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Not Quite Hollywood (Blu-ray) (2008)
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Details At A Glance
Audio Commentary-From Ozploitation Auteurs
Featurette-The Lost NQH Interview: Chris Lofven
Featurette-A Word With Bob Ellis
Featurette-Quentin Tarantino & Brian Trenchard-Smith Interview
Featurette-Melbourne International Film Festival Ozploitation Panel
Featurette-Melbourne International Film Festival Red Carpet
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Behind the Scenes Footage from the Crew
Featurette-UK Interview with Director Mark Hartley
Featurette-The Bazura Project Segment
Featurette-The Monthly Conversation
Featurette-The Business Interview
Additional Footage-Extended Ozploitation Trailer Reel
Featurette-Confessions of an R-rated Filmmaker
Interviews-Crew-On-Set Interview with Richard Franklin
Additional Footage-Terry Bourke's Noon Sunday Reel
Featurette-Barry McKenzie: Ogre or Ocker Documentary
Featurette-Inside Alvin Purple Documentary
Featurette-To Shoot a Mad Dog Documentary
More…-Galleries, Pitch Promos and Original Theatrical Trailer
Year Of Production
||Cast & Crew
NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.
Written and directed by Australian filmmaker Mark Hartley, 2008's Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! is an indispensible documentary which details the glut of exploitation movies produced in Australia throughout the 1970s and '80s. Exhaustively researched and featuring a dizzying array of interview participants, Hartley examines the rise of the new Australian film industry in the late 1960s, and the birth of the "Ozploitation" genre - which included "sexploitation," horror movies, and action flicks. Not Quite Hollywood runs a relatively scant 100 minutes, but is able to explore so many major motion pictures throughout its runtime whilst being fast-paced, energetic and frequently funny. Interviewees include Quentin Tarantino, Jamie Lee Curtis, George Lazenby, Ted Kotcheff, Brian Trenchard-Smith, James Wan, John Waters, Leigh Whannell, and so many more - even Dennis Hopper was interviewed before he passed in 2010. (Hilariously, a lot of s*** is talked about Jimmy Wang Yu, who starred in 1975's The Man from Hong Kong.) Not Quite Hollywood was certainly made at an ideal point in time, as a number of the interviewees have since passed away. In addition to the interviews, Hartley was able to dig up clips from obscure movies and even obscure advertisements to really set the tone for this era of moviemaking and cinema-going.
For a full review of the movie, head over and read the DVD review by Steve Crawford from 2009, which is more in-depth and definitive than I can ever hope to write. Rest assured, however, that Not Quite Hollywood is a d*** good documentary that every Australian should watch to learn more about our cultural heritage, especially if they have an interest in filmmaking. It's fascinating and informative, and it's backed by a terrific selection of rock tunes as well as a charming original score. Indeed, Not Quite Hollywood doesn't just feel like a straightforward talking heads documentary - it has the rhythm and energy of a music video. It's a true auteur motion picture in its own right. Don't miss it.
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Not Quite Hollywood makes its long-awaited worldwide Blu-ray debut courtesy of Umbrella Entertainment, following in the shadow of their Blu-ray double-pack release of Mark Hartley's Electric Boogaloo and Machete Maidens Unleashed! (another worldwide first). Contrary to the back cover, the documentary is presented 1080i high definition at 25fps, meaning that there's a slight speed-up to the movie - IMDb lists the Not Quite Hollywood runtime as 103 minutes, but with the speed-up in effect, it runs a hair under 99 minutes on this Blu-ray. If you can accept this, Umbrella's AVC-encoded Blu-ray presentation has far more strengths than weaknesses, and seriously benefits from the upgrade to high definition. Umbrella have used the majority of the dual-layered BD-50 to accommodate the movie and the special features, with a disc size just under 49GB. Even with a so-so bitrate, Not Quite Hollywood nevertheless scrubs up well.
