Don's Party (Umbrella) (1976)

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Released 5-Mar-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Theatrical Trailer-x5
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1976
Running Time 86:35 (Case: 90)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Bruce Beresford
Studio
Distributor

Shock Entertainment
Starring Ray Barrett
Clare Binney
Pat Bishop
Graeme Blundell
Jeanie Drynan
John Hargreaves
Harold Hopkins
Graham Kennedy
Veronica Lang
Candy Raymond
Kit Taylor
John Grey Gorton
Case ?
RPI ? Music Leos Janácek


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.70:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Written by David Williamson and directed by Bruce Beresford, Don's Party is a towering piece of writing, providing a searching spotlight into Australian patio culture, marriage, mateship, Australian maleness, and desperate housewives.

    Originally written as a play, Don's Party first appeared on stage in Australia in 1972. The great appeal of the play,  for critics and audiences alike, was the its startlingly accurate social observation of Australian life, right down to the beer tinny holders and bowls of Twisties. The play's characters are representatives of upper-middle class Australian society. These are Australia's educated Ockers - pretentious, but only a small step away from their convict roots. As an English journalist once famously observed, "The trouble with Australians is that you can't tell from their behaviour or language how educated they are". Is that Australian egalitarianism, or Australian vulgarism?

    Don's Party is set on Federal election night, 1969. A Labor supporter, schoolteacher, and failed novelist, Don (John Hargreaves) throws a party to celebrate what he imagines will be a long-awaited Labor victory. The party starts off quietly, as most do, but as the various characters arrive, the alcohol flows, and the chances of a Labor win dwindle, the drunken atmosphere becomes more volatile.

    Most of the men grow more crude and lecherous with every drink, and they see the party as an opportunity for some boozing and adultery. Apart from Don, there's the likeable larrikin lawyer, Cooley (Harold Hopkins), the recently separated, Mack (Graham Kennedy), blustering former-academic, and management consultant, Mal (Ray Barrett), the timid, humourless, pipe-smoking, accountant and Liberal supporter, Simon (Graeme Blundell), and the arrogant and angry dentist, with the renovating habit, Evan (Kit Taylor).

    There are also an interesting group of female characters, such as Don's long-suffering wife, Kath (Jeanie Drynan), Mal’s social-climbing wife, Jenny (Pat Bishop), the giggly and naive, Jody (Veronica Lang), and the self-obsessed artist, Kerry (Candy Raymond).

    The drunken evening will force them all to face their failed marriages and crumbling aspirations.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Considering the source material is almost 30 years old, I was quite pleased with the quality of the transfer.

    The widescreen transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.70:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The sharpness is generally good, as is the black level. Unfortunately the shadow detail is very poor, such as the exterior night shots at 54:53 or 82:10.

    The colour appears a little dated, but otherwise is fine.

    There are no problems with MPEG artefacts. Film-To-Video artefacts appeared in the form of telecine wobble over the closing credits. Film artefacts appear throughout, and while most are small, some are quite large.

    There are no subtitles present on this single-sided, single-layered disc.

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

Audio

    There is only one audio track on this DVD: English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s). For a dialogue-based drama, largely set in a house, this is fine.

    The dialogue quality and audio sync are mostly fine, with just the odd slip here and there.

    The musical score is provided by a lot of the film's source music - the party tunes featuring Johnny O'Keefe, which suits the film well.

    The stereo track is not surround-encoded, and as such there is no surround presence or LFE activity.

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

Extras

    Unlike the two-disc set, the extras here are pretty slim.

Menu

    Animated with audio.

Theatrical Trailer - Don's Party (1:52)

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital stereo audio.

Aussie Theatrical Trailers

R4 vs R1

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

    As far as I'm aware, this film hasn't been released on DVD in Region 1.

    The two-disc R4 edition had the following extras:

Summary

    Energetic, fun, crude, honest, and wonderfully Australian, Don's Party is highly recommended.

The video quality is great for its age.

The audio quality is good.

The extras are slim.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3 (HDMI 1.3) with Upscaling, using HDMI output
DisplayPanasonic High Definition 50' Plasma (127 cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSamsung Pure Digital 6.1 AV Receiver (HDMI 1.3)
SpeakersSamsung

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