Long Weekend (1978)

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Released 27-Sep-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Main Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Richard Brennan (Exec Prod) And Vincent Monton (Cinematog.)
Audio-Only Track-Interview With John Hargreaves, With Stills Gallery
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1978
Running Time 92:37
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Colin Eggleston
Studio
Distributor
Dugong Films
Umbrella Entertainment
Starring John Hargreaves
Briony Behets
Mike McEwen
Roy Day
Michael Aitkens
Sue Kiss von Soly
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $24.95 Music Michael Carlos


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.45:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Alfred Hitchcock demonstrated in his film The Birds how a creature that we humans encounter every day, without much thought or care, can become menacing. Long Weekend falls into this sub-genre of thrillers, where nature takes revenge on humans for their careless treatment of the environment.

    The film was directed by the late Colin Eggleston, who also directed the sex romp Fantasm Comes Again (1977) under the pseudonym of Eric Ram. With a background in editing and writing, he also had directing experience in television, working with Crawford Productions. The screenplay was written by Everett de Roche, who has an amazing list of writing credits, both in film and television, including the creepy 2003 film Visitors.

    Long Weekend was shot in 1977, but didn't premiere until 1979, when it opened in March at The Athenaeum in Melbourne. The film initially failed at the box office, but has since attracted a small cult following around the world. Long Weekend has also won many awards at overseas horror film festivals.

    Peter and Marcia (John Hargreaves and Briony Behets) are a husband and wife with marriage problems. Peter convinces Marcia to go on a long weekend camping trip alone, so they can rebuild their broken relationship. Although the audience doesn't know the circumstances of the relationship breakdown initially, it is clear from the outset they both have major issues to sort out.

    During the drive to the secluded beach location, Peter violates elements of nature without much thought. He throws a lit cigarette from his four wheel drive and runs over and kills a kangaroo. While it appears that these are just incidental acts, they are the beginning of the weekend from hell for the already troubled couple.

    Once their camp has been set up, Peter embarks on the thoughtless destruction of his surroundings. He hacks at a tree with an axe for fun, randomly shoots his high powered rifle and throws his rubbish into the sea. Marcia is not comfortable with the camping lifestyle and spends most of her time bored and requesting that they pack up and leave early.

    When a set of bizarre seemingly coincidental incidents begin occurring, Peter and Marcia have no idea that nature itself is imposing its form of rough justice on them. The beautiful and isolated beach setting soon becomes their own personal hell in a battle to simply stay alive.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer for Long Weekend is quite good.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.45:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. The film's original aspect ratio is 2.35:1.

    The transfer exhibits only moderate levels of sharpness, which isn’t a major criticism. I believe the slight soft look to this film is inherent in the anamorphic filming process. This is explained in detail by Vincent Monton in the audio commentary on this disc. Another issue inherent in the source material is the varying amount of film grain, which is particularly noticeable during some of the film's darker scenes. Blacks never really displayed any substantial depth or intensity, but were mostly clean throughout. Shadows were significant in detail, but varied in overall quality.

    Colours were consistent with other Australian films of the same era, displaying soft and subtle colour. These colours were rendered nicely on the disc with no obvious problems evident.

    I found no MPEG artefacts. There were no significant issues with film-to-video artefacts. There was a minor issue with some light fluctuation in an early interior scene, although thankfully though this was very brief and didn't recur. Minor film artefacts were occasionally noticed, but they weren’t problematic.

    Unfortunately, there are no subtitles on this DVD.

    Surprisingly, this disc is single sided and single layered, so there is no layer change. The overall video quality may have been improved with a slightly higher bitrate on a dual layer disc.

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

Audio

    The audio transfer is reserved, but is excellent in quality.

    There are two audio tracks available on this DVD. The default track is English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s) and there is also an English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s) track. Both are of excellent quality.

    The dialogue quality was clear and precise throughout the film. Audio sync presented no problems.

    The music score by Michael Carlos is suitably eerie. The film's main theme in particular is a wonderful stand-alone piece of music and enhanced the mood of the film from the outset.

    The surround channels were not used.

    The subwoofer was constantly active, reinforcing bass elements of the music and sound design. Some nice examples of bass effects are a dramatic thunder rumble at 15:52 and a spear gun at 28:39.

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

Extras

    There is a reasonable selection of extras on this disc.

    The main menu is a static image, themed around the film and is 16x9 enhanced. It features a looped sample of Michael Carlos's haunting score.

Audio Commentary - Richard Brennan (Executive Producer) and Vincent Monton (Cinematographer) 

    This audio commentary provides a good mix of technical information with anecdotal information. Richard and Vincent are both easy to listen to and cover a good deal of ground relating to the making of Long Weekend .

Stills Gallery with an audio only interview with John Hargreaves. (4:43)

    This is a good collection of still images from Long Weekend. Most are behind-the-scenes photographs. As these images automatically scroll, an audio track of an interview with John Hargreaves plays in the background. Hargreaves discusses acting for the screen with Tony Watts. This interview was recorded on 3rd August 1995, only months before Hargreaves' untimely death on 8th January 1996.

Theatrical Trailer - Long Weekend (1:57)

R4 vs R1

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

    At the time of this release, there is no specific R1 version available of Long Weekend.

Summary

    Long Weekend is a good "when nature strikes back" style thriller that manages to create a foreboding and eerie atmosphere, thus avoiding any unintentional comedy. The film uses its environment, which in this case is a peaceful and secluded beach setting, and transforms this into a place of fear and dread. The same excellent use of location was repeated many years later in the Australian film Lost Things, which may well have learned important lessons from Long Weekend. The strong environmental message in Long Weekend has aged very well and may actually be more relevant now than when it was made, nearly thirty years ago.

    The video transfer is reasonably good.

    The audio transfer, although basic, is excellent.

    The selection of extras is satisfactory, with the audio commentary being the stand-out.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
Sunday, July 03, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

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Comments (Add)
Region 1 release with 5.1 - TonyG REPLY POSTED