Harrad Summer (1974)

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Released 28-Jun-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Menu Animation & Audio
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1974
Running Time 85:23 (Case: 93)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Steven Stern
Studio
Distributor
Cinema Art Prods
Beyond Home Entertainment
Starring Laurie Walters
Victoria Thompson
Robert Reiser I
Richard Doran
Bill Dana
Marty Allen
Patrice Rohmer
Case C-Button-Version 2-Opaque
RPI $19.95 Music Patrick Williams


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Pictures of the actors

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

Plot Synopsis

        Following on from The Harrad Experiment, Harrad Summer follows the feature's two couples vacationing together at year's end and seeing just how the outside world reacts to the concept of social experimentation in pre-marital relationships. Unfortunately, the first film scared just about the whole cast and crew off and this sequel leaves the kiss of death on some of the promising looking actors such as the new Stanley (Robert Reiser) and the new Harry (Richard Doran). More bad news - the two survivors from the first film have undergone metamorphosis. Beth (Victoria Thompson) has lost the babe looks, gone brunette and developed cellulite. In the meantime, Sheila (Laurie Walters), has quit her tree-hugging beatnik role, got a perm and revealed her true colours as daddy's little rich girl. The film follows their progress as they travel together, spending 2 weeks apiece at each other's parents.

    Predictably, the rest of the world isn't ready for the free-love philosophy of Harrad's, whether it's Stanley's Polish working class immigrant parents, Harry's clothing tycoon father Jack Schact (Bill Dana) or Sheila's landed-gentry, widower daddy. There are a few lighter moments, such as when soft-porn star Patrice Rohmer sinks a sausage with Harry for the price of a hot-dog or Bill Dana beats a hasty retreat to the Holiday Inn to escape the round pool nude meditation sessions, but most of the feature has the charisma and entertainment value of wet toilet paper.

    Of course it's extremely rare for any sequel to live up to or better its forebear but I find little to like in the concept and execution of this movie. The characters are caricatures and barely credible, lack the opulence of Dallas or Dynasty or the intrigue of The Bold and The Beautiful and make John-Boy Walton seem like Arnie by comparison. This movie isn't even excruciating bad enough to be good, as I believe the production was actually trying to deliver a message. However, if you're an avid fan of truly awful cinema, or you really, desperately want to know what happened next after Harrad Experiment, then Harrad Summer is definitely for you!

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Breaking just about every rule in the reviewer law-book, this dreadful film is accompanied by a equally dreadful video transfer (and soundtrack).

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is of reasonable sharpness throughout but has limited shadow detail and intermittent low level noise (eg at 101:30).

    The colours were a little washed out, in keeping with the film's age, but mostly true to life, however skin tones didn't fare too well with limited contrast and either a pale doll-like complexion or else rather too ruddy posterized colours. The whole film suffered with an alternating phase shift due to pixelization, exacerbated by telecine wobble, which made your eyes begin to hurt if they could be bothered to focus. Moderate aliasing was evident and lost pixels, fine scratches and intermittent black flecks and hairs were evident throughout the feature.

    There were no subtitles.

    The disc is a single layered, single sided DVD-5.

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

Audio

    This is an audio transfer that is at least consistent with the quality of the rest of the feature. Betraying its analogue origins, solo brass musical accompaniment is bedevilled by marked wow and flutter (you digital types have probably never heard this) - and no, the trumpet doesn't have a tremolo key.

    There was one audio track, Dolby Digital 2.0 monophonic in English.

    If you were interested in the dialogue you could make it out quite clearly, although you'd probably have the volume turned right down to minimise the unpleasant effects of the accompanying score. The synch, however, seemed to be reasonably on cue.

    The music was scored by the prolific Patrick Williams who has been responsible for many soundtracks of TV features - it's corny, at times doleful and generally in keeping with the hammy nature of the acting. You really don't want to know about the opening song, trust me.

    There was no usage of the surround, centre or subwoofer channels

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu is quite nicely done, no doubt the handiwork of the Melbourne-based IML DVD mastering house - good on 'yer boys, it's the highlight of the DVD! And that's it - no more extras, no making of features, no biographies (well they'd be short), not even a trailer (well you wouldn't want to scare off prospective audience would you now!)

R4 vs R1

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

    This multi-region disc does not appear to have been released in R1 - one R1-based reviewer of Harrad Experiment even asks if anyone has a copy of this feature - I think he may be in luck very shortly!

Summary

    As a connoisseur and avid fan of unknown features and films, even I could find nothing to recommend this release.

    The video quality is poor.

    The audio quality is equally poor.

    The extras are non-existent - thank Heaven for small mercies.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Lancaster (read my bio)
Monday, November 18, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDEAD 8000 Pro, using RGB output
DisplayNEC MP3. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
Audio DecoderNaim AV2. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationTheta Digital Intrepid
SpeakersML Aeon front. B&W LRC6 Centre. ML Script rear. REL Strata III SW.

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