Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray ALL - Australia - Umbrella Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: James-Masaki Ryan (3rd December 2017).
The Film

"Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation!" (2008)

When director Quentin Tarantino took "Kill Bill Volume 2" to Australia and he was to dedicate the film to his favorite Australian filmmaker, most were expecting George Miller, the director of the "Mad Max" series. But when Tarantino shouted out the name Brian Trenchard-Smith, most were left slightly clueless. The named director had made a slew of clunkers in the 90s and 2000s and mostly forgotten even in his native homeland but Tarantino was praising the man who directed "The Man from Hong Kong" (1975), "Turkey Shoot" (1981), "BMX Bandits" (1983), and "Dead End Drive-In" (1986). While cult favorites in their own right, this was only scratching the surface.

Australian film had a fairly spotty history. For positives, "The Story of the Kelly Gang" (1906) was the first feature film ever made in the world. Errol Flynn was a bonafide Hollywood via Australia superstar. But until 1970 the fairly strict conservative Australia barely had a film industry with nothing to show. But with progressive changes from the late 1960s in government and in society, a new breed of artists and filmmakers were to emerge into the spotlight. Coming alongside the collapse of the studio systems in the United States, Japan, and other territories around the world near-simultaneously, Australia was ready to provoke and to challenge conventions with a slew of exploitive works. The issuance of an "R" rated certificate for films opened doors to sex, violence, rude language, and things unseen on screens prior. Many of the films broke new ground not only in challenging censorship, but broke box office records as well, as the sex comedies "Stork" (1971) and "The Adventures of Barry McKenzie" (1972), and "Alvin Purple" (1973) was a massive hit with $5 million in grosses. Audiences flocked to the films filled with bare everything with silly plotlines but a refreshing taste for something openly wild. Critics were not particular fans of the low brow humor and non-traditional filmmaking, but money was being made and more opportunities were striking.

Action films such as "The Man from Hong Kong", psychological horror films such as “Patrick”, creature features such as "Razorback", the car chases in "Mad Max" - the amount of blood and gore, tits and ass, cars and crashes, and everything thrown together was an assault on the senses, insanely unreal and laughable, and highly entertaining. But by the 1990s, the era was done and forgotten. From that point on, Australian films were on a much higher scale, with films such as "Muriel's Wedding" (1994), "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" (1994), "Shine" (1996) and many more were winning accolades from critics and filmgoers around the world, and Australian actors such as Mel Gibson, Cate Blanchett, Russell Crowe", Geoffrey Rush, Guy Pearce, Toni Collette, Eric Bana, and many more have become stars worldwide.

When music video director and producer Mark Hartley heard Tarantino mention Brian Trenchard-Smith's name at the "Kill Bill Volume 2" premiere, the idea came to him to produce a feature film on the forgotten era of Australian cinema. Hartley had experience making interview featurettes for DVDs which included interviews with many people who worked on the films of that era, he had his connections but needed funds for a project which involved flying around the world to interview directors, producers, and actors while also digging through archives to find photos, film trailers, film materials, and more to create a comprehensive documentary. One email to Quentin Tarantino directly about the passion project led to an immediate "Yes" from the encyclopedic filmmaker who was willing to lend his name and time for an interview for the project. Once the funds and the enthusiasm from the forgotten filmmakers were secured, the hours and hours of footage was condensed into the nearly 100 minute film entitled "Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation!". Equally a love letter to the era and the time that featured danger, excitement, and insanity in Australian cinema as well as a full on preservation of the era and genre films that were in danger of being lost and forgotten, Hartley's incredible work is an amazingly fun, bizarre, and downright crazy piece of work that will make many realize there is much more to the coined term Ozploitation than "Mad Max".

The film premiered on July 28th 2008 at the Melbourne International Film Festival followed by festivals in America, Europe, and Asia through the following year and eventually becoming a cult hit of its own on DVD in many countries. The film won the Best Documentary prize at the 2008 Australian Film Institute ceremony and continues to be a name checked and referenced piece of documentary filmmaking. Hartley would continue in the same direction with "Machete Maidens Unleashed" in 2010 chronicling the Filipino exploitation cinema story to high acclaim as well as "Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films" in 2014 which showcased the crazy Cannon Films library that dominated the 1980s screens and video shelves. Nearly a decade after "Not Quite Hollywood" revived interest in Australian genre films, the film gets its Blu-ray debut courtesy of Umbrella Entertainment.

