Overall | Long Weekend (1978) | Razorback (1984) | Stone: Special Edition (Single Disc) (1974) | The Chain Reaction (1980) | Fantasm/Fantasm Comes Again (1976) | The True Story of Eskimo Nell (1975)

Oz-ploitation-Volume 2 (1974)

Oz-ploitation-Volume 2 (1974)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 3-Nov-2008

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Overall Package

    Another seven Ozploitation classics on six discs. The flicks in Volume 2 are ruder, cruder and more violent than those in Volume 1, which is sure to please anyone out for a retro thrill.

    This time around we have three absolute genre classics (Long Weekend, Razorback and Stone), two solid genre flicks (The Chain Reaction and Fantasm), one stinky sequel (Fantasm Comes Again) and one all-around stinker (The True Story of Eskimo Nell) that at least has the (in)decency to take off all of Abigail's clothes.

    A great value pack with enough variety to please anyone willing to in Aussie genre classics.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Long Weekend (1978) | Razorback (1984) | Stone: Special Edition (Single Disc) (1974) | The Chain Reaction (1980) | Fantasm/Fantasm Comes Again (1976) | The True Story of Eskimo Nell (1975)

Long Weekend (1978)

Long Weekend (1978)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 27-Sep-2004

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

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

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

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.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Region 1 release with 5.1 - TonyG REPLY POSTED

Overall | Long Weekend (1978) | Razorback (1984) | Stone: Special Edition (Single Disc) (1974) | The Chain Reaction (1980) | Fantasm/Fantasm Comes Again (1976) | The True Story of Eskimo Nell (1975)

Razorback (1984)

Razorback (1984)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 21-Sep-2005

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-Making Of-Jaws On Trotters
Audio-Only Track-Interview With Gregory Harrison
Deleted Scenes
Gallery-Stills And Poster
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Roadgames, The Chain Reaction, Long Weekend
Trailer-Night Of Fear/Inn Of The Damned
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1984
Running Time 95
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Russell Mulcahy
Studio
Distributor
Wonder Classics
Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Gregory Harrison
Arkie Whiteley
Bill Kerr
Chris Haywood
David Argue
Judy Morris
John Howard
John Ewart
Don Smith
Mervyn Drake
Redmond Phillips
Alan Becher
Peter Schwarz
Case PUSH-1 (Opaque)
RPI $29.95 Music Iva Davies


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    I have always felt that the early 1980s was a golden time for Australian Cinema. As a young teenager I can remember going to the cinema and watching a number of home grown classics. The ones that immediately come to mind are Mad Max 2, Gallipoli, Breaker Morant and strangely enough, a riveting story about a rampaging oversized killer pig. At the time of its release Razorback impressed the heck out of me. What immediately struck me was how visually stunning the film was. The use of lighting, dissolves, rapid editing and matte work was an optical feast. Looking back at the film 20 years later I'm happy to report that Razorback is still an eye opener.

    In between the visual flourishes Director Russell Mulcahy weaves an interesting story, full of bizarre characters and unsettling situations. Using Jaws as a template the viewer never gets a clear look at the marauding beast until the third act, and then only briefly. The creature attacks are fast, vicious and well paced. It's very easy to cross the line with horror and become victim to the mundane. Mulcahy knows not to treat his audience with contempt, avoiding the obvious clichés inherent in the genre. More importantly he should be acknowledged for presenting a potentially ridiculous concept with conviction and panache.

    Russell Mulcahy is a gifted visualist. He followed Razorback with the instant cult classic Highlander, a film that capitalized on Mulcahy's visual strength. Unfortunately he wasn't able to replicate his early success, and has spent the last decade making low budget television and genre films.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Razorback is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2:35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced for widescreen viewing.

    For a twenty year old film the transfer found here looks great. The image is fairly sharp with only a hint of edge enhancement. Shadow details are thankfully strong enough to present Dean Semler's awesome cinematography in all its glory. There are momentary patches of grain during the darker sequences, mostly towards the end of the film, but they are only minor. There was no low level noise.

    The colour palette is vibrant with no image bleeding.

    There are occasional film artefacts present on the print but they are not overly intrusive.

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

Audio

    Razorback has been remastered from its original 2 channel surround track to a well rendered Dolby Digital 5.1 remix.

    Dialogue is clear and well defined, however there are occasional audio sync issues that appear to be attributable to ADR post production requirements.

    The film's score by Ice House lead singer Iva Davies is excellent. Full of rhythmic mood and strange orchestral riffs, Davies creates a score full of atmosphere and depth. In fact, the score provides an atmosphere so tangible that it becomes a character in and of itself.

