Not Quite Hollywood (Mark Hartley, 2008): Australia

Reviewed by David Smith at the Arc Light theater, AFI Film Festival, Hollywood.

Not Quite Hollywood is a documentary film on Australian genre.  I say genre because Australian film making, in the 70’s and 80’s, follows Hollywood conventions and then blows them out in huge proportions.  For example, a love story will start out with minor courting and then thrust right into a full blown orgy scene, with complete nudity.  This genre also includes big stunts, and the bloodiest of horror scenes.  I found the film interesting at first but there is a lot of repetition.

One of the films talked about is “Stone.”  This film is directed by Sandy Harbutt and released in June of 1974.  The documentary describes how this film was the start of the rough, tough biker themes.  There are big stunts, with a focus on how big of an explosion the cars would have when crashed.  Also, one of the motorcycle stunts landed a man in the hospital for a week only to try it again when released.  Another film discussed is “Mad Dog Morgan” released in 1976.  The film starts off with a discussion of how crazy Dennis Hopper was acting at the time.  He got in a fight and landed in jail the night he arrived in Australia.  This is another film with big stunts and lots of blood.  The comments on the film include: rough, brutal, ugly, complex, and unsettling. 

Another point the documentary hit on is the fact that the Australian film industry frowned upon bringing in actors from the U.S.A.  Jamie Lee Curtis, Nicole Kidman, and Dennis Hopper are among these US actors. This film is well put together and has comments from great directors like Quentin Tarantino (who was labeled as a fan instead of director).

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