×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation

Aussie genre pics of the 1970s and '80s get a rip-roaring salute in "Not Quite Hollywood," complete with endorsement by Quentin Tarantino as chief onscreen fanboy.

With:
With: Russell Boyd, Jamie Lee Curtis, Cassandra Delaney, Everett de Roche, Richard Franklin, Antony I. Ginnane, Deborah Gray, Gregory Harrison, Dennis Hopper, Barry Humphries, Stacy Keach, Ted Kotcheff, John D. Lamond, George Lazenby, George Miller, Vincent Monton, Philippe Mora, Judy Morris, Russell Mulcahy, Grant Page, Steve Railsback, Cheryl Rixon, John Seale, Lynda Stoner, Quentin Tarantino, Jeremy Thomas, Jack Thompson, Sigrid Thornton, Brian Trenchard-Smith, Roger Ward, Simon Wincer, Susannah York.

Aussie genre pics of the 1970s and ’80s get a rip-roaring salute in “Not Quite Hollywood,” complete with endorsement by Quentin Tarantino as chief onscreen fanboy. While the majority of the films covered (“Mad Max” being the most notable exception) will be unknown to offshore auds, presenting a marketing challenge for foreign distribs, most viewers will get fully into the antic spirit of the thing even before the Me Decade-styled opening-credits graphics stop rolling. Currently in wide home-turf release, pic is tentatively slated by Magnolia for U.S. theatrical unleashing next spring.

Pic starts from the semi-true assertion that there was virtually no Australian film industry (what about all those Chips Rafferty movies?), not counting international productions shot there, until the late ’60s. Then the winds of social and artistic change hit Down Under, inspiring some hardy young souls to flaunt soon-to-be-extinct censorship standards by pushing the cinematic envelope.

Thus, Oz’s first new wave of home-grown enterprise was mostly sexploitative, encompassing the likes of “The Naked Bunyip,” “Australia After Dark” and “The ABC of Love and Sex: Australia Style.” Prurient comedies like “Alfie” spin “Alvin Purple” and “The Adventures of Barry McKenzie” were such hits, they spawned sequels.

Such exercises, with their gleeful underlining of Oz yahoo stereotypes, naturally appalled mainstream tastemakers and critics (several of whom are still ticked off, as interviewed here). Nor were they placated by the horror and action films spotlighted in pic’s second half, particularly since the late ’70s also brought an Australian New Wave of quality cinema (“Picnic at Hanging Rock,” “My Brilliant Career,” “The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith”).

It’s the contention of first-time helmer Mark Hartley (who arrived at the project by creating special features for Umbrella Entertainment’s DVD reissues of Ozploitation titles) and the excitable Tarantino that the pics in question had a particular gonzo energy due to their outre mayhem and reckless stunt work.

Such prolific, still-active creatives as director Brian Trenchard-Smith (“Dead-End Drive In,” “Turkey Shoot”) and producer Antony I. Ginnane (dubbed “the Roger Corman of Australia”) piled on cheap “laughs and gasps” designed to give the punters their money’s worth, often with an eye on international markets. This resulted in a few big hits — the much-imitated 1979 “Mad Max” of course, plus that year’s less remembered horror opus “Patrick.”

There were also notable bombs and a lot of idiosyncratic exercises that look swell, at least in high-octane excerpt. Among those are biker pic “Stone” (1974), eco-horror pic “Long Weekend” (1978) and even “Howling 3: The Marsupials” (1987).

In addition to bemused local industry vets, Hartley interviews a few Hollywood personalities recounting their Down Under stints, such as Jamie Lee Curtis on “Road Games” and Steve Railsback on “Turkey Shoot.” Anecdotes about a very pre-sobriety Dennis Hopper’s behavior on “Mad Dog Morgan” are one highlight; stunt legend Grant Page’s recollections of the often insane physical risks taken are another.

Energetic almost to the brink of excess, package is first-rate in all respects, with clips mostly in fine condition.

Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation

Australia

Production: A Magnolia Pictures (in U.S.) release of a Film Finance Corp. Australia, City Films Worldwide, Madman Films presentation, in association with Film Victoria, Melbourne Intl. Film Festival Premiere Fund, Magnolia Pictures. (International sales: Magnolia Pictures Intl., New York.) Produced by Michael Lynch, Craig Griffin. Executive producers, Bruno Charlesworth, Jonathan Shteinman, Paul Weigard, Nick Batzias. Directed, written by Mark Hartley.

Crew: Camera (color, HD-and-35mm-to-35mm), Kart von Moller; editors, Jamie Blanks, Sara Edwards, Hartley; music, Stephen Cummings, Billy Miller; sound (Dolby Digital), Rob Mackenzie; graphic design/animation supervisor, Marcus Cobbledick. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Midnight Madness), Sept. 3, 2008. Running time: 102 MIN.

With: With: Russell Boyd, Jamie Lee Curtis, Cassandra Delaney, Everett de Roche, Richard Franklin, Antony I. Ginnane, Deborah Gray, Gregory Harrison, Dennis Hopper, Barry Humphries, Stacy Keach, Ted Kotcheff, John D. Lamond, George Lazenby, George Miller, Vincent Monton, Philippe Mora, Judy Morris, Russell Mulcahy, Grant Page, Steve Railsback, Cheryl Rixon, John Seale, Lynda Stoner, Quentin Tarantino, Jeremy Thomas, Jack Thompson, Sigrid Thornton, Brian Trenchard-Smith, Roger Ward, Simon Wincer, Susannah York.

More Film

  • FX's 'Snowfall' Panel TCA Winter Press

    John Singleton Hospitalized After Suffering Stroke

    UPDATED with statements from John Singleton’s family and FX Networks John Singleton, the Oscar nominated director and writer of “Boyz N’ the Hood,” has suffered a stroke. Sources confirm to Variety that Singleton checked himself into the hospital earlier this week after experiencing pain in his leg. The stroke has been characterized by doctors as [...]

  • 'Curse of La Llorona' Leads Slow

    'Curse of La Llorona' Leads Slow Easter Weekend at the Box Office

    New Line’s horror pic “The Curse of La Llorona” will summon a solid $25 million debut at the domestic box office, leading a quiet Easter weekend before Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame” hits theaters on April 26. The James Wan-produced “La Llorona,” playing in 3,372 theaters, was a hit with hispanic audiences, who accounted for nearly 50% [...]

  • Jim Jarmusch in 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    Film Review: 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    “Carmine Street Guitars” is a one-of-a-kind documentary that exudes a gentle, homespun magic. It’s a no-fuss, 80-minute-long portrait of Rick Kelly, who builds and sells custom guitars out of a modest storefront on Carmine Street in New York’s Greenwich Village, and the film touches on obsessions that have been popping up, like fragrant weeds, in [...]

  • Missing Link Laika Studios

    ‘Missing Link’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Annapurna Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “Missing Link.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $5.91 million through Sunday for [...]

  • Little Woods

    Film Review: 'Little Woods'

    So much of the recent political debate has focused on the United States’ southern border, and on the threat of illegal drugs and criminals filtering up through Mexico. But what of the north, where Americans traffic opiates and prescription pills from Canada across a border that runs nearly three times as long? “Little Woods” opens [...]

  • Beyonce's Netflix Deal Worth a Whopping

    Beyonce's Netflix Deal Worth a Whopping $60 Million (EXCLUSIVE)

    Netflix has become a destination for television visionaries like Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy, with deals worth $100 million and $250 million, respectively, and top comedians like Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle ($40 million and $60 million, respectively). The streaming giant, which just announced it’s added nearly 10 million subscribers in Q1, is honing in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content