The back cover states that the movie is presented in 1.77:1, though that's slightly erroneous as the aspect ratio consistently changes throughout the documentary. Film footage is mostly framed at 2.40:1, but there are 1.78:1 sections as well, and some clips appear in smaller boxes throughout the movie. But this is all true to the source. In addition, the film clips are of varying quality, of course - some snippets are enormously grainy and exhibit print damage, while others clips look crystal clear. I could spend hours critiquing the quality of every little piece of Not Quite Hollywood (the clips from Razorback actually looks rough and unrefined, closer to a DVD), but this all traces back to the source, rather than being a flaw of the encode. It's worth mentioning that Hartley states in the extras that they did their best to restore the clips, to make them look the best that they could, and it does pay off. The interviews themselves look fine - though information on the cameras used is scarce, in the behind-the-scenes stills it looks as if the interviews were shot with 35mm cameras, though I could be wrong. (Interestingly, the interviews with John Jarratt and Antony I. Ginnane look much better here than in the full interviews provided on the Dark Age Blu-ray.)
Frequently sharp and pleasingly detailed, Not Quite Hollywood looks about as good as can be expected on Blu-ray, representing a welcome replacement for the DVD. There is visible grain over the interview footage, but it's nicely resolved and never distracting. (Grain in the film clips is a mixed bag.) Unfortunately, I did notice a few artefacts that likely came about as a result of the 1080i encoding - there's visible aliasing on Jeremy Thomas's glasses during the Mad Dog Morgan segment. There is other aliasing here and there, but I didn't notice any banding or black crush. Shortcomings aside, I am happy with Not Quite Hollywood's Blu-ray debut.
Unfortunately, there are no subtitles, which feels like a missed opportunity. Madman's 2008 DVD release was similarly devoid of subtitles.
Video Ratings Summary
Not Quite Hollywood arrives on Blu-ray with two lossy audio options: a Dolby Digital 2.0 track, and a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. For the purposes of this review, I watched the movie with the 5.1 track. These two mixes were also available on Madman's DVD, and it's a shame that Umbrella didn't take full advantage of the jump to Blu-ray by offering lossless audio. Still, the lossy mixes get the job done, even if they doesn't sound as crisp, refined or clear as a lossless encode could have afforded. Not Quite Hollywood is mostly built around interviews, and thankfully it's easy to hear each word that's said. The 5.1 track is primarily front-centric, with no surround activity beyond perfunctory music coming through the rear. There's not much subwoofer either, except for when explosions and action scenes are shown. I didn't notice any sync issues, nor are there any drop-outs or pops. On the whole, this is a good track, though I wish it was lossless.
Audio Ratings Summary
|Surround Channel Use|
Woof, Umbrella really pulled out all the stops for this one. Madman's DVD featured a hefty supply of extras, but this Blu-ray comes with even more. As far as I can tell, the only extra from the DVD set that's missing is an audio interview with Richard Franklin, though it appears that this interview is available on Umbrella's Road Games Blu-ray. And as far as I can tell, the DVD Easter Egg in which Bob Ellis talks about Peter Weir is now part of the larger Ellis interview featurette. Perhaps to save on disc space, the majority of the special features are only in 720p, rather than full 1080p. It does seem foolish to cram so much onto a single disc - a two-disc set might have been better.
Audio Commentary From Ozploitation Auteurs A large roster of commentators take part in this Not Quite Hollywood audio commentary, which has a lot of information to impart, to deepen the experience. The participants speak at length about many of the movies that are discussed in the documentary, and the track is often kept scene-specific. Hartley hosts the track - he frequently introduces and re-introduces each participant whenever they have something to say, and provokes the discussion. It's especially interesting to hear Hartley and Antony I. Ginnane talking about Dark Age, which hadn't been released in Australia when Not Quite Hollywood was produced, but is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.
Deleted & Extended Scenes with Optional Commentary (HD; 75:38) A whopping twenty-five deleted and extended scenes are provided here, with optional audio commentary. These aren't merely raw extended interviews - these are fully edited additional and extended segments, which are more or less ready to be dropped in. (However, there are still editing time-codes during some clips, most of the extra material is devoid of music, and the first scene appears to cut off very suddenly.) There's enough here to pack into its own separate movie! Some of these scenes are of limited interest, but a fair amount of the material is worth watching - in particular, the extra stories about Turkey Shoot are completely bonkers. I certainly enjoyed watching these scenes, and got something out of them. There are two additional scenes here that weren't included on the Madman DVD, and the optional audio commentary with Mark Hartley, Sara Edwards and Jamie Blanks is also brand new; Hartley even talks about recording it ten years after the fact, exclusively for the Blu-ray.
