Foul Play

Foul Play (1978)
Paramount Home Video
Cast: Goldie Hawn, Chevy Chase, Burgess Meredith, Dudley Moore, Brian Dennehy

Goldie Hawn plays Gloria Mundy in this comedy thriller, a beautiful librarian who gets mixed up in a scheme of murder and death. For reasons unknown to her she becomes the target of hitmen and after seeing to men keel over dead in front of her and their bodies disappearing she begins to suspect everyone around here. Detective Tony Carlsson (Chevy Chase) is the only one who believes her frantic stories about dwarves, cigarettes, dead cinema patrons, albinos and kidnapping. Will they be able to figure out?

’Foul Play’ is definitely more thriller than comedy but it has its funny moments. Goldie and Chevy make a great team, though Chevy is trying maybe a bit too hard to come across seriously in this, his motion picture debut. Still it’s a fast-paced story where anything goes and you’ll have a blast watching it.

Paramount Home Entertainment is presenting the movie in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio on this DVD. Sadly the transfer is rather poor and the image shows quite some problems. Aside form grain and speckles, the biggest problem is in the black levels. Shadows and dark areas of the image are losing detail entirely and constantly leave ghosting artifacts. Black levels also reach way too high into the mid tones, creating an image that is often too dark, too contrasting and too washed out. Add to that some scenes that are overly soft and out of focus and you have a transfer that is not really a pleasant sight.

The DVD comes with the movie’s original mono audio track as well as a 5.1 Dolby Digital remix. The remix is considerably good but surround usage is limited and never overly aggressive. The bass roll off has been extended a bit to make the sound come across as more natural and the track is also free of distortion.

No extras can be found on this release as it is another one of Paramount’s cheap $14.99 releases.

’Foul Play’ is a fun movie that has suspense and comedy melded very well. Too bad that Paramount didn’t give this film a better transfer, as it would have turned this DVD into a must-own comedy. As it is, it is a great flick but a mediocre release, really.