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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Stunts > Rock Music > Stunt Rock (1978 aka Sorcery aka Crash/Region Four/4/PAL Import/Madman DVD Set)

Stunt Rock (1978 aka Sorcery aka Crash/Region Four/4/PAL Import/Madman DVD Set)

 

Picture: C     Sound: C     Extras: C+     Film: C+

 

 

PLEASE NOTE: This DVD set can only be operated on machines capable of playing back DVDs that can handle Region Four/4 PAL format software and can be ordered from our friends at Madman Entertainment at the website address provided at the end of the review.  Cover copyright © 1978 Intertamar N.V. All Rights Reserved

 

 

Brian Trenchard-Smith crosses stunt work, documentary filmmaking, compilations, the split screen style originated in the film of Woodstock and Rock music in his wild, hilarious, wacky 1978 film Stunt Rock.  The Oz-Ploitation director of such fascinating and fun films like Dead-End Drive In, Turkey Shoot and The Man From Hong Kong (all reviewed elsewhere on this site) got to make this film in Los Angeles and goes all out to deliver.

 

Managing to hold the story barely together, we get stunts outdoors, on buildings and even in the concerts.  Stuntman Grant Page (whose work includes the first Mad Max) is the overall star, but is joined by (usually playing actual characters) the members of the band Sorcery who are already playing characters by default and performing most of the songs, hot on-the-rise Paul Verhoeven film star Monique van de Ven (Cathy Tippel), Margaret Gerard and the first appearance of no less than future comedy star Phil Hartman.

 

With all that, you know this is going to be a hoot, but despite the odd ways it has aged, it is a fun film anyone who likes fun films should catch at least once.  It definitely was jumping on the Rockumentary cycle and also a subcycle that had narrative films with real Rock music acts that The Beatles and other acts that followed pioneered.

 

Oh, and all the stunts are very impressive for their age, especially in our digital age.

 

 

The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image combined old black and white block style 1.33 X 1 film from the past briefly with new stunt work by a great group of professionals shot in 16mm film and full widescreen 2.35 X 1 scope shots that are shot in real anamorphic Todd-AO 35mm film for a very unique film.  Not merely a pastiche, Smith is going all out to capture every moment in every way he can, with the Todd-AO saved for the scripted moments and concert footage.  This is as varied as a documentary and he even notes that the Ektachrome used is a little grainier than he would have lied and its color quality is no match for the 35mm footage.  The 16mm is down a generation (in defense of his work) because it is the optical printing from the time.  Expect softness and variance throughout.

 

The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is compressed and they note on the audio commentary that a 4-track stereo version was mixed, but it is not here, not noted in the credits or could be found anywhere else.  Still, that would have existed on 35mm prints with 4 magnetic tracks and if that mix could be found, needs to be soon so it can be restored.

 

Extras include the Original Cannes Promo Reel. Original Theatrical Trailer, another solid Audio Commentary led by Trenchard-Smith with actors Page and Gerard, Audio Interview with Sorcery band member Perry Morris and Trenchard-Smith’s short film The Stunt Men.

 

 

As noted above, you can order this PAL DVD import set exclusively from Madman at:

 

https://www.madman.com.au/actions/channel.do?method=view

 

 

-   Nicholas Sheffo


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