A surprise hit in America, this 1994 Australian comedy is anchored by Terence Stamp as a transsexual who, in the company of two drag queens, travels to a remote desert location to put on a lip-synch performance–to the amazement of the locals. Getting there on a pink bus named Priscilla, the trio stop and play for people all over the Outback, getting the same homophobic, bewildered responses. The weak link in the film is dialogue that seems to have been pulled from “Queer Movie Banter for Dummies,” all bitchy and cliché-ridden but fortunately salvaged by strong acting. The most fun comes whenever the three are performing; fans of Abba will be particularly pleased.

Studio: MGM
Year: 1994
Release Date: June 7, 2011
Run time: 121 minutes
Rating: PG

Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Disc Spec: 1 BD
Region: 1

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is both shocking and extremely entertaining; it grabs your attention and doesn’t let go until the very final moment of the picture! The acting is extremely convincing; I really like that. The musical score is excellent, too.

When the action starts, we meet three people who perform a cabaret act in outrageous extremes of drag; they are “Tick” or Anthony who also goes by Mitzi (Hugo Weaving), Adam or Felicia (Guy Pearce) and Bernadette (Terence Stamp), a man who had surgery to become a woman. Mitzi, Felicia and Bernadette get dressed up in their costumes (most of which are not terribly pretty although the film did win an Oscar for Best Costume Design) and lip-synch their way through musical numbers to an enthusiastic crowd in a bar in Sydney, Australia. However, life takes its twists and turns and for their own individual, personal reasons Mitzi, Felicia and Bernadette decide to take a road trip to perform in Alice Springs, way out in the middle of Australia. It isn’t long after that Felicia gets an old, run down bus for them to use as transportation.

Along the way the trio has quite a few experiences although not all of them are bad. They are greeted warmly by a group of Aboriginals who even join them dancing and playing music into the night; and Mitzi, Bernadette and Felicia have a lot of fun teasing each other while they’re riding on the bus through the outback. On the other hand, they enter a town in which there is a great deal of prejudice; after a night of harsh words, verbal threats and a drinking contest between Bernadette and a local lady named Shirley (June Marie Bennett), the three of them awake to find some mighty nasty graffiti written on the side of their bus. They wisely decide to promptly head out of town and they continue on their way to the hotel in the outback where they have their upcoming gig–and all is well until their bus breaks down. After a day or two of being stranded in the outback desert, they finally meet Bob (Bill Hunter), a thoroughly good sport who lives in the outback with his mail-order bride Cynthia (Julia Cortez).
Movie Quality: 9/10

Print/Audio Quality

The print is presented in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 with a 2:35:1 aspect ratio. This is a very colorful film which takes advantage being in high definition on Blu-ray. It really makes the colors explode on the screen. Black levels are inky offering excellent depth. Skin tones look excellent and natural with proper definition. Out of this recent wave of MGM releases, this has to be one of the better catalog releases. The biggest issue is there is one has to do with the occasional specs and dirt throughout the presentation.
Print Quality: 9/10

The audio is presented in a DTS-HD Master Audio lossless 5.1 mix. Dialogue comes through the center channel very clear and crisp. This is more of a front heavy experience with some dynamic elements panning throughout the soundfield. There is some audio coming from the surrounds, but nothing that will catch the world on fire.
Print Quality: 8/10

Special Features

  • Audio Commentary with Director Stephan Elliott
  • Birth of a Queen
  • Tidbits from the Set
  • The Bus from Blooperville
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailer

Special Features: 7/10

Final Thoughts

If you want an excellent movie and you’re not averse to this subject matter, this will provide you with excellent entertainment and if you are a fan its a must for your Blu-ray collection.
Overall Rating: 8/10