ALVIN RIDES AGAIN
Australia, 1974, 89 minutes, Colour.
Graeme Blundell, Frank Thring, Chantal Contouri, Candy Raymond, Alan Finney, Briony Behets.
Directed by David Bilcock.
In 1973, there was a sequel to the very successful Alvin Purple, which had Graeme Blundell in two roles, with Alvin Purple having to impersonate a gangster.
The comedy was broader, one might say a little less subtle than Alvin Purple. It was directed by one of the editors of the original film, David Bilcock. The Alvin Purple films were the beginning of a collaboration between Tim Burstall and Village Roadshow Cinemas who began work in production and ventured into a number of films in the 70s, for example End Play and Eliza Fraser, both directed by Burstall.
In retrospect, the Alvin Purple films might seem rather tame but they were modelled on some of the sex comedies of the 1960s, especially those from Scandinavia, like Bedroom Mazurka. It was the Australian film industry proving that it could do sex comedies and romps as well as anybody else could - or, perhaps, better.
1. An enjoyable comedy? Its major features as comedy? How well were the conventions used? Did it stand by itself or did It emerge as definitely a sequel? How much did it depend on the original film?
2. How much did the success of the film depend on the character of Alvin? Was he an attractive character? Was he real or a cartoon style character? The Australian hero? The importance of his naivety and innocence? The importance of sexuality for Alvin and for the film? Alvin as moving through life without purpose? Did Alvin seem as alive in this film as in the original? What is the basic audience response to Alvin?
3. What tone did the prologue set - the sexuality and the woman at the window, in the office, the taxi?
4. Why did the film move from sex to parody of gangster films? How important was the laughter about sexuality? Was it in good taste? Witty and clever? Why did the film have less emphasis on sexuality than the original? Do people tire of sexuality?
5. How enjoyable was the parody of sex films, gangster film&? Was it clever parody or merely skit and send-up?
6. How important for comedy were the early sequences - the relationship with the woman at the cafe, the cricket team and the various farcical aspects of the rooms etc.? How was the transition to money effected? Satisfactorily? Moving out of Melbourne, the breaking down of the car, disguise at the cricket match, the bet?
7. Did the film make the transition to the Casino well? The portrayal of the casino and its style? Brian Cadd's song and performance? The gambling scenes etc.?
8. What were the best features of the gangster parody? The using of cliche? The presentation of Balsy himself? The satire with Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo? His death with Skippyls name on his lips? The importance of the plan for the robbery and the relation ship with 'Fingers'? The relationship with the Mafioso type? The importance of the dwarf as a gangster?
9. How successful were the impersonation sequences? The asking of Alvin to be the gangster? The magician sequence? The detective, searching for Balls Mc Gee and the bath?
10. Was the robbery sequence well done? Now enjoyable? The importance of the character of 'Fingers' - Frank Thring's satire? The satire in the jewellery and the gold etc.? The satire in Fingers' death?
11. How good was the chase sequence - was it merely derivative of other chase sequences? The character of the Italian gangster? His fanaticism?
12. How important was the character of Boobs La Touche - her relationship with Fingers, attraction to Alvin?
13. The transition to Sydney - the fine weather in Melbourne and Sydney as wet? The importance of the ferry sequence and the speeded up chase on the ferry? The satire in Noel Ferrier as the hatchet-man?
14. How important was the incidental satire in the film on cars, cafes, the Australian image etc.?
15. What values did the film stand for? What did it pre-suppose for audience response? Was it a good Australian comedy?