    The remixed 5.1 track is well balanced with multiple sound elements that totally immerse the viewer. Directional effects, although not in abundance, do present well in the rear channels as does the wonderful score and ambient noise.

    The subwoofer adds a potent lower end reverberation to every sound effect.

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

Extras

Main Menu Introduction

Menu Animation & Audio

Featurette-Jaws On Trotters (70 min)

    An excellent documentary featuring recollections by Director Russell Mulchay, Producer Hal McElroy, Creature Effects Supervisor Bob McCarron, Iva Davies, Judy Morris and Chris Haywood. There's nothing better than a candid documentary that relishes the opportunity to discuss a troubled production warts and all. The contributors, who obviously have fond memories of the film, discuss every aspect from initial concept to theatrical release.

Featurette Audio-Only Track (Interview With Gregory Harrison)

    A reasonably in-depth interview with the star of the film (if you don't include the oversized swine). Harrison is gracious and fairly candid about his experience - a nice extra.

Deleted Scenes

    Four extended Razorback attack scenes. The scenes are presented uncut as they were upon initial release. It is also obvious that they are from the VHS release of the film in 1984 - see the censorship notes for further information.

Scene 1: Station Wagon death scene. Judy Morris is ripped apart inside her vehicle.

Scene 2: Waterhole Death Scene. Bill Kerr has his entire face bitten off while still screaming.

Scene 3: David Argue death Scene. The scene shows Argue being eaten while he vomits blood from his mouth.

Scene 4: Pet Pack attack scene. Gregory Harrison pierces the Monstrous Hog's jugular and is drowned in arterial spray.

Gallery

Theatrical Trailer

Trailer - Roadgames

Trailer -The Chain Reaction

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

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

    This title is currently only available in R4 or R2. The transfers are identical - both are cut for violence and gore.

    The Region 4 version contains the 70 minute Jaws on Trotters featurette, the audio interview with Gregory Harrison and different trailers.

    The Region 2 edition contains a 5.1 DTS track, Biographies, Still Gallery and a featurette that contains interviews with several production crew (but no director, producer or cast members) that runs about 25 minutes.

    The clear choice is the R4 edition.

Summary

   Razorback is an all but forgotten locally produced horror gem. The transfer is excellent, and the extra features produced for this release are outstanding. A great Region 4 product.

There is an Official Distributor Comment available for this review.
read

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Greg Morfoot (if interested here is my bio)
Friday, November 25, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using Component output
DisplayLG 76cm Widescreen Flatron Television. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony HT-K215. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony HT-K215
Speakers fronts-paradigm titans, centre &rear Sony - radio parts subbie

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
R2 deleted scenes - Anonymous
Missing deleted scene? - Lee N
4 Stars ??? - The Royal Tenenbaum
Cut version. - Greg
What’s the film time exactly? - Concern Citizen
Theatrical version - Miklos (my stinkin' bio)
Any comments, Greg regarding the questions? - Concern Citizen REPLY POSTED
Four stars ???? - REPLY - Anonymous
RAZORBACK UNCUT SCENES - Umbrella Ent REPLY POSTED
Deleted Scene... - Anonymous
Deleted scene... REPLY - Anonymous
regarding Umbrella's clarification - Bran (my bio, or something very like it)
the 5.1 remix - Anonymous
R rated version of the DVD? - Anonymous

Overall | Long Weekend (1978) | Razorback (1984) | Stone: Special Edition (Single Disc) (1974) | The Chain Reaction (1980) | Fantasm/Fantasm Comes Again (1976) | The True Story of Eskimo Nell (1975)

Stone: Special Edition (Single Disc) (1974)

Stone: Special Edition (Single Disc) (1974)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 21-Apr-2008

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Theatrical Trailer-Stone
Teaser Trailer-Umbrella Trailers
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1974
Running Time 94:59
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Sandy Harbutt
Studio
Distributor
Hedon
Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Ken Shorter
Sandy Harbutt
Deryck Barnes
Hugh Keays-Byrne
Roger Ward
Vincent Gil
Rebecca Gilling
James Bowles
Bindi Williams
John Ifkovitch
Lex Mitchell
Rhod Walker
Dewey Hungerford
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI ? Music Billy Green


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, and not just cigarettes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    "Yeah, I like the ol' Grave Diggers. I'd be glad to see them anytime."... Stone.

    I must point out from the outset, this single disc edition of Stone is only available as part of Umbrella's Ozploitation Volume 2 (6 disc set). If you wish to purchase Stone individually, Umbrella has a two-disc special edition, which is loaded with terrific extras. Click here to read my review.