Note this is a region ALL Blu-ray which can play back on any Blu-ray player worldwide

Video

Umbrella Entertainment presents the film in 1080i 60hz in the AVC MPEG-4 codec, in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Yes, the rear cover states this is 1080p but the film itself is an interlaced transfer. Shot in high definition, the interview segments look fairly good for the most part but due to the differing conditions they were shot it, the interviews can look crisp and clear to fair and average. Some were done in dark locations while others were in the stars' homes or theater settings and while they may not cut together so well back to back, color correction has been applied to make the transitions easier. As for the vintage footage, Hartley was always critical to try and get the best available materials for the vintage clips used. Rather than videotape sourced clips or ones from worn and torn sources, he was out to show how great these neglected films could look, and that meant requesting permission from the national archives and private sources for the transfers. Even if the vintage clips were sourced from the "best" materials, they still cannot compete with the twenty-first century interview footage. On the positive side the vintage film clips look fairly good for the most part and fits very well with the half vintage / half new film.

The film's runtime on the Blu-ray is 98:42.

Audio

English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo

There are two audio tracks - a 5.1 surround track and a basic 2 channel stereo track, and unfortunately they are presented in lossy Dolby Digital rather than Blu-ray capable lossless audio tracks. For the most part the audio sounds fairly good, with dialogue from interviews coming from the center channel area, while the surrounds are reserved for background music and some instances from the vintage film clips and trailers. There are no issues with hisses or pops in the interview segments as they are well balanced and clean, though it should be expected that the vintage footage will have some struggle.

As director Mark Hartley's "Electric Boogaloo"/"Machete Maidens Unleashed" double feature Blu-ray disc had both films in 1080p and lossless 5.1 audio with tons of extras, it's a shame that "Not Quite Hollywood" could not get the same treatment.

Extras

Audio commentary by director Mark Hartley and various Ozploitation auteurs
This is a cut and paste audio commentary from various interview sessions from Hartley with critics, directors, and many other participants. A variety of topics are covered including the importance of the then-newly established R rating, trivia and biographies on directors, and some additional behind the scenes stories.
in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

Deleted & Extended Scenes (with optional audio commentary by Mark Hartley, Sara Edwards, and Jamie Blanks) (75:38)
The deleted and extended scenes are chaptered as follows: “Wake in Fright” and “Walkabout”, “Two Thousand Weeks”, “The Set”, “Number 96” and “The Box”, “Petersen”, “The True Story of Eskimo Nell”, “Plugg”, Scobie Malone”, “Eliza Fraser”, “Pacific Banana”, “Breakfast in Paris”, “Inn of the Damned”, “Alison’s Birthday”, “Nightmares”, “Dead Kids”, “The Cars That Ate Paris”, Grant Page profile and “Deathcheaters” and “Stunt Rock”, “Turkey Shoot”, “The Return of Captain Invincible”, “Sky Pirates”, “Fair Game”, “Frog Dreaming”, “Dead End Drive-In”, “Windrider”, “Magnificent actors kicking ass”. Many of these could have easily fit into the story, and it is unfortunate that Henry Thomas’ segment for “Frog Dreaming” and the profile on stuntman Grant Page had to be cut, but that is what makes Blu-rays and DVDs worthwhile.
The audio commentary for the deleted and extended scenes was recorded nearly 10 years later in 2017 with director/editor Mark Hartley and co-editors Jamie Blanks and Sara Edwards giving their thoughts on the footage that had to be scrapped. They discuss some of the hard to find vintage footage, people who they contacted but did not want to be interviewed, editing techniques, and more.
in 720p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

"The Lost NQH Interview: Chris Lofven" (15:24)
Director Chris Lofven gives an extended interview as he talks about “Oz” (1976), screentests that were done, the importance of the comedic value, the critical reaction to the film, and more. This interview session was not released on previous DVD releases of “Not Quite Hollywood”.
in 720p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

"A Word with Bob Ellis" featurette (24:45)
Playwright, screenwriter, and journalist Bob Ellis’ interview session for the film is presented in an extended form. He discusses the portrayal of sex in the 1970s, the exploitation genre, disses the highbrow films and even calling “Walkabout” rubbish. Other negative remarks are made on Peter Weir in a no-holds barred interview. Ellis passed away from cancer in 2016 at the age of 73.
in 720p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

