Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! (2008)

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Quite an astonishing documentary, blending some eye-opening information with great anecdotes and a wealth of clips that fans of exploitation movies will savour, Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story Of Ozploitation! covers a boom period in the Australian movie business that came about thanks to a very specific mix of events and opportunities.

Back in the early 1970s it would seem that Australia didn’t really have a movie industry. In fact, if you can think of any memorable Australian movie from before this decade then you have a much better memory than I will ever have. Then something very strange happened. The 70s saw, of course, a number of social changes but in Australia, specifically, it also seemed to lead to a country full of people finally finding unique identities and being able to recognise the key elements in their own culture (whether that meant the drinking, macho, crude stereotypes played for laughs or the strong survivor types who could endure such harsh and sun-baked outback environments). And things stemmed, as they so often do, from sex.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it, no doubt, time and again – people looking at the history of cinema and the trends that have occurred over the years will miss out on a lot of important and formative work if they dismiss the exploitation fare and “nudie cuties” of the past. Not only have these films often proven to be a starting point for many people who then went on to make an impact with future projects but they have, by virtue of challenging the sensibilities and moralities of society at that time, helped to pave the way for more challenging adult content, be it art or just schlock. This proves to be the case here. You may dislike a number of the movies featured in this documentary (or, like me, you may well love them) but their influence and the broad way in which the whole landscape of Australian cinema was changed and given a fantastic global profile is undeniable.

Writer/director Mark Hartley really excels here, providing a wealth of anecdotes and affectionate testimonies from names such as Brian Trenchard-Smith, Grant Page (aka “the indestructible” Grant Page), Roger Ward, John D. Lamond, Barry Humphries, Anthony I. Ginnane, Russell Mulcahy, Jamie Lee Curtis and Quentin Tarantino. Dennis Hopper being a bit mad and upsetting people, George Lazenby being set on fire, a naked bunyip and much more add up to a documentary that is just as much fun as many of the movies featured. The fact that I now want to see each and every title mentioned here makes this another successful documentary from Hartley. Pair this up with Machete Maidens Unleashed! and you have one of the best movie-related documentary double-bills that you could hope for.

WRITER/DIRECTOR: MARK HARTLEY
FEATURING: QUENTIN TARANTINO, BRIAN TRENCHARD-SMITH, GRANT PAGE, ROGER WARD, JOHN D. LAMOND, BARRY HUMPHRIES, ANTONY I. GINNANE, GEORGE MILLER, RUSSELL MULCAHY
RUNTIME: 103 MINS APPROX
COUNTRY: AUSTRALIA/USA

Film Rating: ★★★★½

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