    At the beginning of the 1970's the Australian film industry was virtually non-existent. The small amount of film being produced was basically the product of foreign studios. Although titles like, Age Of Consent, Walkabout and Wake in Fright are all excellent films, they were all produced in Australia by Hollywood studios, under the helm of foreign directors.

    It wasn't until the emergence of films such as Stork, Alvin Purple and The Adventures of Barry McKenzie, that the local industry developed a real identity. Audiences began to see films that openly embraced our culture - the good and the bad. Most of the films that were made during the early seventies were comedies, which exploited the Australian "ocker" image. But in 1974 a film arrived that was a stark departure from the genre. It was exciting, violent, confronting, and even occasionally funny, albeit in a very dark manner. It would become a hugely successful film financially and one that maintains an extraordinary cult following to this day - the film is Stone.

    Stone was co-written, produced, directed and also stars Sandy Harbutt. If that's not enough, he also did the production design for the film. I was fortunate to speak with Sandy recently about his career and the film.

    While studying law in the early sixties, Sandy became fascinated with European cinema and he decided that working in film was his vocation. While at law school, he made a contact in the advertising business and soon dropped out of law to pursue a career in television advertising. This was the important first step in achieving his ambition to become a filmmaker.

    He realised that to become a good director, he first needed to understand actors. He joined Hayes Gordon's school at the Ensemble Theatre in Sydney and trained as an actor. He was soon scoring decent roles in plays, while making TV commercials for high profile corporate clients. After scoring a major role in a play at the Ensemble he left advertising and assisted the theatre with their publicity.

    Soon his notoriety on the Sydney stage gave him the opportunity to do some television work for Crawford Productions in Melbourne. Over the next few years, Sandy had guest roles in programs such as Homicide, Division 4, Matlock Police, The Evil Touch and even an episode of Skippy. (This Skippy episode titled Rockslide, features an interesting prequel to Sandy's character of Undertaker in Stone). Also during this time, Sandy made some freelance commercials before making a 1972 documentary for Channel Nine about the opening of Jesus Christ Superstar in Australia.

    The initial idea for Stone came in 1970, while Sandy was working on a local police drama called, The Long Arm. He decided to write a script for the program based on a bikie gang. Together with his friend, Michael Robinson, they wrote a forty-eight minute episode. But before the episode had a chance to go into production, The Long Arm was axed. Michael Pate, the Executive Producer of the program, was keen to continue with the project as a feature film. However, Pate's vision for an American director and actors didn't impress Sandy, who was keen for the production to be completely Australian. In late 1970, Sandy Harbutt and Michael Robinson had re-worked the idea of their television script into a screenplay and Stone was born.

    Sandy Harbutt spent about two years trying to get Stone into production through private investment, but interest was poor due to the lack of successful local product around at the time. He applied to the then, AFDC (Australian Film Development Corporation), who agreed to put up two thirds of the budget. Ross Wood Productions, approached Sandy about the project and agreed to put up the shooting and editing facilities as the remaining third of the budget. Sandy Harbutt, the AFDC and Ross Wood Productions made the contract for Stone and the production finally had a green light.

    One of the great strengths of Stone lies in the casting. Everyone from the principal cast to the smaller roles have great presence on screen. Sandy had originally wanted his then wife, Helen Morse, to play the role of Vanessa, but superstition prevented this on-screen partnership. Helen went on to play the role of Stone's girlfriend, Amanda and the role of Vanessa went to the nineteen-year-old Rebecca Gilling in her first feature.

    The budget was set at a very modest $157,000, but with approval, Sandy increased that amount by a further $35,000. The schedule went from a five week shoot to a six week shoot and was completed about three days before the film premiered at Sydney's Forum Cinema on 28th June 1974. Because there was only one projector available at Ross Wood Productions, Sandy had not seen Stone in continuous projection until the opening night.

    The film was an immediate hit with audiences, but Sandy thought the film was too long. He wanted to remove any non-essential footage to improve the flow of the film. But because Stone was so successful, the distributors (Greater Union's BEF) would not let him touch the film until their five year deal had expired. The five year wait resulted in a director's cut that is substantially shorter than the original version. The original 124 minutes was trimmed down to that of the current version, which has a cinema running time of 98 minutes. "I just look at the picture as it is and as it was and as far as I'm concerned, the picture should be as it is. That's what I want the world to see", he said.

    When I asked Sandy if there was any chance of a future DVD edition with the deleted scenes included, he indicated that he no longer had access to the footage. For the last thirty years he had stored the negative privately because up until a couple of years ago, the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) had no interest in storing it. They have since taken the negative material for storage in the archive, but now Sandy has no access to it. Although he has been told by them that a complete restoration of Stone is a priority, no such project has yet been undertaken.