The audio commentary is especially valuable since the commentators can discuss what's happened in the interim. For instance, they only had access to Wake in Fright on a poor quality VHS copy when assembling the documentary, but the movie's original film elements were later rediscovered in 2009. Hartley also mentions that they were unable to secure an interview with Jenny Agutter, and he gives a couple of hints about the folks who refused to be interviewed unless they were paid. There is some scene-specific discussion, but the trio take the opportunity to turn the commentary into an edifying retrospective. The team discuss trimming certain moments, shaping the documentary in the edit, and the editing process in general. I particularly liked hearing about the unreliable computer they used for editing, which constantly crashed. There was also an odyssey with an unnamed editor who was ultimately fired. A new retrospective audio commentary of the movie itself would have been good too, but this more or less does the same job.
You cannot select each scene individually; they only play as one chunk, though there are chapter stops. This is what's included:
- Wake In Fright (1971) and Walkabout (1971)
- Two Thousand Weeks (1969)
- The Set (1970)
- Number 96 (1972) and The Box (1975) **NEW**
- Petersen (1974)
- The True Story of Eskimo Nell (1975)
- Plugg (1975)
- Scobie Malone (1975)
- Eliza Fraser (1976)
- Pacific Banana (1981)
- Breakfast In Paris (1982)
- Inn Of The Damned (1975)
- Alison's Birthday (1979)
- Nightmares (1980)
- Dead Kids (1981)
- The Cars That Ate Paris (1974)
- Grant Page Profile, Deathcheaters (1976) and Stunt Rock (1980)
- Turkey Shoot (1982)
- The Return Of Captain Invincible (1983)
- Sky Pirates (1986)
- Fair Game (1986)
- Frog Dreaming (1986)
- Dead End Drive-In (1986)
- Windrider (1986)
- "Magnificent actors, kicking ass" **NEW**
The Lost NQH Interview: Chris Lofven (HD; 15:23) **NEW** An exclusive to this Blu-ray release, here we have the "lost" Not Quite Interview with filmmaker Chris Löfvén, who directed the 1976 motion picture Oz. Löfvén speaks at length about Oz, as well as its connections to The Wizard of Oz. This is definitely worth watching if you like Oz and would like to hear more about the production. The interview is encoded in 720p and looks to have been created from an SD source. In addition, the video is jerky, which is likely due to improper encoding. Still, you're watching this for the information it affords, and I'm grateful for its inclusion.
A Word With Bob Ellis (HD; 24:45) **NEW** Here's a beefy interview with the late Bob Ellis, who did a lot of writing and acting throughout his career. Ellis has a lot of anecdotes to impart about a bygone era, making cheeky jokes and talking openly about sex. I also liked his explanation of the unscrupulous aspects of filmmaking that the government cracked down on. Like the previous extra, this is encoded in 720p and looks on the jerky side, probably due to improper encoding. Nevertheless, especially given Ellis's passing, this is a valuable extra.
Quentin Tarantino & Brian Trenchard-Smith Interview Featurette (HD; 13:10) Now this is wonderful. According to the opening caption, Trenchard-Smith popped in for a visit whilst Tarantino was being interviewed - and the two immediately hit it off and had much to discuss. The two speak back-and-forth with a lot of energy, running through many different motion pictures (including a very overlooked, underrated Vietnam movie entitled The Siege of Firebase Gloria).
Melbourne International Film Festival Ozploitation Panel (HD; 19:14) Here we have the Ozploitation panel from the Melbourne International Film Festival in 2008, featuring the likes of Mark Hartley, Antony I. Ginnane, Brian Trenchard-Smith, Grant Page, and others. They field questions about the Australian film industry, Ozploitation movies, the contemporary film-going climate, and more. This was visibly taken from a standard definition source, as there's ringing, mosquito noise and colour bleeding, among other artefacts. The lighting is also questionable. But again, it doesn't matter much - you can still hear what's being said, and this is an interesting watch.
Melbourne International Film Festival Red Carpet (HD; 00:58) **NEW** Ozploitation legend Grant Page walked the red carpet for the Not Quite Hollywood premiere on fire, and this is the footage. A fun inclusion to the disc.
Behind the Scenes Footage from the Crew (HD; 34:13) **NEW** Now this is a treat. When the crew travelled to the U.K. and America, they purchased a duty free video camera from the airport and documented the production. This is purely fly-on-the-wall stuff, with the crew talking candidly to the camera about several facets of the production. The majority of this takes place in cars between the actual shoots, though we also get a glimpse of their accommodation and there's brief footage of the crew setting up equipment. I do wish we could have seen a lot more of the crew setting up and interviewing, but this is still a worthwhile inclusion.
