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Foul Play (1978) - Blu-ray Review

Foul Play (1978)

Are you ready to take a chance again?!

Written and directed by Colin Higgins (The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, 9 to 5) and featuring the debut of Chevy Chase in a feature film (when he left SNL in ‘76), Foul Play - while originally dismissed by a lot of print critics at the time of its release - has only grown in popularity and rightly so.  While a tad uneven, this comedy chiller features a great cast and a script that Hollywood would die for nowadays. 

"Funny, non-stop in its hijinks, and fast-paced from beginning to end, Foul Play absolutely shines again"


In fact, time has been nothing but good to the bizarre plot which features warnings about dwarves and albino killers as one shy (but cute as a button!!) librarian finds herself entangled with the murder of a Catholic archbishop and a plot to take down the Pope while he is visiting San Francisco. 

Foul Play is now considered somewhat of a comedic cult classic thanks to its off kilter blending of Hitchcockian themes with bouts of slapstick and sappy but sweeping Barry Manilow tunes.  

But, really, with a cast which includes Chase, Goldie Hawn, Dudley Moore, Brian Dennehey, Burgess Meredith, William Frankfather, Billy Barty, Marc Lawrence, Frances Bay, Irene Tedrow, Don Calfa, Cooper Huckabee, Eugene Roche, and a cigarette chomping boa constrictor, it’s hard to go wrong.  Foul Play is witty and unique for its time period and, as all of its mystery comes together quite hilariously, manages to be something unforgettable.Foul Play (1978)

And now it arrives on blu-ray thanks to Paramount Pictures.  Sure, this release is bare bones, but it is nice to see some attention paid to this charming comedy, which features a scene-stealing turn for Dudley Moore as he attempts to woo Goldie Hawn with his Beaver Trap apartment in San Francisco 

Starring a fabulous Hawn as Gloria Munday, the movie begins with an ill-advised pick up of a mysterious hitchhiker, whose dying words, “Beware the Dwarf” kicks off a confusing series of events for her.  Her life is just not this exciting, but now she’s being hunted down by strange-looking men, serenaded by an over eager Stanley Tibbets (Moore, in a simply unforgettable bedroom scene), and offered protection from a bubbling cop named Tony (Chase), who might be more interested in a one-night stand with her, than actually saving her life.  And it all has to do with what that hitchhiker put in his pack of cigarettes, which is now in Gloria’s safe keeping.  But what if the cigarette-chomping snake gets to it first?!  Or the men who are hunting Gloria down?!

Funny, non-stop in its hijinks, and fast-paced from beginning to end, Foul Play absolutely shines again.  This comedy is the perfect vehicle for a Friday night getaway.  Just beware the dwarf!

4/5 beers

 

Foul Play (1978)

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Available on Blu-ray
- February 8, 2022
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, French, Japanese
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Region-free playback

Beware of the Dwarf, whispers the hitchhiker to the beautiful librarian (Goldie Hawn) as he dies midway through a screening of This Gun Is Mine. Suddenly, Hawn is propelled into a world of wild chases, bizarre attempts on her life, and deadly encounters with an assortment of weird underworld characters. Academy Award winner Hawn teams with Chevy Chase (in his first starring motion picture assignment) - and with hilarious results. Chase plays the handsome San Francisco detective who becomes personally and professionally involved with all the off things happening to Hawn. Co-starring a pre-Arthur Dudley Moore in one of his most delightful comic turns.

Video:

See San Francisco as it was!  The release from Paramount supports a High-Definition 1080p encode and a 1.85:1 ratio.  With solid colors and an atmospheric charm, the cleaned-up image is detailed with nice burnt oranges and strong blacks hitting strong levels for something originally filmed in the late 70s.  The grain is natural and consistent.  Colors are strong and vibrant even.  The overall contrast is deep even if there are noticeable defects in the crush of shadows.

Audio:

The DTS Master Audio 2.0 is a decent monaural soundtrack for the series.  Dialogue is clean, clear, and balanced with the music from Manilow.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

  • None

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 4/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 0/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

3/5 stars


Film Details

Foul Play (1978)

MPAA Rating: PG.
Runtime:
116 mins
Director
: Colin Higgins
Writer:
Colin Higgins
Cast:
Goldie Hawn; Chevy Chase; Burgess Meredith
Genre
: Comedy
Tagline:
A new comedy-thriller from Paramount for Summer '78
Memorable Movie Quote: "Want a joint? You know what they say, cops have the best dope."
Theatrical Distributor:
Paramount
Official Site:
Release Date:
July 14, 1978
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
February 8, 2022.
Synopsis: Librarian Gloria Mundy (Goldie Hawn) leads a relatively uneventful life. When she looks to shake things up, she somehow winds up in the middle of an assassination plot against the pope. Calling the police, Mundy meets the hapless detective Tony Carlson (Chevy Chase), who takes the case. During the course of the investigation, the two fall in love, but the assassin (Marc Lawrence) is still after Mundy -- and anyone with her -- to keep her from foiling the plot.

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Foul Play (1978)

 

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