    Stone opens with a political assassination. Members of the bikie gang, the Grave Diggers, have assembled in Sydney's Domain to heckle an environmental speaker. One of the gang members, Toad (Hugh Keays-Byrne) wanders off in a drug induced daze and unintentionally witnesses the assassination of the speaker. In the confusion that follows, the gang quickly vacates the park, unaware that the assassin now has them all in his sights.

    In a short space of time, gang members are murdered by a variety of gruesome methods. In an effort to investigate these murders from the inside, the police send in one of their own. At first, Stone (Ken Shorter) is rejected outright by the gang, but when he saves the lives of a couple of members, they decide to initiate him and give him a go. At their isolated fortress, Dr Death (Vincent Gil) performs the initiation ceremony and Stone receives his Gravedigger jacket and earring.

    Undertaker (Sandy Harbutt) is the leader of the Grave Diggers. He and other members are very wary of Stone's undercover mission, but in time Stone integrates well and seemingly becomes part of the gang - much to the disgust of his girlfriend, Amanda (Helen Morse).

    The line between cop and gang member becomes blurred. Stone's dedication is tested when the Grave Diggers finally confront the killer and he must choose his loyalty.

    Despite the restrictions of its R rating, the profitability of Stone was quite incredible for the time. Within six months, the film was in profit and by the time the five year distribution deal was over, it had grossed over two million dollars. Such an impressive financial return was a rare treat for an Australian film back then and is a seemingly impossible achievement these days.

    In an incredible twist of fate, Sandy Harbutt's reward for making such a popular and profitable film was to not to be offered a single days work in the industry since making Stone. The film establishments of this country have had issues with Stone from very early on, or as Sandy put it, "They hated Stone". (This is well documented in Stone Forever, which is included in this DVD presentation). His desire to remain and work in Australia, has meant that he has met with constant rejection of funding applications for the many projects that he has tried to produce in the years since.

    As he discussed his latest project with me, I sensed an element of confidence and resolve. I couldn't help but admire his drive to continue after so many disappointments. If determination, optimism and sheer enthusiasm amount for anything, you'd have to say we still haven't seen the last from Sandy Harbutt.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Stone is presented in the correct aspect ratio of 1.78:1, which is 16x9 enhanced.

    Overall, the transfer does great justice to the film, exhibiting a decent degree of sharpness throughout. Occasionally film grain is evident, but this is consistent with the source material. Some of the riding sequences in Stone were shot using a 16mm camera mounted on a helmet, so naturally this footage displays differently to that shot on 35mm stock. Apart from the occasional glimpse of grain, blacks were very clean and shadow detail was mostly excellent.

    Generally, colours appeared strong and very natural. This is easily the best Stone has looked since its initial cinema run. I'm sure that Graham Lind's superb cinematography has rarely looked better, (sunrise on the beach, a case in point). Throughout the film I was really impressed with how clean the colours looked on the screen. Alas, a few minor, but still annoying distractions popped up to rain on my parade. On about six occasions throughout the film the level of brightness adjusts itself in a rather abrupt manner. This is certainly not intentional and appears to be some sort of digital error, possibly a balance problem during the transfer process. The most obvious example of this occurs at 39:03, with the scene displaying a green hue. After a couple of seconds, it then corrects itself back to a more natural grading. Thankfully, the other examples are less obvious, because they don't exhibit distorted colour. Either way, it's only a slight blemish on an otherwise very impressive transfer.

    Apart from the aforementioned issue, the transfer is free from any significant film-to-video artefacts. The print is also remarkably clean, which keeps any glimpse of film artefacts to an absolute minimum. Reel change markings are evident throughout the film at approximate twelve minute intervals, beginning at 10:34 and 10:40. These were not overly distracting.

    There are no subtitles available on the DVD.

    This is a DVD 9 dual layer disc. The layer change occurs at 64:40 and although it was noticed, it wasn't disruptive.

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

Audio

    There is one audio track available on the DVD, English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).

    I had no problems hearing and comprehending any of the dialogue.

    Audio sync appeared to be highly accurate throughout the film.

    The original music for Stone was written by Billy Green, who also plays the role of 69 in the film. Billy was one of the top session musicians at the time. His music for the film is without doubt, one of the best Australian film soundtracks of the 70's. It perfectly underpins the action on screen, without ever becoming overbearing. There is an element of mystic combined with a sense of foreboding in much of the score. For me though, the highlight of Billy's music is the funeral scene. With Doug Parkinson contributing his strong vocals to the song, Cosmic Flash, it makes for an unforgettable scene.

