The True Story of Eskimo Nell (1975)

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Released 19-Mar-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Western Main Menu Audio
Featurette-Making Of
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1975
Running Time 98:30
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (84:47) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Richard Franklin

Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Max Gillies
Serge Lazareff
Paul Lachon
Jerry Thomas
Kurt Beimel
Kris McQuade
Ellie Maclure
Grahame Bond
Max Fairchild
Tony Bazell
Ernie Bourne
Paddy Madden
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Peter Devisser
Brian May

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 1.0 (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 Yes
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

    Very loosely inspired by the bawdy poem The Ballad of Eskimo Nell, The True Story of Eskimo Nell transposes the basic idea of the poem to gold rush Australia. It is the tale of a peeping tom named Dead-Eye Dick (Max Gillies) who befriends a randy gunslinger named Mexico Pete (Serge Lazareff) and heads of on a quest to find the "womper" (a failed attempt to coin slang for a lass who is an awfully good root) of his dreams, Eskimo Nell. Having first heard about Nell from a thug he may or may not have killed in the Klondike, Dick claims to have travelled the world looking for her. His desire for Nell has gotten so bad that he can't bear to be with another woman until he finds Nell, though Pete is more than capable of picking up the slack...

    The True Story of Eskimo Nell aims to be a bawdy Australian take on the likes of Blazing Saddles, but it misses the mark by about the length of the grand canyon. The film manages to offer up a modest helping of uninspired d*** and fart jokes, all delivered with terrible timing and a knowing wink at the camera, spread (Ha! "Spread"! Sadly, that's funnier than any delivery in the movie...) over a paper-thin string of story ideas. It is hard not to like Max Gillies and his buffoon take on Dead-Eye Dick is one of the few things to appreciate here, though it is a close call. Serge Lazareff on the other hand is woefully miscast and misses the mark all too often. The only other cast member worth mentioning is Abigail, whose full frontal nudity makes for about the only really memorable moment of the film. Alas for DVD retailers, the sales pitch "See Abigail Nude!" probably doesn't generate the same buzz nowadays as it did in the 1970s.

    In defence of director/co-writer Richard Franklin, who would go on to direct some of Australia's best genre films over the course of the following decade, The True Story of Eskimo Nell was his first real feature (not counting a handful of Adult productions he had directed under a pseudonym to pay the bills in the early 1970s) and it both looks quite nice and features rather nice composition throughout, all of which is completely lost on this sort of second-rate T&A comedy.

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Transfer Quality


    The film is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, which appears to be a slight crop of the theatrical 1.85:1 aspect ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The video looks excellent for its age. The image is quite sharp. The colours look a little dated but are quite bold and consistent throughout. There is a good level of shadow detail in the image.

    The video is free from compression artefacts and quite clean, with only a small number of film artefacts visible throughout. A mild telecine wobble is occasionally noticeable, with one dramatic instance visible at 33:01.

    No subtitles are present for the feature.

    This is a RSDL disc. The layer break occurs at 84:47 but was not noticeable on my equipment.

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


    A single English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224 Kbps) audio track is present for the film.

    The audio is limited by the basic nature of the original mix, but generally sounds quite good. Dialogue is clear and in good sync.

    The late Brian May, the Australia composer rather than English rocker, provides a fitting score that borrows heavily from the style of classic westerns and 40s B-pictures, though it is not one of his best.

    There is no surround or subwoofer use

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Making Of Featurette (30:39)

    A great "making of" featurette, far better than the film deserves. Writer and director Richard Franklin and co-writer Alan Hopgood talk through the production and reception of the film. It makes for an interesting look at the state of society at the time the film was produced, in days that censorship was easing at a rapid rate, and the failed dreams of the films creators.

Posters and Stills Gallery

    23 blasé promotional stills and posters. Ho hum.

Umbrella Trailers

    Theatrical trailers for other Aussie classics from the era, Fantasm/Fantasm Comes Again, Pacific Banana and The True Story of Eskimo Nell.

R4 vs R1

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

    The True Story of Eskimo Nell is only available in Region 4.


    See Abigail nude! Sadly, there isn't much else worth remembering about this bawdy western spoof.

    The video quality is surprisingly decent for an Australian flop that was made more than 30 years ago. The audio is limited by the original source, but quite decent also. The extras are reasonable, given the nature of the film.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Friday, February 27, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using HDMI output
Display Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

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