Starring: Barry Crocker, Barry Humphries
Rated: M (15+)
Distributor: Umbrella Entertainment DVD
Extras: Audio commentary by Barry Crocker, Behind the scenes footage, ’74 Documentary ‘Barry McKenzie: Ogre or Ocker’ (and more)
Proudly announcing itself as ‘The first English language film with English language sub-titles’ Barry McKenzie Holds His Own (’74) is the sequel to the hugely popular critical flop The Adventures of Barry McKenzie (’72) and provides your passport to unadulterated Pommy bashing pleasure. Proudly presented in ‘Chunderama’ the film features more technicolour yawns per foot of celluloid than perhaps any other in the history of cinema. And all this from one of Australia’s most acclaimed directors.
In the mid ’60s Bruce Beresford was working in London where he saw a gross-out comic strip called ‘An Aussie in Pommielan’’ in the satirical magazine Private Eye. He wrote a script partly based on it then later, back in his homeland, he teamed up with its creator Barry Humphries to make the first of these cinematic assaults on the senses. The shocking reviews that followed its release made Beresford think twice about a sequel, even if it was to be shot in Paris, but circumstances conspired to find him once again at the helm directing Barry Crocker as the eponymous Bazza and Barry Humphries in a variety of roles including a creation that he’d been honing for the best part of two decades by the name of Edna Everage.
Edna had not been part of the original comic strip but she was inserted into the films as Bazza’s dear old aunt who undergoes several ridiculous trials. In the sequel she gets kidnapped by vampires and whisked off to Transylvania where she is entertained by Count Plasma (Donald Pleasence). It’s all exceedingly silly but strangely captivating, full of classic ‘Bazzereisms’. This is vintage ‘Dingo Lingo’ at its best. There’s even an appearance by Gough and Margaret Whitlam who head up the welcome committee in the final scene at the airport. Edna falls to her knees before them and the then Prime Minister instructs her to ‘Arise, Dame Edna!’ And so, a housewife was killed off and a superstar born. For this historic moment alone, every Aussie worth a ‘fair suck on the sauce stick’ should get their hands on this ‘fillum’ and give it a ‘Captain Cook’ pronto.