Blu-ray: Roadgames (1981)
Pat Quid (Stacey Keach) is a lone trucker who plays ‘road games’ with himself and his pet dingo to pass the time on the long hauls across the Australian landscape. As he tries to guess the jobs and names of passing motorists, his radio keeps updating a news story about female hitchhikers that keep disappearing in the area. Upon picking up (against company policy) free-spirited hitchhiker ‘Hitch’ (Jamie Lee Curtis), their paths become intertwined with the mysterious stranger who is abducting the women, and so begins a chase to try and solve what is really happening.
Beautifully shot (and fantastically presented in this 4K scan of the internegative) by director Richard Franklin and cinematographer Vincent Monton, the stark and desolate Australian outback vistas are a perfect accompaniment to the rising tension that slowly unfurls as Quid gets himself deeper and deeper into a situation that he can no longer turn back from.
It’s another great performance from the always reliable Stacey Keach, who gives Quid a playful charm that you can’t help but be enamoured by. His relationship with Hitch is believable, despite the age gap (which Quid alludes to in the movie), because let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to bed Jamie Lee Curtis!?
While not containing any particular big action sequences (though a speedboat does get trashed in a rather spectacular way), Roadgames is all about the unbridled tension constantly boiling away as hot as the Australian air surrounding everyone.
Although the identity of the kidnapper is revealed early, this in no way detracts from the tension felt for the characters while watching the narrative progress.
A wealth of fascinating special features complete yet another “must buy” Indicator release.
INDICATOR LIMITED EDITION BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES
- Brand new restoration by Powerhouse Films, from a new 4K scan of the internegative
- Original mono audio
- Audio commentary with director Richard Franklin and film historian Perry Martin (2003)
- Audio commentary with cinematographer Vincent Monton, costume designer Aphrodite Kondos, production secretary Helen Watts, and filmmaker Mark Hartley (2019)
- Audio commentary with writers and programmers Anna Bogutskaya and Olivia Howe (2020)
- Kangaroo Hitchcock (2003, 20 mins): archival documentary on the making of Roadgames
- Australian Long Haul (2019, 14 mins): actor Stacy Keach reflects on the role of Pat Quid and working in Australia
- Archival Interview with Richard Franklin (1981, 26 mins): the director discusses his early films and Roadgames
- Audio interviews with Richard Franklin (2001, 23 mins), Stacy Keach (2016, 10 mins), and stunt co-ordinator Grant Page (2016, 33 mins)
- ‘Not Quite Hollywood’ Interview Excerpts (2008, 64 mins): over an hour of outtakes from Hartley’s acclaimed documentary on Australian cinema, featuring Franklin, Page, actors Keach and Jamie Lee Curtis, screenwriter Everett De Roche, and assistant director Tom Burstall
- ‘Roadgames’: A Lecture (1980, 131 mins): archival recording of Franklin, co-producer Barbi Taylor and composer Brian May
- Trouble Bound (2020, 13 mins): appreciation by film historian Neil Sinyard
- Script Read (1980, 117 mins): audio recording of a pre-production read-through, featuring Franklin, Keach and Marion Edward
- Music Demos (1980, 5 mins): excerpts from the Brian May score in demo form
- …And His Ghost May Be Heard (1973, 15 mins): rare short film directed by Franklin
- Original theatrical trailer
- Image gallery: promotional and publicity materials
- New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
- Limited edition exclusive 80-page book with a new essay by Lee Gambin, archival interviews with Franklin, Keach and Curtis, Franklin’s 1980 Alfred Hitchcock obituary, an overview of contemporary critical responses, Mark Hartley on …And His Ghost May Be Heard, and film credits
- Limited edition exclusive double-sided poster
- UK premiere on Blu-ray
- Limited edition of 5,000 copies
Review by Dave from a disc kindly supplied by Powerhouse Films.