddy comedy from the pen of Forrest Redlich, a panel-beater whose personal fantasies are played out in this uneven film, at least according to the interviews in the extras package. The characters are quite one-dimensional, and attempts to add pathos and satire fall somewhat flat. The real problem for me is the obnoxious character played by Joseph Bottoms, an American actor who played leading roles in films during the 1970s without ever becoming a star. His incessant blabbing and arrogance left me without any sympathy for the character. Grigor Taylor was a television star in Matlock Police, and in this film he plays quite a dumb character with charm but not much else. This was the first film for a very young Judy Davis, and she shows only a little of what was to come, though the script is mostly to blame for that.

    The lovely Wendy Hughes and Sandra McGregor (Flange Desire from The Aunty Jack Show) play a couple of disco dancers, though not much is made of their talents. This could, though, be the first example of actresses miming to disco tunes in an Australian movie, something which almost became a cliché during the 1990s. Also of note is the presence of wrestler Mario Milano.

    The film is mostly unpretentious entertainment, and if you are looking for a no-brainer to pass an hour and a half, you could do worse than support the local product. It comes as part of the Hexagon Tribute Collection.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The aspect ratio chosen for this transfer was 1.78:1. According to the IMDb the original aspect ratio was 2.35:1, though I think this is unlikely. 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, as do the green portions of the image. There is some low level noise, so blacks are not solid.

    Film to video artefacts are limited to some aliasing, but this appears only infrequently.

    Film artefacts are present. Most of the artefacts are dirt or minor debris, with occasional white flecks. However, there are a few sequences where there is a lot of damage occurring in parts of the video, as though the print has been scratched during projection. The film is a little grainy, but not excessively so.

    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 54:46 at a scene change. It is barely noticeable.

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

Audio

    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 major 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. There are some very faint rear channel effects, but if you listen to the film in 2.0 you really won't miss anything. The only low frequency effects I noticed were part of the theme song, during the opening and closing credits. Most of these were directed to the mains and not to the subwoofer, which had very little to do.

    Dialogue is clear throughout, and generally this is a serviceable if unremarkable audio transfer with no detectable problems. Audio sync is excellent.

    The music score is by Sherbet, the highly successful pop band of the 70s, featuring lead singer Daryl Braithwaite. The title song was a hit at the time and features during the opening and end credits. The score itself features a couple of songs and is not through-composed like traditional scores. It is pretty effective. There is also a version of Love to Love You Baby, the old Donna Summer song.

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

Extras

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 perennial.

Interviews-Cast & Crew (11:46)

    Interviews with the enthusiastic director Igor Auzins, Wendy Hughes, Dan and Tom Burstall but not with Robin Copping, despite what it says on the menu and case.

Theatrical Trailer (0:59)

    A deadly dull voice-over sinks this full frame trailer. Take your best girl to see this.

Biographies-Crew-Tim Burstall

    Detailed biography and filmography of the director, although he produced but did not direct this film.

Filmographies-Cast & Crew

    Here we get lengthy filmographies of Auzins, Bottoms, Taylor, Davis, Hughes, Clayton, Dan Burstall and Edward McQueen-Mason.

Gallery-Photo (2:08)

    A sequence of publicity stills from the film, including a US poster for High Rolling in a Hot Corvette, with Grigor Taylor renamed Greg Taylor.

Short Film-AFTRS Film: A Horse With Stripes (25:06)

    A longer short film from students of the Australian Film, Television and Radio School. This one stars John Gregg and is one of those suburban nightmare stories that is quite eerie and compelling, though there really is no resolution to the tale. I think perhaps that this was the intention. It is in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

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.

Summary

    Not Hexagon's finest hour, but you might find this diverting if you are in an undemanding mood.

    The video and audio quality are reasonable.

    A good little extras package.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Friday, December 10, 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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