• The Adventures Of Barry McKenzie (Umbrella Entertainment) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Umbrella Entertainment
    Released on: January 6th 2021.
    Director: Bruce Beresford
    Cast: Barry Crocker, Barry Humphries, Peter Cook, Spike Milligan, Dennis Price
    Year: 1972
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    The Adventures Of Barry McKenzie – Movie Review:

    Bruce Beresford’s 1972 picture, The Adventures Of Barry McKenzie, stars Barry Crocker as Barry McKenzie, a beer-swilling simpleton and, as per the Aussie lingo that dominates the film, an ocker (“a boorish or aggressive person, especially an Australian man”). Barry, or ‘Bazza’ as he’s often referred to, isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer and he probably drinks too much, but he’s likeable even if he comes across as a bit of an unintentional asshole more often than not.

    When Barry’s father passes away, he inherits some money on the condition that he travel to England and carry on the McKenzie family’s tradition of being versed in art and culture. Barry’s beloved Aunt Edna (Barry Humphries) volunteers to accompany him on his journey across the pond, though she’s got an ulterior motive in that she wants to reconnect with her ex-pat friends, The Gorts (Dennis Price and Avice Landone). Although The Gorts are less than thrilled when Barry and Edna arrive, they soon decide that they can marry off perpetually single daughter Sarah (Jenny Tomasin) to newly well-to-do Barry and at least get that problem solved hopefully for good. Barry, however, is more interesting in hanging out with Curly (Paul Bertram) and Lesley (Mary Ann Severne), a couple of Australians that he grew up with who have since relocated to London. As they head out and check out the scene, Barry and company find themselves in one precarious situation after another and hilarity ensues.

    The Adventures Of Barry McKenzie might not be a particularly classy film but it doesn’t need to be classy to be funny. Yeah, fine, much of the humor in the film is decidedly and deliberately low brow and very much a product of its time, but seeing Crocker and Humphries do their thing together is generally pretty amusing even if the movie is about thirty-minutes longer than it probably needed to be. Of course, surrounding these two with some fine supporting talent doesn’t hurt things at all. Dennis Price is a kick to watch here and both Peter Cook and Spike Milligan have decent roles in the film, which certainly adds to its wonky charm.

    Plot very definitely comes second, with the film more or less comprised as a series of sight gags that are rather loosely strung together but it’s hard not to laugh at the over stupidity of it all. If The Adventures Of Barry McKenzie aims low, at least it hits its mark, never trying to be anything more than gleefully dumb entertainment. On that level, it succeeds.

    The Adventures Of Barry McKenzie – Blu-ray Review:

    The Adventures Of Barry McKenzie arrives on region free Blu-ray from Umbrella Entertainment in AVC encoded 1080p high definition framed at 1.85.1 on a 50GB disc with the feature taking up 31.3GBs of space. The transfer is described as being taken from a new 4k restoration and generally speaking it looks quite good. There’s a bit of print damage here and there and maybe some mild color fading at times but this always looks appropriately film-like. The film gets a nice bit rate so compression artifacts are never a problem, and there’s no noticeable noise reduction or edge enhancement to complain about here.

    Audio chores are handled a 24-bit English language DTS-HD 2.0 mono track with optional subtitles offered up in English only (which admittedly do come in handy as some of the actors speak very fast!). Dialogue is easy enough to understand (so long as you don’t have an issue with Australian accents!) and the levels are nicely balanced. The track is clean, there are no issues with any hiss or distortion to note. All in all, it sounds pretty decent.

    In addition to having the option to play the feature with or without a five-minute Dame Edna introduction, the extras start off with a featurette entitled The Adventures Of Bazza In Chunderland put together by Not Quite Hollywood director Mark Hartley. This piece does a deep dive into the history of the Barry McKenzie character, covering the comic strip that inspired the movie, some of the shorts that preceded the feature and, of course, the feature itself. Lots of great interviews here with the cast and crew and at over two-hours in length it's provides a ridiculously thorough examination of the film's origins, its success and, yes, even its influence. This is an excellent piece and is absolutely worth your time.

    Barry McKenzie – Ogre Or Ocker is a fifty-three-minute conversation with Barry Humphries that serves as a nice, and frequently very funny, career overview that is well worth watching. Also on hand are some extended interviews with Crocker and producer Philip Adams. Again, we get more background on the movie and information on its success.

    Umbrella has also dug deep into the vaults and provided a selection of Beresford and Humphries short films (La Bain Vorace (Dial P for Plughole), It Droppeth As The Gentle Rain, Film For Guitar and King Size Woman ), a seven-minute short starring Barry Humphries entitled The Naked Bunyip, seven-minutes of vintage “Guess Who’s Mum’s Got A Whirlpool that tie into the character, and last but not least an excellent Beresford and Humphries Australian trailer collection (which includes trailers for (he Naked Bunyip, Barry McKenzie Holds His Own, The Great McCarthy, Don's Party, The Getting of Wisdom, Money Movers, Breaker Morant, The Club, Puberty Blues, The Fringe Dwellers, Les Patterson Saves the World, Black Robe, Paradise Road, Mao's Last Dancer and Ladies In Black).

    Rounding out the extras are a stills and poster gallery, a theatrical trailer for the feature, menus and chapter selection. This release also comes packaged with some double-sided cover sleeve art and a slipcover.

    The Adventures Of Barry McKenzie - The Final Word:

    The Adventures Of Barry McKenzie may not be high art but it’s a pretty fun movie and a genuinely interesting artifact from the golden age of Ozploitation. Umbrella Entertainment has done a great job on the film’s Blu-ray release, giving the picture a nice presentation and absolutely stacking the disc with extras.

    Click on the images below for full sized The Adventures Of Barry McKenzie Blu-ray screen caps!