Stripes: Extended Cut (1981)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Dolby Digital Trailer
Audio Commentary-Ivan Reitman (Director) And Dan Goldberg (Writer/Producer)
Featurette-Star And Stripes Parts 1 And II
Trailer-Groundhog Day, Ghostbusters, Hitch, xXx: The Next Level
Trailer-The Mask Of Zorro
|Year Of Production||1981|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (88:07)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4,5||Directed By||Ivan Reitman|
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English Audio Commentary
Italian Audio Commentary
Spanish Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Stripes is the sort of movie that would easily fall in the top 10 of so-called 'bloke flicks'. What's a bloke flick? Well, if the girls can have chick flicks such as Steel Magnolias and the like, then us blokes can certainly have our own sub-genre of film dedicated just to us. You know the sort - Animal House, Porky's, Revenge of the Nerds and of course Stripes. It's the sort of film you sit down to watch with a few mates, a slab of beer and a couple of pizzas. It's the sort of film my wife likes to refer to as a T&A movie. That is, tits and...you get the idea. Though to be fair, Stripes could actually be considered highbrow when lined up against those three other classics and it actually features a solid story, a few loveable characters and not nearly as much T&A.
Stripes stars the irrepressible Bill Murray as John Winger. He's a down-on-his-luck cab driver who, after a really bad day, decides on the spur of the moment to quit his dead-end job and join the army. He manages to rope his best pal Russell (Harold Ramis) into the deal and together they enlist. The first two acts of the film play out as both men embark on basic training with a host of other no hopers played by such names as John Candy, John Diehl and Judge Reinhold. In true training camp movie tradition, the boys are put through their paces by a tough-as-nails drill sergeant named Hulka (Warren Oates) and overseen by a bumbling misfit of a base captain in Stillman (John Larroquette). Adding spice to several of the boys scenes are the lovely MPs played by P.J. Soles and Sean Young. There are some truly classic, laugh out loud scenes during the training section of Stripes, culminating in the graduation day parade ground where the company, led by Winger, perform the classic drill routine.
Needless to say the lads make it through basic training by the barest of margins and from here the third act plays out as they encounter some real action as part of a special assignment in Europe.
Directed by Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters, Kindergarten Cop and Dave), and written by Len Blum, Dan Goldberg and Harold Ramis, this is American 80s comedy at its best. Bill Murray is as crazy as only he can be and with solid support from all the cast, this is still a movie that makes me laugh 24 years after it was first released.
This DVD features an extended edition of Stripes and sees an additional 18 minutes of scenes included. If you are as intimately familiar with this film as I am, the new scenes will jump right out at you and seem a little jarring at first. It is also easy to see why they were trimmed in the first place. The scenes range from an extended version in Winger's apartment where John and Russell are arguing about joining the army, an off-beat side trip during training, where John and Russell stowaway with some paratroopers and end up in the South American jungle and a longer look at some of the antics the boys got up to with the girls while at the hotel in Germany.
This transfer is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.
I certainly was not expecting much from a relatively low budget 1981 vintage film, but the quality here is really quite surprising. This is a pretty decent transfer in terms of sharpness with only a couple scenes taking on a softer focus and adding a little too much grain over the whole picture. Some of the newly added scenes are not quite in as good shape as the original scenes, but overall this is a pretty good effort. There isn't a trace of edge enhancement and no low level noise.
Colours are fine with skin tones spot on. Black levels are a little lacking at times in some of the darker shots.
There are no apparent compression problems and there are very few major film-to-video artefacts. The usual brief smattering of film artefacts in the form of white and black spots and flecks appear throughout. These are not overly disruptive and are much smaller and less frequent than I was expecting.
There are several subtitle options present. I verified the presence of them all and extensively sampled the English flavour. No apparent problems were noticed and the subtitles were extremely accurate.
This is a dual layered disc with the layer change occurring at 88:07.
There is a grand total of four audio soundtracks on this disc. First up is a Dolby Digital 5.1 track in English, encoded at the higher bitrate of 448 Kb/s. This track is joined by Dolby Digital tracks in Italian and Spanish encoded at the lower bitrate of 384 Kb/s. Rounding out the selection is an English Dolby Digital 2.0 commentary track.
Obviously the dialogue is anchored firmly in the centre channel, but when action moves to the training field or more obviously whenever the score plays soundstage opens up dramatically and is quite engaging, circling the room and enveloping the listener.
The dialogue is easily understood, clear and in sync at all times.
The score is credited to Elmer Bernstein and will bring back a flood of memories. The rousing military style theme captures the slapstick essence of the film.
As mentioned before, there is significant surround channel activity present in the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, especially from the score.
The subwoofer is nicely integrated and is put to good use during a couple of the explosions during the training scenes and the climax at the Russian base.
|Surround Channel Use|
The first of the two major extras is an excellent commentary by Director Ivan Reitman and Writer/Producer Dan Goldberg, who are brimming with fondness for this, it being one of their earliest films. Heaps of nostalgia and lots of anecdotes throughout. Fans of the film who will certainly learn something here.
This is a recently made retrospective look at the film and it is divided into two parts. Stars and Stripes Part One runs for 28:14 and contains lots of present day interviews with many of the people involved including, director Ivan Reitman, producer Dan Goldberg, and actors Bill Murray, John Diehl, Judge Reinhold, Sean Young, P.J. Soles and John Larroquette. Sadly both John Candy and Warren Oates who played Sergeant Hulka are no longer alive.
Star and Stripes Part Two, which runs for 27:29, continues in much the same vein as the first part, focusing on the antics of the loveable John Candy and also the cooperation the producers had from the US Department of Defence who allowed the crew to film at Fort Knox in Kentucky.
Bonus trailers for Groundhog Day, Ghostbusters, Hitch, xXx: The Next Level and The Mask Of Zorro.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Unfortunately for Region 4 fans, the Region 1 version contains the added bonus of being able to play either the new extended cut or the old theatrical version (via seamless branching) that we all grew up with on VHS. The extras are virtually the same (slightly different trailers), but the ability to play the original version sees a clear win to the Region 1 disc.
Stripes is one of the most-loved American comedy film from the early 1980s . It is Bill Murray at his comic best. A comedy for the ages, especially blokes. It really is right up there in the canon of all-time favourite bloke films.
The video transfer is excellent, considering the age and budget of the film. It took me by surprise.
The remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 audio is also rather excellent, with plenty of surround channel use on occasion.
The extras are limited, but the quality makes up for the lack of quantity.
|DVD||Denon DVD-3910, using RGB output|
|Display||Loewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).|
|Speakers||Front - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10|