End Play (1975)
By: J.R. McNamara on January 14, 2010  | 
DVD
Roadshow (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1, English DD 2.0. 108 minutes
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Tim Burstall
Starring: George Mallaby, John Waters, Ken Goodlet, Delvene Delaney, Charles 'Bud' Tingwell
Screenplay: Tim Burstall
Country: Australia
External Links
IMDB
There cannot really be a discussion of Australian cinema without the name Tim Burstall coming up. Burstall was the director of many Australian films that are essential parts of our cinema history: Peterson, Stork and of course the iconic Alvin Purple. End Play is a film directed and written by Burstall, from the novel of the same name by Russell Braddon, who also wrote The Year of the Angry Rabbit, which William F. Claxton's film Night of the Lepus was based upon.

Paraplegic sportsman and weapons collector Robert Gifford (George Mallaby) and his brother Mark (John Waters) have a secret: one of them is a serial killer, but which one is it? After a mistake is made in the dumping of a body, the police close in on the brothers. Is the murderer the outgoing cripple, or the moody sailor, whose shore leave seems to coincide with the murders?

Watch… and find out.

George Mallaby is truly the hero of this piece. His performance as Robert Gifford is over the top, and is counterbalanced perfectly by John Waters' unstated and moody portrayal of his brother. Mallaby's scenes with the police officers are wonderful, as his character's' belligerence and obstreperous nature, whilst seemingly playful, has a darker undertone.

A few wonderful cast choices must be mentioned as well: Charles 'Bud' Tingwell as the family doctor and Elspeth Balantyne (Meg from TV's Prisoner) as a welfare officer. The credits also list John Lamond as the young Robbie, but I don't think it is the John Lamond, director of Pacific Banana.

A special mention has to go to some of the ladies of the film. Delvene Delany as the first victim doesn't really get much of an opportunity to act, though her corpse performance is excellent, but what she misses out on in proving her talent, she makes up for in showing her absolutely cracking legs; Belinda Giblin plays her role perfectly, and the girl who plays the usherette in the theatre is just plain out and out gorgeous!!
Video
I must admit for a movie this old I expected a fairly poor picture, and didn't get it. Sure it was slightly grainy, and I did notice the occasional hair or film artifact, but all in all this 16:9 widescreen presentation was clear and vibrant.
Audio
The sound in presented in 5.1 and only suffers from some slightly uneven sound recording; at some times the dialogue is clear, but at others it goes quiet.
Extra Features
Great extras for fans of Australian cinema.

Interviews has a series of interviews with star, John Waters, camera operator (and son of the director) Dan Burstall  and cinematographer, Robert Copping, where they discuss the film. This is a great, if too brief; look at many aspects of filmmaking.

Trailer is a wonderful full trailer for the film which expertly displays the mystery of the film, and Delvene Delany's cracking legs perfectly. A great trailer is an artform, and this is an excellent example.

Filmographies is a text piece with the filmographies for director Tim Burstall, and stars George Mallaby, John Waters, Belinda Giblin, Charles 'Bud' Tingwell, Robin Copping, Edward McQueen-Mason and Alan Finney.

Photo Gallery is an animated and soundtracked series of stills from the picture. I shall say this about still gallerys: if I wanted pictures, I would have bought a book!!! AS usual, a waste of disc space.

AFTRS Short Film: 'Nightride' is a short film, written and directed by Martin Murphy. This is an excellent short film by the director of Lost Things, and it is also presented on the disc for that film. Here it is to show what great talent we have in our local film industry, and the subject matter is similar to End Play.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
This thriller is truly a great example of the talent we have here in Australia, both behind the lens and in front of it. From the start it may seems obvious what is happening, and who is guilty, but there is much more going on than what it seems. This film is paced brilliantly and is quality through and through.

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