Stone/DVD/2 Disc DVD Review

Stone/DVD/2 Disc DVD Review

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The Film

After accidentally witnessing a political assassination, The Grave Digger Biker Gang have been targeted by a rogue hitman. After the Grave Diggers bury one of their executed members, the Sydney Police Force send an officer named Stone (Ken Shorter) to see if he can join the club as an undercover agent to help find the killer. Stone is a straight laced health food nut, so when he is accepted into the outlaw gang he must prove himself worthy. After several initiation rituals including a bike race, Stone finally comes to be respected by the club. But how long will he be able to hang with these badass bikers before his own morals clashes with their reckless lifestyle? The film features lots of cool ORM (Open Road Montages) and lots of weed smoking. The excellent rockin' score by Billy Green really brings alot to the film. Cult film fans will recognize Hugh Keays-Byrne. Here he plays "Toad" one of the lead members of The Grave Diggers. He's at his wild eyed eccentric best in this role showing some flashes of craziness we would later see in his role as "Toecutter" in Mad Max. STONE is a cult classic in Australia and thanks to Severin Films, American audiences will now be able to see it in its fully restored Ozploitation glory.

DVD Review

DISC ONE:

Picture: Fully remastered with a beautiful (1:85:1)/16 X 9 Anamorphic Transfer. No complaints here mate.

Special Features: Theatrical Trailer.

Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono. The main attraction as far as sound goes is the classic rock score by Billy Green. It brings another layer of coolness to this film. Turn it up and take off into the horizon with The Grave Digger Biker Gang!

DISC TWO:

STONE FOREVER: Director Richard Kuiper revisits Stone 25 years after its original release and covers the anniversary of the film attended by 35,000 bikers/fans of the movie. Along with seeing footage from this exciting celebration, we get to hear from all the key cast and crew members who gave their hearts and souls to make their friend Director Sandy Harbutt's vision come to life. Being from the USA, I never knew much about STONE's cultural impact on Australia but as I learned from this documentary, the movie is the equivalent of Easy Rider (one of my top 10 favorite films ever) to fans over there. Upon the film's release it was dismissed by many film critics, but while they were putting it down, it actually found an audience and went on to become one of Australia's biggest films. Strangely, the Australian Film Board did not support the movie and they basically ignored it for the most part. This eventually gave it even more of a boost to enter into what we now call "cult film status". The cast and crew of STONE all fondly recall working on the film and you can tell it was a special time for them, as Australian independent films were a relatively new thing. The movie captures a specific time in Australia's history both in real life and in the cinematic story it portrayed. STONE was a small film although when you watch it, it seems much bigger. It cost around $130,000 to make, but as Sandy Harbutt said, it forced him to be more creative and frugal, which in turn probably made the film even better than it might have been with a larger budget. The documentary also features many interviews with real Aussie biker club members who all love STONE. 34 years after its initial release, the film is still being celebrated by the biker culture in Australia. The movie may not have provided Sandy Harbutt with another chance at making a film, but it did spark off an entire community of bike enthusiasts and fans of the film. Whichever way you look at it, STONE made its mark on Australia and film history.

The Making of STONE: This 1974 behind the scenes making of feature delves into the many ideas and themes that are prevalent in the film. We get to see several candid interviews with real Sydney based "bikies" and cast members including Writer-Director-Actor Sandy Harbutt and stars Ken Shorter, Hugh Keays-Byrne and Roger Ward. Some very nice documentary footage of the film in black and white and color. Longtime fans of STONE will surely enjoy this enjoyable closer look at the ozploitation cult classic.

STONE: Makeup Test: Cool archival footage of pre-production makeup/costume tests done for the film.

Director's Slide Show: Director Sandy Harbutt narrates a very nice slideshow of stills from the film.

THE FINAL WORD: This 2 DVD presentation of STONE is another great effort by the folks at Severin Films. Its a celebratory look back at this beloved 70s Ozploitation cult classic that film fans won't want to miss. Recommended!

--PopeyePete