Don's Party (Umbrella) (1976)
|Year Of Production||1976|
|Running Time||86:35 (Case: 90)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Bruce Beresford|
John Grey Gorton
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.70:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
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.
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.
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.
|Surround Channel Use|
Unlike the two-disc set, the extras here are pretty slim.
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
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:
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.
|DVD||Sony Playstation 3 (HDMI 1.3) with Upscaling, using HDMI output|
|Display||Panasonic 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 Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Samsung Pure Digital 6.1 AV Receiver (HDMI 1.3)|