Friday, June 8, 2018

Trading Places: 35th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Disc Review

After 48 Hours, Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd teamed up for the comedy hit Trading Places. Directed by John Landis, the film also stars Jamie Lee Curtis in her first post scream queen comedy role as the Hooker with the “Heart of Gold” who takes Ackroyd’s character in after his scheming blue blooded bosses make a bet with one brother played by Ralph Bellamy and another brother played by Don Ameche, in what John Landis described as his first villain role, despite the the film being essentially an R-rated rags to riches comedy. As noted above, Ralph Bellamy’s character makes a wager with his brother, played by Don Ameche. The bet is over whether or not success is hereditary, but rather the result of select behavioral circumstances. This bet has sinister implications that go beyond the film’s premise since it is basically Social Darwinism versus Eugenics with the two brothers cruelly attempting to manipulate both men so that Aykroyd’s character is basically brought so low that he is willing to commit a crime while Murphy’s character goes from being a street hustling conman into a responsible executive in a Philadelphia based investment house. I use the word eugenics because basically Don Ameche believes black men are inherently corrupt. His line, “He’s probably been stealing since he can crawl.” is so abhorrent that it is only the film’s comedic tone and the talent of the cast and the Director that makes one able to suspend his or her disbelief enough to just roll with it. In some ways a comedy like Trading Places could not be made today given all bank and investment scandals that have occurred would make it harder to root for Ackroyd’s privileged character, no one would buy the quick transition Murphy makes from conman to investment executive and I am sorry to say the Hooker with a heart of gold cliche would not work so easily either. About the only thing I can believe in are two ruthless, racist wealthy old men taking pleasure in ruining other people’s lives and attempting to get insider information to stay on top. That sounds all too believable to me. Still for what it is, Trading Places is still one of Eddie Murphy’s better early comedies and the film was a hit at the box office when it was released back in 1983. Trading Places also features Denholm Elliott, James Belushi, Al Franken, Paul Gleason and Giancarlo Esposito.

Trading Places looks simply great in it’s 16 by 9 1080p full HD resolution and features a well mixed English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Soundtrack. French and Spanish Language Mono Soundtracks are also included along with English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired as well as English, French and Spanish Language Subtitles encoded as options. The extra value features appear to have been ported over from a previous release, but for those who have not seen them before they are a treat. The Making Of Trading Places (18:05) contains retrospective interview clips from the film’s 25th Anniversary and the time of production. Trading Stories (8:01) focuses on the release of the film and then there is a deleted scene (3:10) as well as a truncated form of the deleted scene with commentary by Executive Producer George Folsey 1:48), which explains why the scene was cut from the theatrical version, but subsequently reinstated for the commercial broadcast television debut. A featurette on the costume design (6:33) a look at real life investors who work the floor of the Stock Exchange (5:27) and a vintage Show West reel with an introduction by John Landis features Murphy and Ackroyd riffing off each other from the set, since there was no completed footage to show at the time. It is a treat to see these comedians work off the cuff and prove how funny they really are (4:20).

Included within the BD case is an insert with a limited time only code for a free high definition iTunes or Ultraviolet Digital Copy. The seamless interactive menus are well rendered and easy to navigate. Trading Places: 35th Anniversary Edition will debut on Blu-ray Disc along with Coming To America (review coming presently), which will be sold separately at retailers on and offline on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 courtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment.

(C) Copyright 2018 By Mark A. Rivera
All Rights Reserved.