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  Alvin Rides Again Back With A Bang
Year: 1974
Director: David Bilcock, Robin Copping
Stars: Graeme Blundell, Alan Finney, Chantal Contouri, Frank Thring, Gus Mercurio, Noel Ferrier, Abigail, Jon Finlayson, Kris McQuade, Jeff Ashby, Frank Wilson, Ross Bova, Briony Behets, Arna-Maria Winchester, Penne Hackforth-Jones, Candy Raymond
Genre: Comedy, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Alvin Purple (Graeme Blundell) is seeking a job, so visits the employment office to find out if there are any positions available, but the clerk behind the desk tells him she cannot see anything for a man with no qualifications. Hold on, though, what about a window cleaner? Alvin takes it there and then, but on climbing the ladder with his cloth and spray the next day, he finds his old problem coming back to haunt him: he is inexplicably irresistable to women. Therefore when he appears at the glass of a bedroom, the housewife inside disrobes and advances towards him, causing the poor chap to fall off the ladder...

The original Alvin Purple, though not much liked by the critics, was one of the first international successes for Australian cinema thanks to his mixture of nudity, sex jokes and bracing attitude, paving the way for a whole heap of so-called Ozploitation flicks. So obviously a sequel was the way to go for the producers, though initially a follow-up to the earlier Stork was proposed, which was in many ways the protoype of the Alvin movies, but rejected when this was thought to be the more profitable option. There was a problem with that, as star Blundell wished to branch out from his breakthrough role, and didn't want to do the same old thing.

Thus for the first half hour he conceded to the demands of what was expected from him, and that opening act played like a condensed version of what had gone before, taking a leaf out of Robin Askwith's Confessions movies by having Alvin seeking gainful employment which lands him in various sexual situations, including one in a roadside cafe with one of Australia's top sex symbols of the day Abigail, though she entices him with a cup of tea rather than a fizzy orange drink. Then Alvin and best mate Spike (Alan Finney) somehow manage to hitch a lift with a women's cricket team, which they end up joining to prevent them losing their match against a male team.

Which is not only ludicrously sexist in a manner only this decade could be, but does indicate how desperate they were getting for ideas even at this stage in the second movie, falling back on putting Alvin (and Spike) in women's clothing as if that was an automatic laughter guarantee, which it wasn't. Therefore what happens next should really have been a point where the movie began looking up, as it was something new for the story, even if diehard fans would be wondering why they couldn't get more of the same. The Godfather movies had been big business at the time, so Blundell wanted to do his Marlon Brando impersonation which wasn't good exactly, but damn it he was doing it anyway.

This comes about when Alvin and Spike take the cash they won on the cricket match and gamble it in a casino, thereby making the acquaintance of visiting American gangster Balls McGee, whose name alone should be an indication of the level of sophistication. Blundell played him in cartoonish movie mobster fashion, and once Alvin accidentally causes him to be shot, he has to take his place since they bear a resemblance to one another. Complicating matters was another, local criminal boss Fingers (Aussie national treasure and heavyweight thesp Frank Thring) who wants McGee to carry out a heist at the casino, prompting the plot to descend into unfunny runarounds which proved surprisingly violent, most of the bloodshed carried out by co-star Chantal Contouri (best known for vampire flick Thirst) who essayed the role of McGee's moll, Boobs La Touche, if anything an even worse name. This illustrated nobody here knew quite how to capitalise on their former success, leaving a footnote, though there was TV series and another sequel in the eighties without Blundell. Music by Brian Cadd.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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