    Keeping with the original audio track, the focus is front and centre, but the use of ProLogicII channelled music to the rear speakers. The real surprise though was the subwoofer, which delivered excellent kick to the bass elements in Billy Green's music. 

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

Extras

    

Menu

    The main menu is nicely animated, 16x9 enhanced and features a sample of the song, Cosmic Flash from the film.

Theatrical Trailer  (3:11)

   The restored and original Stone trailer.

Umbrella Trailers

  • Ghosts...Of The Civil Dead (1:33)
  • Two Lane Blacktop (2:40)
  • Oz (2:42)
  • Razorback (2:26)

    R4 vs R1

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

        There is now a R1 edition of Stone, released by Severin. This edition is a two-disc set and is almost indentical to the Umbrella two-disc special edition. The aforementioned reel change markings are absent from the Severin edition, but it does have the same colour issues. For some reason, the Severin edition does not contain the original theatrical trailer of Stone. All in all, both versions are pretty much identical.

    Summary

        Stone is an iconic Australian film from the 1970's. Peter Ledger's superb chrome logo and Sandy Harbutt's design of the skull with slouch hat are instantly recognised symbols. From the time of its release in 1974 through to the present, the film has become entrenched in the motorcycle culture of this country. In certain circles Stone has not always been well respected, but it has endured the bias against it. For all that it has achieved, Stone thoroughly deserves a place of prominence in the history of Australian cinema. Take the trip.

        Despite a couple of minor hiccups, the video transfer delivers an excellent result. This is the best that Stone has looked since its initial cinema run.

        The audio transfer is faithful to the original source.

        The extras on this DVD are bare bones to say the least.

     

     

        .
     

  • Ratings (out of 5)

    Video
    Audio
    Extras
    Plot
    Overall

    © Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
    Tuesday, February 17, 2009
    Review Equipment
    DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
    DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
    Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
    AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
    SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

    Other Reviews NONE
    Comments (Add) NONE
    Overall | Long Weekend (1978) | Razorback (1984) | Stone: Special Edition (Single Disc) (1974) | The Chain Reaction (1980) | Fantasm/Fantasm Comes Again (1976) | The True Story of Eskimo Nell (1975)

    The Chain Reaction (1980)

    The Chain Reaction (1980)

    If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

    Released 31-Aug-2005

    Cover Art

    This review is sponsored by
    BUY IT

    Details At A Glance

    General Extras
    Category Drama Main Menu Audio
    Featurette-Making Of-Thrills And Nuclear Spills
    Short Film-The Sparks Obituary
    Deleted Scenes-And Extended Scenes
    TV Spots
    Gallery-Stills And Poster
    Theatrical Trailer
    Trailer-Roadgames, The Survivor, The Time Guardian
    Trailer-The Cars That Ate Paris/The Plumber
    Rating Rated M
    Year Of Production 1980
    Running Time 88:24 (Case: 92)
    RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
    Start Up Menu
    Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Ian Barry
    Studio
    Distributor
    Palm Beach Pictures
    Umbrella Entertainment
    Starring Steve Bisley
    Arna-Maria Winchester
    Ross Thompson
    Ralph Cotterill
    Hugh Keays-Byrne
    Lorna Lesley
    Richard Moir
    Patrick Ward
    Laurie Moran
    Michael Long
    Bill McCluskey
    Margo Lloyd
    Tim Burns
    Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
    RPI $29.95 Music Andrew Thomas Wilson


    Video Audio
    Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
    Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.70:1
    16x9 Enhancement
    16x9 Enhanced
    Video Format 576i (PAL)
    Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
    Jacket Pictures No
    Subtitles None Smoking Yes
    Annoying Product Placement Yes
    Action In or After Credits No

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

    Plot Synopsis

        An accident at an experimental nuclear waste storage facility, the Western Atomic Longterm Dumping Organisation (WALDO for short), has leaked toxins into the local water table. Senior engineer Heinrich Schmidt (Ross Thompson) is badly contaminated in the accident and flees from medical treatment when he suspects that the crooked managers of the plant are planning to "keep him quiet".

        Heading through nearby bush, Heinrich comes across Sydney mechanic Larry Stilson (Steve Bisley) and his wife Carmel (Arna-Maria Winchester) who are out bush for a dirty weekend. The pair take in Heinrich, but the WALDO heavies are desperate and the pair of good samaritans soon find themselves a target. Copious amounts of car stunts, and other assorted action (much of it to the spectacular backdrop of an abandoned shale mine), ensue as the trio attempt to get out word of the mishap and save their own skins.