UK Interview with Director Mark Hartley (HD; 22:23) **NEW** Here we have a fantastic, insightful interview with writer-director Hartley, who is asked many questions pertaining to the documentary. There is lots of great production trivia here, and it's especially fun to hear him talking about sourcing clips from hundreds of lesser-known Australian movies - the footage from Dark Age was actually sourced from Tarantino's print, as they couldn't find another copy anywhere in the world. Hartley also talks about the tough editing process - he explains that they had 150 hours of interview material, 150 hours of film clips, and 50 hours of archival behind-the-scenes footage. This is a terrific discussion on the making of the documentary. The interview is encoded in 720p, though it looks to have been taken from a standard definition source.
The Bazura Project Segment (HD; 7:55) **NEW** Here we have a minor 2008 segment from the Australian television show The Bazura Project (yeah, I'd never heard of it either) that concentrates on Not Quite Hollywood. The (unnamed) hosts sit down with Hartley and ask him a number of questions about the documentary. Surprisingly, all of the information here is new - there's no overlap. I particularly enjoyed hearing about the overseas screenings, and Hartley also talks about being unable to secure interviews with a number of people (including one unnamed individual who wanted to be paid). I didn't have any expectations for this, but found it edifying and fun. As ever, this is presented in 720p and is visibly from an SD source.
The Monthly Conversation (HD; 58:08) **NEW** This extra was recorded in August 2008, soon after the premiere of Not Quite Hollywood, and features Hartley sitting down with critic and journalist Tom Ryan for a lengthy conversation about the project, Ozploitation at large, Hartley's career, and more. This is excellent, shedding more light on the production of Not Quite Hollywood, and even positing the idea of a television show expansion of the documentary. In the absence of a full-blown making-of featurette, this is just fine. The title screen at the beginning of the extra explains that the master tape has been lost, and therefore the video quality is rather poor. Indeed, it looks like a poorly compressed YouTube video. Nevertheless, I'm glad we have this. There's also a bonus clip from the AFI premiere tagged onto the end.
The Business Interview (Audio Only) (HD; 9:21) **NEW** This is a snippet from an American radio program about Not Quite Hollywood. The producer of the show sits down with Hartley to talk about the documentary and about the topic of Ozploitation. Many promo clips from the documentary are also mixed in with the interview.
Extended Ozploitation Trailer Reel (HD; 185:06) Well, this is by far and away the biggest collection of trailers I have ever seen on a Blu-ray. In fact, there are even more trailers here than what was supplied on the DVD release. All of these trailers - an eye-watering seventy-three of them - have relevance to Not Quite Hollywood, and are definitely worth exploring if you enjoy watching retro trailers and have three hours to kill. The trailers are split into three categories, like the movie - "Ockers, Knockers, Pubes and Tubes!", "Comatose Killers and Outback Chillers" and "High Octane Disasters and Kung Fu Masters!". You will probably come away wanting to check out a fair few of these titles, as I did. Quality does vary of course, but I found the print damage endearing, as it's a reminder of the grindhouse drive-in cinema era. These trailers all play as one big chunk, and though there are chapter points, you cannot select each trailer individually.
Confessions of an R-rated Filmmaker: John D. Lamond Interview (HD; 8:08) **NEW** Next up, we have another new interview segment - this time with Australian filmmaker John D. Lamond (Pacific Banana, Nightmares, Breakfast in Paris). He has a lot on his mind, talking about Aussie filmmaking, the reception to his movies, the bygone drive-in cinema culture, how nobody will take his movies seriously, and more. A mildly interesting footnote to the documentary, but not essential.
On-Set Interview with Richard Franklin (HD; 7:28) **NEW** Now this is a good find. This is an archival video interview with director Richard Franklin, fresh from the set of 1978's Patrick, conducted by television personality Ivan Hutchinson. This is an edifying historical document, with Franklin talking about filmmaking at the time, and about making Patrick. As to be expected, the quality is rough and there's ample print damage, but it's still watchable.
