DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Foul Play

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Scott Kimball, Nov 13, 2004.

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  1. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    [​IMG]
    Foul Play



    Studio: Paramount

    Year: 1978

    Rated: PG

    Length: 116 Minutes

    Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

    Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Mono

    Subtitles: English

    Closed Captioned

    Special Features: None

    Suggested Retail Price: $14.99 USD


    Release Date: November 16, 2004



    Beware of the Dwarf

    Foul Play is a film that borrows heavily from Hitchcock, combining Hitchcockian suspense and mystery with decidedly unHitchcockian humor. It’s a balancing act that requires deft handling of the elements to make it work, but director Colin Higgins pulls it off, with the help of some interesting comedic performances from Chevy Chase, Goldie Hawn, Burgess Meredith, Dudley Moore and Billy Barty.

    Gloria Mundy (Hawn) gets caught in a bizarre plot to murder the Pope, who is visiting San Francisco. The conspirators think she knows something, and in their effort to keep their plotting secret, they try to kill her. Gloria escapes the attempts on her life, but the people around her keep ending up dead - only to have their bodies disappear before the police arrive.

    Chevy Chase is the somewhat clumsy San Francisco detective who becomes personally involved in Gloria’s case. It takes a while for him to believe her stories, but the physical attraction he has for her holds his attention until the evidence backs her up.

    Burgess Meredith is hilarious as Gloria’s landlord, and Dudley Moore is unforgettable as a sex-starved man who mistakes Gloria’s pleas for help as sexual advances.

    Billy Barty, of course, plays a dwarf... but is he the dwarf that Gloria was warned about at the start of the film, or just an innocent door-to-door salesman?

    Foul Play is notable for being Chevy Chase’s first feature film starring role.

    The Transfer
    Foul Play is presented in anamorphically enhanced widescreen, in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio.

    I am pleasantly surprised at the quality of this transfer. The print, for a film over 25 years old, is nearly pristine. Only occasional specks are visible in the film, and they are not at all distracting.

    The image has acceptable detail and sharpness, with no obvious signs of edge enhancement throughout most of the film. There are a couple of scenes with mild halos, but they are barely noticeable.

    The image is bright with excellent contrast and white levels. Black levels are very good with a couple of mild exceptions. Shadow detail is good.

    Colors are bright and true, and well saturated.

    I’ve seen recent films get worse treatment on DVD than this film from 1978.

    The audio tracks available are a Dolby Digital Mono track, and a Dolby Digital 5.1 remix, which plays by default. Both tracks offer up very good fidelity.

    The 5.1 mix is excellently done, opening up the musical score with wonderful frequency response and channel separation. Subtle spatial cues can be heard from the rear channels, but it is not over done. Most importantly, the dialog retains its tightness and isn’t oversweetened, which seems to happen occasionally on multi-channel remixes. The other benefit to the 5.1 track is that the lower frequencies have been opened up, offering up an improved bass response that remains tight and understated.

    The mono track is clean and free of hiss, and is a solid track for those who prefer to go with the original mix.

    Special Features
    There are no special features.

    Final Thoughts
    This is a wonderful film that I’ve counted among my favorites of the late 70’s, now available on DVD with an outstanding video transfer and 5.1 remix. Fans of this film have no reason to pass this one up. Just remember... beware of the dwarf.
     
  2. Jordan_E

    Jordan_E Cinematographer

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    Great movie and thanks for the review! Puts me in the mood to go out and pick up this gem. Worth the price alone for the Burgess Meredith fight. "She was one tough mama!"
     
  3. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Finally! [​IMG]
     
  4. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    Scott, it's soooo great to hear that.
    less than 4 days before street date and not one review of this had me very worried.
    lots of fun stuff coming out next week, but this is the one i'm most looking forward to.
     
  5. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    Great movie. And one I've not seen in many years. Can't wait to own this dvd. [​IMG]
     
  6. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    Like an old asian couple in the back of a speeding taxi I will be laughing all the way when this comes out......."Far Out!"

    Chevy Chase: "I play Detective. You play Lady In Distress."
    Goldie Hawn: "Hey, wait a minute. It's my ass they're after.
    Chevy Chase: "I'm sorry. You're right. That was a stupid, glib, chauvinist remark and I apologize. It is your ass they're after, and it's my job to see to it that...I get there first."
     
  7. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    It's amazing that it took 7 years for this film
    to see the light of DVD.

    So happy it's finally out. Thanks Paramount.
     
  8. EricSchulz

    EricSchulz Producer

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    This was a staple on HBO or Cinemax in the late 80's or early 90's...and I watched it almost every time it aired. Looks like another purchase for this week.
     
  9. Scott Hamilton

    Scott Hamilton Stunt Coordinator

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    I love this movie and will buy it.

    Just wish they had they Trailer as an extra [​IMG]
     
  10. Bradley-E

    Bradley-E Screenwriter

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    I found it over the weekend. The transfer is extremely good. I'm still trying to find time to watch it all the way through.
     
  11. Matt Butler

    Matt Butler Screenwriter

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    Ill be picking this up as well.

    Ive never thought of Scrabble the same way ever since seeing this the first time years ago. [​IMG]
     
  12. GeorgePaul

    GeorgePaul Second Unit

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    They couldn't find ANY extras for this entertaining film??? No trailer or production notes...Hawn or Chase weren't available for a commentary, even? I'll have to rent until the next version comes out--too bad, too, because I'd like to own the classic Rachel Roberts line:

    Chase: "What about Whitey Jackson?"
    Roberts: "Is he that football player who wears the pantyhose on television?"
     
  13. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    While extras are nice, so is a street price of around $10. Hard to expect extras at that price. While a trailer would be nice, this release is typical of Paramount's catalog titles.

    At least they aren't charging $17.99 for bare-bones...

    -Scott
     
  14. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    what about $7.50 from DDD with their 20 % off sale?
     
  15. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    Indeed. Took a while, but it's great to get this one on DVD.
     
  16. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    "This Gun Is Mine"?

    guess the proofreader is not a filmbuff.


    ______________
    D'oh... for years i thought the Alan Ladd film she sees is This Gun For Hire.
    is there actually a movie called This Gun Is Mine?
    i can't find any reference to it in Maltins Video Guide.
     
  17. Michael Bailey

    Michael Bailey Stunt Coordinator

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    Anyone get this at BB? Cant seem to find it there.
     
  18. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    none at BB, none at CC.
    Media Play and Borders were the only two retailers with any copies in my area
     
  19. BrandonJF

    BrandonJF Second Unit

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    I looked almost everywhere and only found one at an FYE... for $1 OVER MSRP. I thought I must've been confused about the list price until I got back to a PC and confirmed it. I'll end up taking it back after I find it somewhere else...

    How much is it going for at Borders? Maybe I'll check there...

    This was the one I was most excited about today. I can't believe how much hunting I had to do to get an overpriced copy of it.
     
  20. Michael Bailey

    Michael Bailey Stunt Coordinator

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    Finally found two copies at Sam Goody. BB and CC also did not have it. Had to pay full retail.
     

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