2008 (October 5, 2017)
Magnet Releasing (Umbrella Entertainment)
- Film/Program Grade: A
- Video Grade: A
- Audio Grade: A
- Extras Grade: A+
[Editor’s Note: This is an Australian REGION FREE Blu-ray release.]
Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! premiered at the Melbourne International Film Festival in 2008, receiving rave reviews and helping to bring attention to films that might have continued to go unappreciated by modern audiences. This documentary focuses on the explosion of Australian cinema that occurred from the 1960s through to the 1980s, bringing about some of the best underground filmmaking that the country had to offer. Whether it be action-oriented, comedic, horror-themed, pornographic, or downright gonzo, there’s no denying the creativity and the freedom that was had during that period of moviemaking.
The film acts as a well-oiled machine, taking nothing taken for granted and keeping you constantly engaged at all times, almost never settling on a shot for more than five seconds. It checks in with the people involved from the various eras and many of the crazy stories that came out of their experiences. One particularly memorable segment takes place during the making of Mad Dog Morgan, in which Dennis Hopper and others recount many of the outrageous things that went on during the making of the film, mostly due to Hopper being intoxicated for much of the shoot. There are a great number of interviewees, including Brian Trenchard-Smith, Quentin Tarantino, George Miller, Jamie Lee Curtis, Stacy Keach, George Lazenby, and Russell Mulcahy, amongst many others.
The documentary also doesn’t attempt to rationalize the existence of these films, providing plenty of context and arguments from both sides of the camera. While the critics that are interviewed give their brutally honest opinions about films like Turkey Shoot, Razorback, or The ABC of Love and Sex: Australia Style, others might praise them in a more favorable fashion. Chock full of film clips that feature both male and female nudity, as well as horrible violence and gore, Not Quite Hollywood is a rollercoaster ride that sheds a light on a particular subject that hadn’t really been touched on in this way before, something that Mark Hartley has done twice more since with Machete Maidens Unleashed! and Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films!.
Unfortunately, Not Quite Hollywood hasn’t been given a Blu-ray release just yet, but thanks to Umbrella Entertainment, we now have a Region Free Blu-ray option from Australia (which seems fitting) that is packed with extras and a transfer that is much better than its standard definition U.S. counterpart. Obviously, the different film clips that are used are of varied qualities, but for the most part, everything seems to have been sourced from what looks to be original elements. The interviews themselves look quite good and have an assortment of background environments for each subject, meaning there’s always something new and interesting to look at. The soundtracks are also quite excellent, which come in two options: English 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby Digital. Both offer high-class fidelity with some surprising dynamic range. The musical selections never fully dominate the comments being made and the track is mixed well with, what are quite often, booming and expansive sound effects, both modern and vintage. Unfortunately, no subtitle options are available. It’s worth noting that the U.S. DVD of the film featured additional audio and subtitle options in Spanish.
The supplemental section on this release, however, dwarfs its U.S. DVD counterpart in every conceivable way. It also carries over absolutely everything that was previously included. Starting things off, there’s an audio commentary from director Mark Hartley, joined by “Ozploitation Auteurs” Brian Trenchard-Smith, Antony I. Ginnane, John D. Lamond, David Hannay, Richard Brennan, Alan Finney, Vincent Monton, Grant Page, and Roger Ward; a set of 26 deleted and extended scenes, now with optional audio commentary from Hartley and editors Sara Edwards and Jamie Blanks; The Lost NQH Interview: Chris Lofven, the director of the film Oz; A Word with Bob Ellis (which was formerly an Easter Egg on DVD); a Quentin Tarantino and Brian Trenchard-Smith interview outtake; a Melbourne International Film Festival Ozploitation Panel discussion; Melbourne International Film Festival Red Carpet footage; 34 minutes of low tech behind the scenes moments which were shot mostly by Hartley; a UK interview with Hartley; The Bazura Project interview with Hartley; The Monthly Conversation interview with Hartley; The Business audio interview with Hartley; an extended Ozploitation trailer reel (3 hours worth), with an opening title card telling us that Brian Trenchard-Smith cut together most of the trailers (Outback, Walkabout, The Naked Bunyip, Stork, The Adventures of Barry McKenzie, three for Barry McKenzie Holds His Own, Libido, Alvin Purple, Alvin Rides Again, Petersen, 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 (aka Stage Fright), The Survivor, Road Games, Dead Kids (aka Strange Behavior), Strange Behavior, A Dangerous Summer, Next of Kin, Heatwave, Razorback, Frog Dreaming, Dark Age, Howling III: The Marsupials, 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, Turkey Shoot, Midnite Spares, The Return of Captain Invincible, Fair Game, Sky Pirates, Dead End Drive-In, The Time Guardian, Danger Freaks); Confession of an R-Rated Movie Maker, an interview with director John D. Lamond; an interview with director Richard Franklin on the set of Patrick; Terry Bourke’s Noon Sunday Reel; the Barry McKenzie: Ogre or Ocker vintage documentary; the Inside Alvin Purple vintage documentary; the To Shoot a Mad Dog vintage documentary; an Ozploitation stills and poster gallery; a production gallery; funding pitches; and the documentary’s original theatrical trailer. All of this material is quite extensive and well worth diving into.
Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! is an illuminating, educational, and entertaining film that’s worthy of your attention if you’re a film fan at all. Finally having it on Blu-ray with a massive amount of supplemental material is the icing on what is already a delicious cake.
– Tim Salmons