Terry Bourke's Noon Sunday Reel (HD; 10:46) **NEW** This is another historical curiosity - something of a promotional reel from 1970 for the super obscure Aussie flick Noon Sunday. Director Terry Bourke talks about the movie, the cast, and the production, and there's a selection of movie clips to boot. In addition, there is also a trailer for Bourke's equally obscure 1968 black and white movie Sampan. For some reason, there are missing frames from time to time.
Barry McKenzie: Ogre or Ocker Documentary (HD; 53:22) **NEW** This is a black & white documentary from 1974 about the making of Barry McKenzie Holds His Own, which is also available on Umbrella's DVD release for the movie. It's another good inclusion for those who want a closer look at this particular Ozploitation flick.
Inside Alvin Purple Documentary (HD; 50:05) **NEW** As implied by the title, this is a documentary about the 1973 Australian movie Alvin Purple, which was included on Umbrella's 2011 DVD release of the film. This is amusing and insightful, and contains additional footage not seen in the finished movie. Those who want to learn more about Alvin Purple will definitely enjoy this.
To Shoot a Mad Dog Documentary (HD; 24:37) **NEW** The 1976 Australian movie Mad Dog Morgan is one of the movies discussed during Not Quite Hollywood, and here we have a 25-minute behind-the-scenes featurette which was assembled during the movie's principal photography period. (This was actually included on Umbrella's DVD release of the film.) I found this interesting, as it's a raw, fly-on-the-wall look at the shooting of the movie. However, I haven't actually watched Mad Dog Morgan. Those familiar with the movie will probably get the most out of this mini-documentary.
Ozploitation Stills & Poster Gallery (HD; 15:45) This is another great find - a compilation of posters, promotional stills and behind-the-scenes images for many of the movies featured in Not Quite Hollywood. Be warned that there is a lot of nudity in the "Sex" chapter. There is no manual image navigation, as this plays out as a slideshow backed by some groovy music. Included are movies like The Adventures of Barry McKenzie, Barry McKenzie Holds His Own, Alvin Purple, Alvin Rides Again, Fantasm, Fantasm Comes Again, Patrick, Long Weekend, The Survivor, Road Games, A Dangerous Summer, Razorback, Stone, Mad Max, The Man From Hong Kong, Stunt Rock, and many, many more.
NQH Production Gallery (HD; 10:42) **NEW** This is another truly terrific addition to the disc which makes it feel all the more definitive. There's an enormous collection of production stills to unearth here, including images of the interviewees, behind-the-scenes photos of filming the interviews, and the crew's adventures whilst on the road. In addition, there is a poster gallery, a press kit, advertisements, plus photos of the premiere and the release. As with the previous extra, there is no manual navigation available - it plays as a slideshow, backed by enormously enjoyable music.
NQH Pitch Promos (HD; 22:37) Twenty-two minutes of promos which were assembled to attract financing. In essence, these play like extended trailers, mixing interviews and film clips. According to the opening caption, only Tarantino's interview had been shot when the promos were assembled, while the rest of the interview material was sourced from interviews Hartley had previously conducted for his other documentary projects. It appears that some of the promos were available on the original DVD, but most of this is new. Not surprisingly, the quality isn't spectacular; it seems that these promos were created at SD resolution. The film clips look particularly rough as they were mostly sourced from VHS cassettes, which will make you appreciate the remastered clips seen in the completed documentary. Nevertheless, this is a cool extension of the documentary.
NQH Original Theatrical Trailer (HD; 2:17) The high-energy trailer for Not Quite Hollywood. It certainly sets the scene. This is the sole special feature on the disc that's presented in full 1080p - the rest of the video material is only 720p.
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Umbrella's release is a worldwide exclusive. Buy local.
Not Quite Hollywood is funny and informative, a must-see chronicle for anybody with so much as a passing interest in "Ozploitation." And you'll more than likely finish the documentary with an enormous list of movies you'll want to check out.
The documentary has only been previously available on DVD courtesy of Madman, but now Umbrella have pulled out all the stops for the definitive Blu-ray package. And boy, is it worth it. The doc looks and sounds great, and the special features package clocks in at over ten hours, not including the audio commentary. You can't ask for much more. Highly recommended.
© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Wednesday, November 08, 2017
|DVD||LG UP970 4K UHD HDR Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output|
This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 2160p.
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver.
This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
|Amplification||Samsung Series 7 HT-J7750W|
|Speakers||Samsung Tall Boy speakers, 7.1 set-up|
The Bazura Project