One Night Stand
R0 - Australia - Umbrella Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: James-Masaki Ryan (15th September 2019).
The Film

"One Night Stand" (1984)

Best friends Brendan (played by Jay Hackett) and Tony (played by David Pledger) go on a double date with Sharon (played by Cassandra Delaney) and Eva (played by Saskia Post) to a Midnight Oil concert around Christmastime. Their first dates were not successful, as the girls basically kick out the boys from their flat at night after the show. On New Year's Eve, Sharon, who works at the Sydney Opera House invites Eva to an aftershow but things start turning dark with the world news as World War III has broken out and everyone is ordered to stay indoors. Hiding in the Opera House is Sam (played by Tyler Coppin, an American soldier on the run, who knew about the impending doom and was in hiding for a few days. In addition, Brendan who works as a janitor at the Opera House is also one of the few to be stuck in the building. As the world is headed towards an apocalypse, the four try to make the best of things as well as looking back on their lives.

1984 saw some interesting impending doom scenarios with films such as "Red Dawn" with the events of WWIII breaking out with the Soviet Union attacking the United States and "Night of the Comet" with human suddenly being eradicated or zombified by a comet, with only a few surviving. "One Night Stand" had some of the same elements combined, with the threat of war and annihilation, though it was far less on the action and gore compared to those two films and more about the mental states of the characters and who they are. There are similarities with the high school comedy drama "The Breakfast Club" with most of the film taking place in one location with a group of young people basically cut off from the rest of the world, but that movie would be something from the following year of 1985. In "One Night Stand" the hints of an upcoming apocalypse, with people chanting the lyrics of Bob Marley's "Get Up, Stand Up" during protest rallies against the US military, the news reports on television in the backgrounds, but for most of the time it plays as a basic youth drama, and until the war breaks out, the film plays out as fairly bland to say the least. Though there is one major highlight at the start, and that is Midnight Oil.

About five minutes in the film, Midnight Oil makes an appearance with a live performance with the characters in the audience and while it is a joy to see and hear them in their sweaty glory, the scene is far too short and the cameo is basically just a cameo with no further reference later on. Once the news of the world's end heating up, the film starts to come together much better with the occasional flashbacks such as Eva's time being picked on at school and Sharon becoming her friend, Brendan being bullied for his music abilities, or Sam and his time in New York. The drunken strip poker scene is also one that stands out and there are some other fun moments to be had, although there are some missed opportunities. Brendan's friend Tony is basically replaced by the character of Sam in the later half like a recasting and with his character out of the picture, it tends to create an odd imbalance. Some of the interactions and dialogue sequences are on the weaker side as well, and connections are not particularly strong to say the least. Writer and director John Duigan did have some good ideas for the production and the finale of how Sydney looks with the blood red sky and the people filled with sorrow is a memorable and frightening touch, and having the production shot at the Sydney Opera House is an interesting touch.

"One Night Stand" was not a major hit with only $111,978 grossed at the Australian box office. Over the years it's fallen into some obscurity though it's a fairly good example of the paranoia the Cold War affected the world and various forms of media through the 1980s. It may not be a forgotten masterpiece, but one that should be seen by more.

Note this is a region 0 PAL DVD

Video

Umbrella Entertainment presents the film in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio (non-anamorphic) in the PAL format. On the packaging it states "due to source elements, some inconsistencies may be present", and that is quite true as the transfer seems to come from an analogue video source. The transfer has been squeezed from widescreen to the 4:3 standard, and there also seems to be some slight horizontal stretching with faces looking a bit wider than they should. Dark areas look a little too dark, with colors being contrasty, and moiring visible with stripes and diagonal lines. Skin tones are slightly dark and detail is not particularly sharp. On the better side there is little damage in the frame, with very few instances of scratches or debris in the frame.

The film is uncut with a runtime of 89:52.



















Audio

English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
The original stereo track is presented, and it certainly has its ups and downs. Music portions certainly use the left and right channel separation and it's not too overpowering against the dialogue sequences. Dialogue is mostly centered but at times they bleed towards the left or right sounding a little unnatural. It sounds a little on the flat side, and sadly some of the music sequences such as the Midnight Oil concert scene does as well. On the plus side the dialogue is clear and easy to hear with no portions of audio dropouts or hisses or pops.

There are no subtitles for the main feature.

Extras

VHS Trailer (2:14)
The original VHS trailer is presented here coming from a low definition source. Note that the volume level is extremely high compared to the film's audio so have the remote handy to lower the volume. Also note the trailer is available on the disc after the film ends on a separate title. There is no menu on the disc to access it. The trailer has also been embedded below, courtesy of Umbrella Entertainment.
in non-anamorphic 1.33:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

Overall

"One Night Stand" is an interesting apocalypse film centering on a group of young people trapped together while contemplating their lives. It may not be filled with action or gore as one might expect, but has some interesting points on the mental struggles of the characters while also having fun and making the best of things. The Umbrella Entertainment DVD has a compromised dated transfer and only a VHS trailer as an extra, but is still worth a look.

The Film: B- Video: C- Audio: B- Extras: D- Overall: C

 


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