DVD Review: The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

MGM
Movie •••• Picture •••• Sound •••½ Extras •••½
This new "Extra Frills Edition" corrects the technical issues of previous releases, finally delivering a definitive, anamorphic version of this often hilarious sleeper hit. The biggest improvement over the 2000 edition is the new transfer, made from pristine source materials. All scratches and other signs of age are completely gone. Detail is outstanding, and color rendition is remarkably vivid - which would probably be too vivid for the needs of a more traditional film. But Priscilla - the story of three transvestite performers traveling across the Australian desert in a ramshackle bus - is all about contrasting the vast open spaces of the Outback with some of the brashest costumes, makeup, and sight-gags ever committed to film. The transfer's oversaturated images serve this material perfectly. Sound is similarly bright and aggressive, whether for tart one-liners, lip-synced ABBA, or thick Aussie accents.

Substantial extras are packed onto this single-disc DVD. A 30-minute documentary details the hardship associated with making drag queens out of straight male actors (Terence Stamp, Hugo Weaving, and Guy Pearce). Six minutes of deleted scenes and 9 minutes of outtakes deliver a few extra laughs. Tidbits from the Set serves up 10- and 20-second interview snippets that, annoyingly, have to be accessed separately, but director Stephan Elliott compensates with a commentary full of tales from his epic struggle to get this audacious movie made. [R] English, Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1; French, Dolby Digital stereo; letterboxed (2.35:1) and anamorphic widescreen; dual layer.

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