        The Chain Reaction is a pretty decent attempt at recapturing the magic of Mad Max a year after it exploded onto screens and into the bank accounts of Aussie producers. Steve Bisley stars in a very similar role to his Goose character from Mad Max. "Associate producer" George Miller, as well as many of the other Mad Max crew, were responsible for many of the stunts and action cinematography. There's even a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo from Mel Gibson, as a workmate of Larry's.

        Like Mad Max, the stunts and action are great. The raw, pre-CGI, car chases and high speed crashes are well and truly the highlight of the film. The story is solid, if a little routine, and supports the fast paced action well. There is little question as to whether the emphasis is towards the story or the stunts though - it is very much the latter.

    Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

    Transfer Quality

    Video

        The film is presented in a 1.70:1 aspect ratio (from an original 1.66:1 aspect ratio) and is 16x9 enhanced.

        The video looks very good. The image is sharp and features only mild film grain. There is a good level of shadow detail, although some of the blacks lock a little more live very dark grey than true black. The colour in the film is a little murky, but generally quite natural.

        The video is free from compression related artefacts. A reasonably number of small film artefacts and a few reel change markings are noticeable, however, with noticeably more noise near reel change points.

        No subtitles are present for the feature.

        This is a RSDL disc. The layer break occurs at 51:48 but was not noticeable on my equipment.

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

    Audio

        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 generally in good sync.

        The movie features a hokey electronic score from Andrew Thomas Wilson, which is as much a testament to the era the film hails from as the helmet haircuts and flares on most of the characters.

        There is no surround or subwoofer usage.

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

    Extras

    Thrills and Nuclear Spills Making Of Featurette (31:37)

        A very good making-of featurette that covers the production process, the reception of the film and its place in the annals of Australian film history. The story is told from a series of recent interviews from with director Ian Barry, producer David Elfick and star Steve Bisley. A little too much time is spent discussing the story concept, but that makes for a small gripe and one that is quickly made up for by the rest of the featurette.

    The Sparks Obituary Short Film (24:50)

        The Chain Reaction director Ian Barry's earlier short film. The Sparks Obituary was intended to be made into a feature, but the producers could only raise the capital for a short (albeit one that managed to attract the likes of plenty of notable Aussie actors, including Hugh Keays-Byrne) as they had trouble selling such a far out sci-fi concept to financiers.

        This is the story of Harry Sparks, an acclaimed film director who went blind making what he would claim was to be his opus. A notoriously shifty millionaire, come movie producer, has enlisted Sparks to complete his film using an experimental machine that will translate his thoughts into moving pictures. The machine puts a tremendous strain on his state of mind and both his physical and mental health, but the results are astounding. So astounding that the producer is reluctant to turn the machine off even when it pushes Sparks to the brink of death. Never fear, feeble Sparks will find his revenge through the machine.

        This is a dark and engaging work of science fiction that is easily as worthwhile as the main feature on the disc. Though it came much earlier and the two are in no way related, The Sparks Obituary treads similar ground to Dennis Potter's acclaimed Cold Lazarus. Surprisingly decent low budget effects, great acting, great story.

    Deleted Scenes (8:14)

        A handful of deleted and (mostly) extended scenes. Nothing that really adds anything to the film.

    TV Spot (0:32)

        A fairly effective 30 second trailer for the film.

    TV Spot (3:19)

        A clumsy, overlong trailer for the film that gives away too much and tells too little about the film.

    Poster and Still Gallery (2:54)

        A short slideshow of production stills and international posters for the film. Some of the European posters are worth a look, but the presentation style (a silent three minute video) is far from the best way to present the material.

    Umbrella Trailers

            Trailers for other Aussie classics from the era, Road Games, Survivor, The Time Guardian and The Cars That Ate Paris.

    R4 vs R1

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

        A bare-bones, budget edition of The Chain Reaction was released in Region 1 some years back (billing it as a Mel Gibson movie, no less), but the Region 4 outclasses it in every way.

    Summary

        Steve Bisley, fast cars and a sinister conspiracy. An entertaining action/thriller from the height of the Ozploitation era.

        The video and audio are decent. The extras are excellent, particularly the short film The Sparks Obituary.