"Quentin Tarantino & Brian Trenchard-Smith Interview" featurette (13:10)
Trenchard-Smith dropped by when Tarantino was being interviewed in 2005, and the two discuss about Tarantino’s favorite films by Trenchard-Smith, Australian cinema in general and much more. Tarantino discusses excitingly in depth about “Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair” and the supposed upcoming release, although by 2017 it still hasn’t had an official release, sadly.
in 720p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

"Melbourne International Film Festival Ozploitation Panel (19:14)
Mark Hatley hosts a Q&A panel featuring Everett de Roche, Richard Brennan, Antony Ginnane, Brian Trenchard-Smith, David Hannay, Roger Ward, and Grant Page at the Melbourne International Film Festival. The panelists discuss about the censorship of the era, the success of sex comedies, how action movies were extremely exportable, and more.
in 720p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

Melbourne International Film Festival Red Carpet (0:58)
Footage of legendary stuntman Grant Page who was set on fire on the red carpet. Very literally a publicity stunt.
in 720p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.33:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

"Behind the Scenes Footage from the Crew" featurette (34:13)
The crew bought a $300 camera to record themselves before and after interview sessions conducted around the world. Most of the footage comes from while they are traveling by car in Australia, the UK, and America, with very candid conversations by the crew.
in 720p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

UK Interview with director Mark Hartley (22:23)
In this interview Hartley talks about how they were able to secure interviews with the participants, getting the hard to find archival footage, the audience reactions to the films, and more. This interview was originally featured on the UK Optimum DVD of “Not Quite Hollywood”.
in 720p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

"The Bazura Project" segment (7:55)
This interview segment with Hartley from the Australian community television show “The Bazura Project” is a little tongue in cheek with the questions coming on the humorous side, though there is some interesting information given by the director, though mostly repeated elsewhere.
in 720p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

"The Monthly Conversation" (58:08)
This lengthy two part interview with journalist and critic Tom Ryan with Mark Hartley actually has a lot of information that is not available or repeated elsewhere. Hartley discusses his career as a director for music videos and DVD featurettes and how the tools used for the short works were able to prepare him for the feature project, some of the trouble they encountered including the difficulty of finding investors, and much more. Unfortunately the original materials for the interview were lost so a low resolution version of the edited interview is presented here. There are pixelation issues and even some sound issues with the piece which is warned about at the start of the interview in text form.
in 720p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.33:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

"The Business" KCRW Radio Interview (9:21)
Mark Hartley appears on Los Angeles national public radio station KCRW to give a short interview to promote the film. This is an audio interview with the KCRW logo placed on screen during the entire duration.
in 720p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.33:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

Extended Ozploitation Trailer Reel (185:07)
While the Umbrella Entertainment DVD edition offered two hours of Ozploitation trailers, the Blu-ray edition offers an additional hour of film trailers. The quality of the trailers can be poor with scratches and muffled audio to fairly clean ones as well. Some are from HD sources, some are from SD, some are film sourced and some are video. Regardless of the picture and sound quality, the audience will have a fun three hours of nudity, gore, violence, cheesy dialogue, and many explosions. The featured trailers in order are: “Outback”, “Walkabout”, “The Naked Bunyip”, “Stork”, “The Adventures of Barry McKenzie”, “Barry McKenzie Holds His Own”, “Libido”, “Alvin Purple”, “Alvin Rides Again”, “Peterson”, “The Box”, “The True Story of Eskimo Nell”, “Plugg”, “The Love Epidemic”, “The Great Macarthy”, “Don’s Party”, “Oz”, “Eliza Fraser”, “Fantasm”, “Fantasm Comes Again”, “The FJ Holden”, “High Rolling”, “The ABC of Love and Sex Australia Style”, “Felicity”, “Dimboola”, “The Last of the Knucklemen”, “Pacific Banana”, “Centrespread”, “Breakfast in Paris”, “Melvin Son of Alvin”, “Night of Fear”, “The Cars That Ate Paris”, “Inn of the Damned”, “End Play”, “The Last Wave”, “Summerfield”, “Long Weekend”, “Patrick”, “the Night The Prowler”, “Snapshot”, “Thirst”, “Harlequin”, “Nightmares”, “The Survivor”, “Road Games”, “Strange Behavior”, “A Dangerous Summer”, “Next of Kin”, “Savage Attraction”, “Razorback”, “Frog Dreaming”, “Dark Age”, “Howling III”, “Bloodmoon”, “Stone”, “The Man from Hong Kong”, “Mad Dog Morgan”, “Raw Deal”, “Journey Among Women”, “Money Movers”, “Stunt Rock”, “Mad Max”, “The Chain Reaction”, “Race for the Yankee Zephyr”, “Attack Force Z”, “Freedom”, “BMX Bandits”, “Midnite Spares”, “The Return of Captain Invincible”, “Fair Game”, “Sky Pirates”, “Dead End Drive-In”, “The Time Guardian”, “Danger Freaks”.
in 720p AVC MPEG-4, in various aspect ratios, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

