Into the Night (Universal) (1985)
|Category||Action Comedy||Featurette-B.B.King Documentary|
|Year Of Production||1985|
|Running Time||114:50 (Case: 110)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (65:47)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||John Landis|
Universal Pictures Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Unknown||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||Yes|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
To explain my reaction to this movie I need to quote from The Fimbles, a children's show. One of the characters, Fimbo, makes up a song and asks Rocket the frog what he thought of it. Rocket says 'I like the music'. Fimbo then asks 'But what did you think of the words?'. Rocket responds 'I like the music'.
This film's soundtrack features songs and incidental music by B.B. King, one of the greats of blues guitar and one of my favourite artists. It adds a great deal to the feel of the film and is undoubtedly the highlight. The sole extra is a very interesting featurette on B.B. King and the recording of the soundtrack. These items are the highlight of this disc.
The movie is a slightly oddball comedy thriller staring Jeff Goldblum & Michelle Pfeiffer (in one of her earliest starring roles) made in 1986 and directed by John Landis, the director of The Blues Brothers. Goldblum plays Ed Okin, an aerospace engineer who has stopped sleeping, is bored with his job and whose wife is cheating on him. His friend Herb (Dan Aykroyd) suggests that he should fly to Las Vegas at night to have some fun rather than just sitting around. Taking his advice he heads for the airport only to have a beautiful young woman, Diana (Michelle Pfeiffer), land on the bonnet of his car whilst being chased by Iranian secret police who have just killed the man she was with. Ed decides to help her and quickly becomes embroiled in an adventure that he was not expecting involving murderers, jewel thieves and international espionage.
The Iranian Secret Police are actually led by the film's director, John Landis, in a cameo appearance. Cameos are in fact this film's main claim to fame as it features cameos by no less that 14 movie directors including Jonathan Demme, Lawrence Kasdan, David Cronenberg, Amy Heckerling, Paul Mazurzsky & Roger Vadim. This will be of interest to film buffs, however, how many directors can you think of that you would recognise? Not many, I would guess except for a few like James Cameron or Steven Spielberg (who co-incidentally do not appear in this film). In addition to many directors' cameos, there are also cameos by musicians including David Bowie as a psychopath and Carl Perkins as a bodyguard. Someone else to watch out for in a small but pivotal role is Irene Papas, probably best known to western audiences as the resistance leader in The Guns of Navarone or from Zorba the Greek.
The movie is entertaining enough without ever rising to any great heights of comedy or action. The two main characters seem to be quite ambivalent towards each other for much of the movie and don't really draw you in to their plight. There is nothing particularly wrong with the film although an unnecessarily violent and messy bit towards the end of the film goes against the lighter tone of the rest.
Overall, if you asked Rocket the frog whether he liked this film, he would probably reply 'I liked the music'. If you are a B.B. King, Jeff Goldblum or Michelle Pfeiffer fan this is probably worth a rental.
The video quality is very good.
The feature is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.
The picture was clear and sharp throughout with only a small amount of softness and no evidence of low level noise. The shadow detail was surprisingly good for a film of this age.
The colour was excellent throughout with all colours being well saturated and free from colour bleeding. The colours were a little less vibrant than more modern films.
On the artefacts front, there were a couple of instances of minor aliasing, on a car grille at 5:28 and a fence at 7:10. Additionally there was some very minor edge enhancement visible from time to time. Neither of these were particularly bad. There were also some occasional white specks.
There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired which were clear, easy to read and fairly exact.
The layer change occurred at 65:47 and was very well done.
The audio quality is fine but mono, which was slightly disappointing.
This DVD contains one audio option, a Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s.
Dialogue was generally clear and easy to understand, however, the subtitles came in useful once or twice.
The score of this film by Ira Newborn is mostly performed by B.B. King on guitar and is very good. It adds atmosphere to a film which badly needs it. One scene at 70:20 included some pretty dated sax music and no B.B. King.
The surround speakers and subwoofer had the night off.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu included photos from the film and looked pretty good.
This is an excellent featurette which would be of great interest to B.B. King fans (such as myself) as it includes interviews and rare live footage of B.B. King. Some details are included of how his career began and there is also some great footage of impromptu playing while having a conversation with John Landis. Unfortunately, the featurette is bookended by footage of B.B. playing with a backup band including Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, Jeff Goldblum, Michelle Pfeiffer & Dan Aykroyd in which they ham it up. This extra is presented in 1.33:1.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This movie is available on a very similar disc in Region 1 and so I will give the nod to the Region 4 version of the basis of PAL/NTSC differences.
The video quality is very good.
The audio quality is fine but mono.
The disc has one top quality extra.
|DVD||Toshiba 1200, using Component output|
|Display||Sony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Bose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)|