    Ratings (out of 5)

    Video
    Audio
    Extras
    Plot
    Overall

    © Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
    Tuesday, March 03, 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

    Other Reviews NONE
    Comments (Add)
    I saw this when it came out - nicko REPLY POSTED
    Re: I saw this when it came out - Tom Tuttle
    The Chain Reaction - Chris

    Overall | Long Weekend (1978) | Razorback (1984) | Stone: Special Edition (Single Disc) (1974) | The Chain Reaction (1980) | Fantasm/Fantasm Comes Again (1976) | The True Story of Eskimo Nell (1975)

    Fantasm/Fantasm Comes Again (1976)

    Fantasm/Fantasm Comes Again (1976)

    If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

    Released 19-Mar-2004

    Cover Art

    This review is sponsored by
    BUY IT

    Details At A Glance

    General Extras
    Category Adult Main Menu Audio
    Featurette-Making Of
    Audio Commentary-Producer Antony I. Ginnane
    Trailer
    Gallery-Promo Stills
    Rating Rated R
    Year Of Production 1976
    Running Time 185:24
    RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
    Start Up Menu
    Region Coding 4 Directed By Richard Franklin
    Studio
    Distributor
    IFM World Releasing
    Umbrella Entertainment
    Starring Dee Dee Levitt
    Maria Aronoff
    William Margold
    Gretchen Gayle
    Rene Bond
    Al Williams
    Con Covert
    Maria Lutra
    Uschi Digard
    Maria Welton
    John Holmes
    Candy Samples
    Gene Allan Poe
    Case Amaray-Transparent
    RPI ? Music None Given


    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 1.70:1
    16x9 Enhancement
    16x9 Enhanced
    Video Format 576i (PAL)
    Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
    Jacket Pictures Yes
    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

        Fantasm and Fantasm Comes Again are Australia's contribution to the softcore pore craze of the 1970s. Though they vaguely present themselves as spoofs, all the bits that aren't cheesy softcore porn really add up to nothing more than padding to make a theatrical runtime. The real difference between the two being that the padding in Fantasm is quite entertaining, whereas the padding in Fantasm Comes Again is painfully droll.

    Fantasm

        Unashamedly admitted by its producer and its director as an attempt to cash in on the hysteria surrounding the new "R" rating to fund their future careers, a very profitable start indeed, Fantasm is a series of ten pornographic shorts dressed up as a firmly tongue in cheek mockumentary exploration of female fantasies. Many of the European adult films of the time dressed themselves up as "sex education". Fantasm ribs them mercilessly and serves up plenty of notable adult stars "doing their thing" in the process. As well as being a good way to make the padding entertaining, the format is a good excuse to have every kind of scene imaginable; from a simple nude girl in the salon, to straight sex, girl on girl, partner swapping orgies, a strap-on revenge fantasy, a satanic sex ritual, even a dubious rape fantasy. Funnyman John Bluthal introduces each short as Professor Jurgen Notafreud, rambling excitedly about the "deep meaning" behind each short amidst some intentionally z-grade production.

        The cast of notable adult stars certainly helped contribute to the film's international success. Most notably, John Holmes flops his trunk out of the pool and all over a hispanic lass who is gagging to have fruit and whipped cream squashed all over her. Flesh Gordon's rather busty Mary Gavin (AKA Candy Samples) shakes her things. Notorious Rene Bond, redhead Serena and boob-wiggling Roxanne Brewer.

        Director "Richard Bruce" (a pseudonym, and possibly the worst kept secret in Australian film history) described the filming of Fantasm as being like making 10 student films in 10 days. Though he was more referring to the pace of filming and the short nature of each segment, the anecdote applies equally well to the style of each short. It is unlikely that you will ever find another porno filmed with such dramatic composition. The dark and creepy alleys in Fantasm look just as sinister as those in Halloween (not as surprising once you realise "Richard Bruce" was a friend and classmate of John Carpenter). The beauty salon is filmed like something from a Jean-Luc Godard film, complete with artistic use of light and mirrors. The filming of John Holmes' fruit party looks like a vintage ad for fruit salad, not to forget the iconic look of his initial appearance (a perfectly framed shot of him climbing out of the pool in all his "glory"). In its own twisted way, Fantasm exercises enough talent behind the camera to fill a whole course at any film school.

        Fantasm is not nearly as fun as Russ Meyer's vixen films, but it is reasonably entertaining and delivers exactly what it promises.

    Fantasm Comes Again

        Fantasm Comes Again, though it was only released a year after the original, was not nearly the success of the original. The initial shock of the "R" rating had subsided somewhat, there was much more competition for "R" dollars in theatres and, certainly most noticeably for anyone watching nowadays, the film itself lacked any of the charm of the original. In many ways it failed for the same reason that almost every sequel made in the 1970s and 1980s failed - Producers wanting to replicate the original note for note, with few (if any) of the key cast and crew in place. This replication runs right down to each of the shorts, each of which has the same theme and/or look as one of the shorts in the original film.

