New DVD cover slick

Released on Region 4 DVD July 10, 2006! Thanks Umbrella DVD and Andrew Mercado!

This two-disc collectors edition includes:

* Brand new 16:9 transfer of "Number 96: The Movie" (1974), uncut and uncensored

* Newly recorded audio commentary with Elaine Lee, creator/screenwriter David Sale, and TV historian Andrew Mercado

* Original draft screenplay on DVD-ROM

* "And They Said It Wouldn't Last" TV documentary special, celebrating 1000 episodes in 1976

* Abigail's 1994 introduction to the special's repeat TV screening

* All new special, "The Final Years", covering the last 218 episodes (and featuring new interviews with Elaine Lee, Sheila Kennelly, Wendy Blacklock, Deborah Gray and David Sale)

* Rare footage of the "Spirit of 96" train journey, as the TV cast attend the Logies.

Number 96: The Movie


The movie was shot on a confidential "G-string budget" (of $100 000, reportedly) in eleven days, as if it were an extended episode of the series, on the same sets. Unfortunately, nobody seemed to consider the differing dimensions of a TV screen and a cinema screen. In many scenes, the top third of the sets are devoid of detail. Very high ceilings for a block of flats!

At the last minute, the new tenants for vacant Flats 5 and 6 switched places, to utilise the open balcony of Flat 5 in the climax of Sonia's storyline. Unfortunately, when Dorrie, Herb and Flo investigate noises directly above Flat 3, they run up to Flat 6, above Flat 4, to find Diana and Jack moving furniture. The original script held at Screensound shows director's handwritten changes to transpose the flat numbers.

Aldo's interest in running a wedding reception hall was inspired by Johnny Lockwood's own sideline business. The actor still ran Belhaven, a wedding reception venue at Wentworthville in Sydney's west, well into the 1990s. Although the shopfront of the deli clearly refers to "A. Godolfus" as proprietor, all Number 96 scripts featuring Aldo spell his name "Godolphus". The Greek name was also never changed from the early days, when Lockwood preferred to play Aldo as a Hungarian Jew, rather than as a Greek.

The scenes of Dorrie and Flo's bowling tournament were filmed on location at the Rose Bay Bowling Club. A reference to the dias being "left over from the Bicentenary" refers to the 1970 anniversary of Captain Cook's landing.

The bowling green scenes were one of the last scenes shot and Bunney Brooke and Pat McDonald reported to the set with their bags packed ready for an overseas holiday. Bunney Brooke recalls that they were still filming an hour before their flight left.

Just when the Don/Simon kiss scene was snipped out is still up for debate (some insist it was definitely intact on Sydney premiere night), but Thelma Scott (Claire) recalls waiting for the controversial scene (at an interstate cinema?) and when the magic moment didn't happen, she exclaimed too loudly "They've cut the scene!" and inadvertently brought the house down.

Viewed today, the movie most definitely fails in the area of political correctness. In an early scene Nick Brent jokes that his political career may soon be over, following a disastrous speech he made on Aboriginal Rights. Claire Houghton replies that "everyone feels as deeply as you do about the Aboriginals... just as long as they don't move into Point Piper."

Also, Sonia makes numerous self-deprecating remarks about her abilities as a housewife. She's a failure for forgetting to put salt and pepper on the table, but happily offers re-warmed coffee from breakfast to friends who drop in on her during the day.

Still on political incorrectness, Arnold is in blackface at Dorrie's fancy dress party, a waiter calls him a "nigger" and refuses to take orders from him due to the colour of his skin.

Poor Lynn Rainbow apparently filmed all of Sonia's scenes in just one day. Sonia goes from happy newlyed to suicidal basket case in that time.

Vera's and the Sutcliffes' end credits are wrongly transposed! Elaine Lee (Vera) stole all of the publicity at the Brisbane premiere. She left the bath running in her hotel room and the actors returned after the gala event to find the corridors ankle deep in water.


This page revised June 2006
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