[box cover]

Starstruck (1982)

A charming 1980s teen-pop movie from Australian director Gillian Armstrong, Starstruck (1982) stars Jo Kennedy as Jackie Mullins, a fashionable young New Wave goofball who wants to start her own band, become a pop star and, therefore, find perfect happiness. With her 14-year-old cousin Angus (Ross O'Donovan) acting as her manager and songwriter, Jackie hooks up with a cute guitar player, works up new numbers with Angus (like singing a surf song while balanced atop an ironing board), works at her day job as a waitress in the family's hotel/pub, and engages in a tightrope-walking publicity stunt between two buildings, which goes a bit awry. The stunt gets the attention of a handsome TV personality (John O' May), but a television appearance doesn't go at all the way she'd hoped — they want her, all right, but in different clothes, with different hair, singing a song of their choosing, and without her bandmates. What's a girl hungry for fame to do — especially when the $25,000 prize offered in an upcoming music contest could help keep her family's business open? Coming three years after Armstrong's My Brilliant Career (1979), Starstruck is about as different from its predecessor as cinematically possible, the sort of movie that would have starred Cyndi Lauper had it been made in America, with preposterous dance numbers and catchy pop tunes by Tim Finn and Phil Judd of the band Split Enz. However, the cast of quirky characters is distinctly Aussie (a rooftop pool party turns into a bizarre gay song-and-dance number complete with Esther Williams-style synchronized swimming), and the film won three Australian Academy Awards. Silly and utterly winning, this pop romp captures the big hair, silly clothes and over-the-top music of the era with giddy glee. Blue Underground's two-disc special edition of Starstruck is a lavish affair, offering a nice anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) with excellent, deep rich color and good contrast. The sound fares less well, with the DD 5.1 audio suffering due to a less-than-ideal original recording — overdubs sound flat, and both music and dialogue compete at the same volume. Disc One features a commentary track by producer Richard Brennan, a rather dry affair with a lot of technical information — including a disturbing story about a stuntwoman who fell during the shooting of the rope-walking sequence and crushed several of her vertebrae (Brennan: "I can never watch this scene with any enjoyment, even though it's well put together"), plus U.S. and Australian theatrical trailers, a stills gallery, and a menu allowing the viewer to access just the musical numbers. Disc Two offers two featurettes, "Puttin' On a Show" (43 min.), a "making-of" reminiscence featuring interviews with Armstrong, producer David Elfick, and cinematographer Russell Boyd that addresses the look, music, casting, and shooting of the film (Armstrong recalls that the picture came out months before MTV hit the airwaves and regrets turning down both INXS and Men at Work for parts in the film), and "Screenwriter Reflects" (19 min.) with writer Stephen MacLean, plus five alternate or deleted scenes. Dual-DVD slimline keep-case with paperboard sleeve.
—Dawn Taylor

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