"Confessions of an R-Rated Filmmaker John D. Lamond" interview (8:08)
John D. Lamond, the director of “Australia After Dark”, “Felicity”, and “Pacific Banana” talks about his career making fun and sexy films with no regrets. Why he chose to be interviewed on a hotel bed is unknown. This interview is also available on the Umbrella Entertainment "Pacific Banana" DVD.
in 720p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

On-set Interview with Richard Franklin (7:28)
This vintage interview with director Richard Franklin is from a break on the set of “Patrick”. Topics discussed are about the importance of lead characters, the use of suspense, and how special effects are being used in the film. He obviously didn’t know the correct term, but he does refer to “Laser Swords” that were in Star Wars at one point. This interview is also available on the Umbrella Entertainment “Patrick” Blu-ray and the Umbrella Entertainment "Patrick" DVD.
in 720p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.33:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

Terry Rourke's "Noon Sunday" Reel (10:46)
This vintage featurette has the director and writer of “Noon Sunday” Terry Bourke discuss about the story and shooting the film in Guam, along with footage from the film. Also included is the trailer for Bourke’s 1968 black and white film “Sampam”.
in 720p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

"Barry McKenzie: Ogre or Ocker" documentary (53:22)
This black and white Channel 9 1974 TV documentary hosted by reporter Tony Ward is a showcase of both Barry McKenzie films - “The Adventures of Barry McKenzie” (1972) and “Barry McKenzie Rides Again” (1974). This documentary is also available on the Umbrella Entertainment “Barry McKenzie Rides Again” DVD.
in 720p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.33:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

"Inside Alvin Purple" documentary (50:05)
This vintage documentary directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith chronicles the making-of the first “Alvin Purple” film, featuring behind the scenes, interviews, soundtrack recording footage, and more. This documentary is also available on the Umbrella Entertainment “Alvin Purple” DVD.
in 720p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.33:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

"To Shoot a Mad Dog" documentary (24:37)
This vintage documentary short directed by David Elfick is a behind the scenes look at “Mad Dog Morgan” (1976) featuring interviews with Dennis Hopper and the cast and crew and making of footage. This documentary is also available on the Umbrella Entertainment “Mad Dog Morgan” DVD.
in 720p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.33:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

Ozploitation Stills & Poster Gallery (15:45)
A slideshow of various stills and posters of the films featured in “Not Quite Hollywood” with music accompaniment.
in 720p AVC MPEG-4, Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

NQH Production Gallery (10:42)
Another slideshow is presented, and this is with the behind the scenes stills of participants, shots of the travels the crew made, poster designs, and more, with music accompaniment.
in 720p AVC MPEG-4, Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

NQH Pitch Promos (22:37)
In 2005 to attract investors for “Not Quite Hollywood”, Mark Hartley made a series of promotional shorts featuring clips from various films, interviews with various actors and crew, plus an endorsement from Quentin Tarantino who was the first person to be interviewed for the project. Also included is a 2006 promo with additional interviews.
in 720p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

Original Theatrical Trailer (2:17)
The exciting and extremely effective “No Poofters Allowed” trailer is featured.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles



The extras basically port the previously released Madman Australian 2-disc edition and adds a wealth of additional extras, making this Blu-ray a healthy upgrade from the previous DVD editions.

Packaging

The packaging is unusually not a reversible cover, though the inside inlay has in fact artwork.
Also not that the 1080p listing on the packaging is incorrect.

Overall

"Not Quite Hollywood" is one of the most entertaining and most important films about filmmaking in recent history. As director Mark Hartley said, if he wasn't going to make a film about Ozploitation, then who would? Without his tireless work the stories of many of these films and the behind the scenes process may have been lost over time, and with some of the participants featured in the documentary already passed away, it's a wonderful time capsule and tribute to the wildness that the nation came to in the 1970s onward. Umbrella Entertainment's Blu-ray features a generous 9 hours of extras, though one wishes that the video could have been bumped to a progressive encode and the audio to have been lossless. The disc still comes as highly recommended.

The Film: A Video: B Audio: B Extras: A+ Overall: A

 


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