Not Quite Hollywood (2008)
By: J.R. McNamara on January 12, 2009  | 
DVD
Madman (Australia). All Regions, PAL. 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1, English DD 2.0. 103 minutes
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Mark Hartley
Starring: Quentin Tarantino, Antony I. Ginnane, Brian Trenchard-Smith
Country: Australia
External Links
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I know that a lot of you that visit us here in that dungeon of the internet known as Digital Retribution will be film collectors, and as film collectors you may occasionally pick up something a little extra that may make your collection unique. It might be a hard-to-get Freddy Krueger action figure, or some obscure poster of a giallo film from Belgium. For me it is an autograph of a person that I consider a legend in Australian cinema and TV, Roger Ward, who came to my place as the guest of a friend to celebrate the birth of my daughter in 1997. I have this autograph framed, and Roger looks down on me from the wall, and in my mind I think he is looking at me and appreciating the crap that makes my viewing choices, especially the regular spins of films that star him, like Stone, Mad Max and Turkey Shoot.

Now Turkey Shoot is a nice segue into a review of this documentary, as it was written and directed by the man who did Blood and Thunder Memories: the documentary about the making Turkey Shoot on the Umbrella DVD release, Mark Hartley. Here, Hartley is giving us a wonderful documentary, Not Quite Hollywood, which is a look at Australian cinema from the early seventies through to the late eighties. And by Australian cinema; I don't mean the Gillian Armstrong or Peter Weir type films. No, I mean the total and utter mind blowingly awesome sexploitation, horror, revenge and action flicks that were squeezed out of our cinematic anus and sprayed across the world, stinking up grindhouses everywhere they went!

Hartley has researched his stuff to the nth degree, and we start our doco in the late sixties, when Australia had little or no film industry of its own, and we watch as it evolves into a machine that spews forth so many films, that some of them are probably still lost today. This films has interviews with so many of my personal heroes: Australia's answer to Roger Corman,; Antony Ginnane, the aforementioned Roger Ward, legendary director and Quentin Tarantino's Australian hero Brian Trenchard-Smith, Gus MErcurio, Jackie Weaver, Graeme Blundell, Barry Humphries, Dennis Hopper, Quentin Tarantino, John Lamond (whose whole interview was done in a strip club, and I have to say I paid more attention to the femme fatale in the background than to him…sorry, Mr Lamond)… the list could goes on so long, this review could become just a gigantic list of people interviewed, both in new interviews and stock footage….

This being a pure Australian feature also means that when there is shit to be thrown, it is thrown, and hard at its targets!! No holds barred, ladies and gentlemen, as stories are told, and retold, and then denied by various stars, producers, stuntmen. Those who feel they were ripped off say so, those who feel they were exploited say so, usually over footage of them in the nude, and those who think that the films of this era were an abomination say so…I am looking at you, Mr Ellis.

The documentary is divided into three sections: "Ockers, Knockers, Pubes and Tubes", which covers our sexploitation scene; "Comatose Killers and Outback Thrillers", which looks at the horror films of the period; and "High Octane Disasters and Kung Fu Masters", which discusses our action films, and every single section is a corker filled with nudity, gore, violence and kangaroos! The stories of some of the films are funny, and the behind the scenes tales of bad behavior are fantastic… and the phrase 'loose cannon' seems to pop to mind more often than not! Some of the tales of the way these films were exploited overseas with alternate titles, like the Sigrid Thornton thriller Snap Shot being released oversea as The Day After Halloween, are hilarious, and in some cases, like the one just mentioned, almost criminal!!

Hartley clearly has a love of Australian cinema, which can be told by the lavish way in which this production was filmed. This sort of thing can easily descend into a series of talking heads, but there is so much footage from these Ozploitation films that by the end I think you have seen every Australian actress from that period either fully nude or topless… or chased by a bunch of outback maniacs in a Holden!! Even the animated linking scenes are well produced, and have a nice Ozploitation feel to them, as do the classic drive-in theatre kiosk adverts.

I'd also like to make special mention of the soundtrack. In addition to some classic Australian rock tracks, the score of the film was written by Stephen Cumming and Billy Miller, of classic Australian band the Sports and The Ferrets respectively. A mention should also go to Jamie Blanks, director of Valentine and Urban Legend, who not only appears in the documentary, but also assisted Hartley and Sara Edwards with the editing, and that must have been a mighty job indeed, judging by the fact that the footage found in the deleted scenes could have still quite easily been part of the main production.
Video
Obviously with the footage coming from dozens of sources of varying age some of the scenes are lacking in quality and are artifact filled. The new interview footage is pristine however, and this film is presented is a delicious 16:9 enhanced 1.78:1 aspect ratio.
Audio
As with the picture, some of the older interviews or film footage may have lackluster sound, but in general it sounds great. Presented in a choice of Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0.
Extra Features
Wow! This film is an extras extravaganza!!

