Severin Films has been revisiting their catalog in recent times to deliver high-def upgrades of fan favorites. It’s worth noting that they are careful to add some extra value in the new presentations. With their release of The Sinful Dwarf, they took on a Something Weird Video-style strategy of beefing up the set’s extras with an additional film by the same filmmakers. They’ve taken this concept even further with their blu-ray upgrade of Felicity, adding two extra features by director John Lamond to make the new release a triple feature.
The transfer of Felicity holds up nicely to the scrutiny of high definition, offering satisfying levels of grain and color that reflect the film’s ’70s-era vintage in a convincing way. The DTS presentation of the film’s original mono mix sounds nice and clear, with the music getting a little added heft.
Severin also packs this disc to the rafter with extras – the two additional feature films are just the beginning. Here is a play-by-play account of what you can expect…
Commentary: This track reunites Lamond with star Glory Annen. Lamond reveals plenty of interesting minutiae about the shoot and frequently asks Annen for the female perspective on various aspects of the film. Annen responds in kind, intelligently discussing how she handled the film’s demands and her attitude toward erotica. She also reveals she is actually Canadian, which will stun many a viewer who thought she was a Brit! It’s a relaxed yet informative track that is worth the time for fans.
The ABC’S Of Love Australia Style: Lamond’s playful 1977 riff on the sex-manual films of the early ’70s is revived here as the first of two bonus feature films. The transfer isn’t quite as good as Felicity but still looks respectable for an obscure exploitation item.
It also includes a commentary track pairing Lamond with Not Quite Hollywood documentarian Mark Hartley. Lamond discusses how he chose a light, playful style to the erotica on display to counteract potential charges of pornography as well as traveling to Sweden to film explicit sequences with real sex-show performers. Hartley asks plenty of questions and has info on every cast member, including the sex-show performers.
Click here for Schlockmania’s film review of The ABC’S Of Love Australia Style.
Australia After Dark: The second bonus film is Lamond’s sexploitation response to the Mondo Cane series. It drops the morbid/gruesome elements of the mondo film for a focus on sex and harmless weirdness. The uncut transfer used here comes from a video source: it’s got that rough analog video look and has a timecode in spots but it’s still a nice extra for sexploitation collectors.
There is also a commentary track for this film, again pairing Lamond with Hartley. Lamond reveals that despite all the recreations and falsified scenes, he did a lot of research to find real-life characters and odd situations that reflected the Australian experience circa 1975. There’s also an interesting stretch where he discusses his work with Aussie distributor Roadshow and how observing audiences while on the job influenced his filmmaking style. Hartley adds plenty of questions, points out all the Lamond repertory actors in the recreations and throws out some interesting stats and press quotes, to boot.
Click here for Schlockmania’s film review of Australia After Dark.
Not Quite Hollywood Outtakes: An hour’s worth of outtakes from Hartley’s titular documentary that cover three different people involved with Felicity: Annen, Lamond, cinematographer Garry Wapshott – plus ABC’s Of Love co-writer Alan Finney. Wapshott and Finney pay tribute to Lamond’s charmingly lecherous approach to commercial filmmaking and Lamond speaks fondly of sexploitation while strippers gyrate on a club stage behind him – but it’s Annen who has the most interesting things to say. She talks about her professional training as an actor and discusses her motivations for taking on the role as well as how she dealt with the nudity and sex.
John Lamond Trailer Gallery: A fun collection of trailers for the director’s varied filmography. In addition to the trailers for the sexploitation films contained on this disc, there are also spots for his slasher entry Nightmares and Pacific Banana, a sex comedy that was also a staple of late night cable programming.
To read Schlockmania’s film review of Felicity, click here.