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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer ( )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
    English - Hearing Impaired
  Extras
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Audio commentary
  • Cast/crew biographies
  • Production notes - "The Caddie Files" - Pages from the Director's workings script/Helen Morse on Caddie/Peter James on Caddie/Ad Gallery/International Press/Words about Caddie/AFI Awards
  • Behind the scenes footage

Caddie

Roadshow Entertainment/Roadshow Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 106 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Released not long after Picnic at Hanging Rock, Donald Crombie's Caddie has often been attributed, along with the previous film, to the beginnings of the 'renaissance' period of Australian film.

Based on the autobiography of Catherine Elliot-Mackay, Caddie tells the true story of a Sydney barmaid and her tribulations trying to stay self sufficient during the Great Depression. After discovering her husband's infidelity, Catherine decides to take the children and make a new life for herself as a barmaid - not so easy a task in the 1920s. While working one day, SP Bookie Ted (Jack Thompson) strolls into Catherine's pub and gives her the nickname of 'Caddie', because her 'beauty and class' remind him of his new Cadillac.

The films follows Caddie over a ten year period where she wins and loses many lovers, has trouble staying employed and falls ill. The film is a bit slow by today's standards, and is lacking in any of the elements of excitement that most people look for in their cinema, but what Caddie lacks in excitement, it makes up for in pure heart. The story of Caddie's struggle is still as endearing today as it was during the period in which it took place, and in the end, I'm sure that's all the real Caddie would have wanted.

  Video
Contract

While the quality here is generally acceptable, there are still many problems with this video transfer, however the majority of them seem to be inherent within the actual print.

Lacking the benefit of any major restoration efforts, the biggest problem is the soft, washed out image present throughout the feature. While this certainly reflects the period in which the piece was set, it seems a little too unnatural at times, with particular colours such as whites and other bright colours, appearing frequently over-exposed.

Many film artefacts are also still present within the print, however they vary in quantity and only rarely distract from the viewing experience. What does interrupt the film, however, are the unstable sections that still remain in the print. Missing frames, synch problems, heavy grain and poor shadow detail are all present here and make for a transfer that could be described as problematic at best.

This area could have benefited from a lot more restoration work, however collectors of Australian film should generally find this to be of borderline acceptable quality.

Caddie is presented in an anamorphically enhanced ratio of 1.85:1, its original theatrical ratio.

  Audio
Contract

The only soundtrack available on this DVD is in English, Dolby Digital 2.0.

Since Caddie is largely a dialogue driven film, the most important aspect of this DVD is to represent this element in a clear and understandable manner. For the most part, this has been achieved to an acceptable level, however there are a few instances where the dialogue is a little difficult to understand due to distortion, low volume levels and poor dubbing (ADR).

The remarkable soundtrack, composed by Patrick Flynn, is a wonderful achievement in period theme - it's just a shame that it sounds as thin and lifeless as it does here. Restrained under the bindings of a stereo transfer that constantly sounds as though it is actually mono, the music rarely gets an inch to impress, and certainly never gets the dynamics it desperately needs.

  Extras
Contract

Along with titles like Phillip Noyce's Newsfront, it's fantastic to see Roadshow putting an effort into assembling extra material for classic Australian films.

While it's not as expansive as Newsfront, there is certainly enough satisfying content on Caddie, especially for fans of the film or Australian cinema in general.

Audio Commentary: With Director Donald Crombie and Producer Anthony Buckley. While it is quite slowly paced, this commentary offers a lot of useful information about the film, from anecdotes to lighting set-ups and everything in between, it should more than satisfy anyone wishing to dig deeper into the production of the film.

Behind the Scenes Footage: Narrated by Producer Anthony Buckley, this short film runs for around 12 minutes and shows various aspects of the production behind the scenes. A lot of interesting information is revealed during the commentary of this footage.

Production Notes: Gathered under the heading of The Caddie Files, this collection of information contains a virtual treasure trove of information on the film. The individual sections appear as below:

Pages from the Director's working script - A script to scene comparison that lets the viewer examine elements of the original script and then compare them with the filmed scene.

Helen Morse on Caddie - Written information from Helen Morse and her impressions on the film and its subject matter.

Peter James on Caddie - As above.

Ad Gallery - A collection of advertising materials used to promote the film upon its release.

International Release - A collection of newspaper and magazine clippings that show favourable overseas reviews of the film upon its release.

Words on Caddie - General written information about Caddie.

AFI Awards - A listing of AFI awards the film achieved upon release.

Cast and Crew: A refreshingly extensive listing of the cast and crew involved with the film.

Theatrical Trailer: The original theatrical trailer for the film narrated by Jack Thompson, presented in full frame and running for just over two minutes.

  Overall  
Contract

While it certainly won't appeal to the impatient, Caddie is still a great piece of Australian cinema that features some superb acting turns from the likes of Helen Morse and Jackie Weaver. Above all, however, the film's meticulous attention to period detail is its greatest asset.

Fans of the film should also be pleased with the general quality of the DVD, not to mention the handsome collection of extras.


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      And I quote...
    "...what Caddie lacks in excitement, it makes up for in pure heart."
    - Ben Pollock
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Omni SL-P2000KD
    • TV:
          Palsonic 71cm
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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