Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid

Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982)
Universal Home Video
Cast: Steve Martin, Rachel Ward, Humphrey Bogart, Alan Ladd, Burt Lancaster, Ray Milland
Extras: Theatrical Trailer, Film Highlights, Talent Bios, Production Notes, Web Links

“Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid” features a great black & white transfer. There are no compression artifacts visible in the picture anywhere in the film and shadow details usually very good. Since the films makes use of a large number of very old film footage it is actually surprising how well some of them hold up against the newly shot scenes. Digital restoration has certainly helped immensely to blend these scenes seamlessly into the film and create a well-rounded feel.

Unfortunately many of the scenes that use footage from older films there is audible hiss evident. Although well limited and noise-gated, it is clearly evident and sometimes breaks the illusion. Nevertheless it is obvious that the film tries to implement these scenes as good as possible, which makes this drawback much more acceptable.

The film is very funny and atmospheric, lending footage from famous black & white classics to combine it with new footage and tell a new film-noirish detective story. It also turns the film into a nice trivia game, as to who spots the classic shots first and to name the films they are taken from.