        The most immediately noticeable absence is John Bluthal's hilarious Professor Jurgen Notafreud. Instead of a dubiously informative quack, the shorts in Fantasm Comes Again are segued by a couple of journalists doing an agony aunt column. The hilarious satire of the Fantasm introductions is traded for a string of overlong puns, delivered with stiffer acting than the porn segments (no pun intended!).

        Director "Richard Bruce" is replaced by "Eric Ram" (another pseudonym for an "up and coming" director of the time), who fails to bring any of the visual flair that Bruce undeservedly lavished on the original.

        Honestly, most viewers would get more enjoyment watching the original again rather than the sequel at all.

    Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

    Transfer Quality

    Video

        The film is presented in a 1.70:1 aspect ratio, which appears to be an open matte of the theatrical 1.66:1 aspect ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

        The video looks fair for its age. The image is a little soft and smokey, with a mild degree of film grain visible. The colours are a bit pale, but fairly consistent throughout. There is a reasonable level of shadow detail in the image, although the darker colours do look a little crushed.

        The video is free from compression artefacts. A mild level of small film artefacts are visible throughout the feature, but really just show the age of the material and are never particularly distracting.

        No subtitles are present for the feature.

        This is a dual layer disc with one feature on each layer and no layer break during either feature.

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

    Audio

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

        The mono audio is limited by the basic nature of the original mix and sounds quite dated. Dialogue is clear, though the sync is pretty variable as the films look to have been heavily overdubbed.

        The films feature the expected cheesy funk backing tracks.

        There is no surround or subwoofer use (not that classic porn isn't crying out for a 5.1 remaster).

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

    Extras

    Making Of Featurette (22:50)

        A great "making of" featurette that explores Australian culture of the time, specifically the explosion that followed the "R" rating, as well as the actual production of the film. Told through a series of interviews with producer Antony I. Ginnane and a the shadowy silhouette of "Richard Bruce" (whose appearance makes you think he is enjoying the "mystery" of his identity as much as he did poking fun at the genre with John Bluthal's edutainment). Well worth a look.

    Audio Commentaries with Producer Antony I. Ginnane

        Producer Tony Ginnane provides a fairly informative, and reasonably entertaining (if dry), commentary on each of the films. Those familiar with Ozploitation DVD commentaries will probably have found Ginnane's commentaries tend to quite variable. These are certainly two of the more interesting commentaries he has done and provide a wealth of back information on Australian culture of the mid-1970s.

    Trailers

        An incredibly cheesy theatrical trailer for each film is presented. Fun viewing.

    Trailers

        A stack of amusing promo stills and adverts from the film's release, presented in a poxy little box in the centre of the screen. Some of the larger ads have been cut in half and presented across 2 or 3 slides, spoiling the effect completely. This lot are a bit of a disappointment.

    R4 vs R1

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

        Each of these films is available separately in Region 1 featuring the same extra content as the local release. Despite the sequel being no good, it is certainly still better value to have both on the one disc as is the case with the Region 4 edition.

    Summary

        A fun sex mockumentary from the early days of rude movies on the big screen in Australia, coupled with its atrocious sequel. Neither film particularly bears repeat viewing, not all the way through...

        The video is a little soft, which is unsurprising given the age and low budget of the film. The audio is quite limited, but a decent representation of its original theatrical presentation. The extras are quite worthwhile.

    Ratings (out of 5)

    Video
    Audio
    Extras
    Plot
    Overall

    © Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
    Saturday, February 28, 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

    Other Reviews NONE
    Comments (Add) NONE
    Overall | Long Weekend (1978) | Razorback (1984) | Stone: Special Edition (Single Disc) (1974) | The Chain Reaction (1980) | Fantasm/Fantasm Comes Again (1976) | The True Story of Eskimo Nell (1975)

    The True Story of Eskimo Nell (1975)

    The True Story of Eskimo Nell (1975)

    If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

    Released 19-Mar-2004

    Cover Art

    This review is sponsored by
    BUY IT

    Details At A Glance

    General Extras
    Category Comedy Western Main Menu Audio
    Featurette-Making Of
    Gallery-Photo
    Trailer
    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
    Studio
    Distributor

    Umbrella Entertainment
    Starring Max Gillies
    Serge Lazareff
    Paul Lachon
    Jerry Thomas
    Kurt Beimel
    Abigail
    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.

    Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

    Transfer Quality

    Video

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

    Audio

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

    Extras

    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.

    Summary

        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)

    Video
    Audio
    Extras
    Plot
    Overall

    © 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

    Other Reviews NONE
    Comments (Add) NONE