XenForo Template Fletch: The “Jane Doe” Edition ________________________________________ FLETCH THE “JANE DOE” EDITION Studio: Universal Film Year: 1985 Film Length: 98 minutes Genre: Comedy Aspect Ratio: • Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1 Colour/B&W: Colour Audio: • English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround • French Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo • Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish Film Rating: PG Release Date: May 1, 2007. Rating: 3/5 With: Chevy Chase, Joe Don Baker, Dana Wheeler-Nicholson, Tim Matheson and an appearance by Geena Davis Written by: Andrew Bergman From the Novel by Gregory McDonald Directed by: Michael Ritchie FLETCH is the cinematic equivalent of catching a comedian’s act on a really good night. Chevy Chase has said that he feels it’s his best performance, and he may well be right. There’s nothing overly complicated about the movie – it’s a comedy about an investigative reporter who stumbles across a drug story that somehow connects all the characters we meet throughout the film. However, the drug story itself isn’t the core of the movie. The real fun of the movie comes from watching Chase disguise himself a hundred different ways while still remaining the same person. FLETCH is definitely showing its age, from the outmoded fashions and 80’s hair to the Harold Faltermeyer score (fresh from BEVERLY HILLS COP). But the movie is still entertaining and it’s worth a look if you’ve never seen it before. This is the 2nd DVD release for FLETCH. The first was a bare-bones anamorphic transfer, issued in 1998. For the new “Jane Doe” special edition, Universal has remastered the picture, remixed the sound to 5.1 and added a trio of featurettes along with the original trailer. VIDEO QUALITY: 3/5 FLETCH has been digitally remastered for this release, but it’s really hard to tell what work has been done. The print is a bit soft on the colors all the way around. Blacks are solid, but the depth of the other colors presented here is pretty shallow. (To be fair, the color scheme of the film is clearly designed to be sun-drenched with a lot of lighter colors.) There is also some grain evident in the daylight sequences, particularly those at the beach. Flesh tones are fairly accurate throughout – Chase has more of a tan than most of the other actors, but this is probably due to Fletch having spent a lot of time on the beach before the start of the film’s story. AUDIO QUALITY: 3/5 FLETCH is given a 5.1 surround mix for this release, but I really do not hear where this constructively adds to the experience of the film. The music pops up in the surround channels along with some atmospheric effects, but this isn’t a movie that really needs that. The majority of the attention to the sound here winds up in the front speakers, particularly the center, as the focus is usually on Chevy Chase’s ad-libs and one-liners. SPECIAL FEATURES: 2/5 The DVD has French and Spanish 2.0 tracks available although the Spanish track is mono. Subtitles are provided in English, French and Spanish. Two featurettes and a brief highlights compilation accompany the original trailer on this disc. All of the features are in English, but are subtitled in English, Spanish and French. • Just Charge it to the Underhills: Making and Remembering Fletch – (26:32) DVD producer Jason Hillhouse personally narrates this anamorphic look back at the film. He’s clearly a fan of the movie, having designed his documentary to resemble the style of the film, albeit with himself inserted into the lead role both on camera and in the narration, to the tune of Faltermeyer’s score. This is a sincerely affectionate effort, and there are some nice moments in the interviews with Andrew Bergman, as well as some of the cast and the production team. The problem here is that the key players are not interviewed. Gregory McDonald, the original author of the book, is mentioned but never interviewed. And more crucially, Chevy Chase is completely absent. Hillhouse brings up the latter gap himself on camera, joking “We forgot to interview Chevy Chase… I am so getting fired.” • From John Cocktoastin to Harry S. Truman: The Disguises – (4:53) This brief anamorphic featurette showcases interviews with makeup artist Ken Chase and hairstylist Bunny Parker. Chase and Parker discuss the various methods used to change Chase’s look, intercut with footage from the various scenes. The absence of Chase is keenly felt here – as the point of the disguises in the film is that they’re specifically meant to be unconvincing. The idea is that Chase’s character just gets away with all of this due to his personality and luck. • Favorite Fletch Moments – (2:37) This is a series of anamorphic highlights of Chevy Chase during the film. I didn’t see much point to this other than as an alternative to the trailer. • Theatrical Trailer (1:32) A non-anamorphic full-screen copy of the original trailer from 1985 is included here. If anything, this shows the extent of the restoration work done on the actual print – the trailer shows a lot of scratches and other distress throughout. A scene index is provided with 16 chapter stops. When you first put the disc in the player, several trailers for other Universal movies, DVD’s and TV shows will automatically play unless you hit the right button… IN THE END... FLETCH remains a fun movie to watch, even if it’s showing its age nowadays. If anything, it’s a reminder of what made Chevy Chase so popular in the 70’s and 80’s. And if you haven’t seen the film before, or if you missed the prior edition on DVD, it’s worth your time to check this one out. If you’re looking for a major improvement in terms of picture, sound or documentaries, you may want to rent this first before purchasing it. Kevin Koster April 21, 2007.