A sex-hungry Australian (pardon the tautology) gets into all kinds of trouble on a visit to the Mother Country in a movie which is funny, crude and tasteless – just like Australians.
But if you’re a fan of Antipodean bad taste (or you ever lived in Earls Court) you’ll love The Adventures Of Barry McKenzie and the superior 1974 sequel, Barry McKenzie Holds His Own (1975).
This film – produced by Phillip Adams and adapted for the screen by Barry Humphries from his popular comic strip character, Bazza, which appeared in Private Eye – was the first truly Australian feature for decades.
Barrington Bradman Bing “Bazza” McKenzie (Barry Crocker) inherits $2,000 on the condition that he leaves Australia for the United Kingdom immediately – accompanied by his auntie Edna Everage (Barry Humphries) – “to further the cultural and intellectual traditions of the McKenzie dynasty.” And so begin the adventures of a colonial boy in England.
Bazza is an innocent abroad, fond of beer, Bondi and beautiful ‘sheilas’, but he soon settles into the Australian ghetto in Earl’s Court, where his old mate Curly (Paul Bertram) has a flat.
He gets drunk (often), ripped off (more often), insulted by effete Englishmen (constantly) and exploited by record producers, religious charlatans and a pretentious BBC television producer (Peter Cook).
He leaves England in disgust, after exposing himself on national television.
The critics hated it but the audience turned up in droves to belly laugh their way through it. They loved its mixture of slapstick larrikinism, beer-swilling and the infamous technicolour yawn.
The Adventures Of Barry McKenzie became the first Australian movie to make a million dollars. It went on to make many millions, and it also made the careers of many.
Edna Everage/Hoot/Dr Meyer de Lamphrey
Mary Anne Severne