On the first disc we have a wonderful commentary by director Mark Hartley, who invites a good portion of the interviewees to tell more of their torrid tales, and additional anecdotes. It is a fairly constant commentary, and one that can be watched more than once for the information it imparts.

On the first disc we also have Quentin Tarantino and John Lamond giving their pitches for how important this film is to Australian cinema. It really is only a bit of fluff, but QT's dedication to Ozploitation is apparent, as is Lamond's love of strip joints!! We are also offered the trailer of the documentary on this disc as well.

Disc two is where it all comes alive!! It has trailers… BOY, does it have trailers!!  The trailers section can be watched altogether, which would probably take about an hour, or divided into the same sequences the documentary was divided into, and they are: Ockers, Knockers, Pubes and Tubes which features trailers for: The Naked Bunyip, Stork, The Adventures of Barry McKenzie, Barry McKenzie Holds His Own, Alvin Purple, Alvin Rides Again, Peterson, The Love Epidemic, Eskimo Nell, Plugg, The Box, Eliza Frazer, Fantasm, Fantasm Comes Again, The Abc of Love and Sex, Felicity, Pacific Banana, Centrespread and Melvin, Son of Alvin. Comatose Killers and Outback Chillers features the trailers for: Night of Fear, Inn of the Damned, Patrick, Long Weekend, Snapshot, Thirst, Harlequin, The Survivor, Dead Kids, Road Games, A Dangerous Summer, Next of Kin, Razorback and Bloodmoon. High Octane Disasters and Kung Fu Masters features the trailers for: Stone, The Man From Hong Kong, Mad Dog Morgan, Mad Max, Stunt Rock, The Chain Reaction, Race for the Yankee Zephyr, Turkey Shoot, Midnite Spares, BMX Bandits, The Return of Captain Invincible, Frog Dreaming, Sky Pirates and Dead End Drive In. There are also trailers for other Madman releases: Love the Beast, Ten Empty, The Man From Hong Kong, Dead End Drive In and Stunt Rock.

There is a stills gallery divided into the same threesome, and each contains a selection of posters and stills from their respective sub genres.

There is a wonderful Q and A session from ACMI (The Australian Centre for the Moving Image) which features a panel containing Mark Hartley, Antony Ginnane, David Hannay, Richard Brennen, Brian Trenchard-Smith, Grant Page, Roger Ward and Everett D. Roche. More fantastic anecdotes from these guys, some repeated form the documentary but wonderful nevertheless.

Featured on this disc also is an audio interview with Richard Franklin, who died in 2007, and it is an interesting look at his career.

QT and BTS is a pretty cool meeting between Quentin Tarantino and Brian Trenchard Smith, which I have to admit if I had been in that room I quite possibly would have spontaneously geek-gasmed and imploded. It occasionally sinks into mutual masturbation, but in general is a cool look at Ozploitation from the point of fan and director… though which is which I am still not too sure of!!

There are also 23 deleted scenes focusing on several films not entirely focused on in the documentary.  I must admit to being disappointed these were not re-instated into the film, but the fact they are present at all in cool.

On disc 2, also keep an eye open for a hilarious Easter Egg where the ever laconic Bob Ellis cuts absolutely sick on Australia's favourite movie making son, Peter Weir. Somehow I don't think a dinner invitation will be forthcoming to Mr Ellis.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
In the early scenes of this film, Barry Humphries says something wonderful about Australian culture: "I never thought Australia was a place that needed culture of any description; but we did feel we had to have it, as we had to have an Opera house… something to put on the stamps, and slowly, of course, it began to grow, and it only really grows on decaying things, because culture, after all, is cheese… or yogurt." I think he is absolutely unequivocally correct. As a society we are not pompous, we are a country that enjoys life, and our films should reflect that, and it is the films in this documentary that do. You can keep your My Brilliant Careers and  The Year My Voice Broke types of Australian films, give me Ozploitation EVERY time!! I have to say I only have one real criticism of this film. Before I watched it, I thought I had a pretty good film collection, and that there wasn't really much older stuff I needed to acquire. Wrong! My life is now going to be spent attempting to get every film represented on this DVD, as I now appreciate exactly what Australian cinema gave to the world, and they are the things I love about exploitation films: nudity, violence, sleeze and cheese.

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