Trading Places: Money Edition (1983)

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Released 3-May-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Featurette-Making Of-Insider Trading: The Making Of Trading Places
Featurette-Trading Stories
Featurette-Dressing the Part
Featurette-The Trade in Trading Places
Featurette-The Deleted Scene
Featurette-Vintage Film Industry Promo
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1983
Running Time 111:35
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (63:29) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By John Landis

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Denholm Elliott
Dan Aykroyd
Eddie Murphy
Don Ameche
Ralph Bellamy
Jamie Lee Curtis
James Belushi
Al Franken
Giancarlo Esposito
Nicholas Guest
Charles Brown
Bo Diddley
Bill Cobbs
Case Amaray-Opaque-Dual
RPI ? Music Elmer Bernstein

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) is a down-on-his-luck beggar, come conman, making a living posing as a blind and legless war veteran. His luck changes when he bumps into Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd), a well-bred society prig who is on his way to deliver a case full of paychecks for the stockbroking firm he works for. Winthorpe accuses Billy Ray of trying to rob him when they collide and is packed off to the nearest police station. This encounter sparks a wager between the owners of the stockbroking firm that employ Winthorpe, the Duke brothers (Dom Ameche and Ralph Bellamy). The wager being that a man is the product of his environment, rather than his environment the product of the man - that Billy Ray could readily slip into a life of a stockbroker if given the necessary leg up and financing and Winthorpe would quickly turn to a life of crime if he was rejected by the society that made him into the man he is.

    With the help of their crooked assistant Clarence Beeks (Paul Gleason) and Winthorpe's butler (Denholm Elliot), the Dukes engineer a life switch between  Winthorpe and Billy Ray. Once the initial gambit succeeds, Billy Ray and Winthorpe discover the plot and set about getting their revenge on the crooked old men with the aid of a hooker with a heart of gold (in the form of a rather stunning Jamie Lee Curtis).

    Borrowing from a range of inspirations, from depression-era society to the evolving racial attitudes of the 1980s, Trading Places weaves a timeless comedy. Director John Landis and the writing duo of Timothy Harris and Herschel Weingrod deserve plenty of credit for putting it all together, particularly in their ability to tap the comedic genius of Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd without going too over the top. The jokes hit the funny bone as hard as they ever did. The story and characters are a bit far-fetched, but still plausible enough to sell the story and the humour. Very few comedies from its era have aged nearly as well.

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Transfer Quality


    The transfer is of an excellent standard for an film that is nearly 25 years old.

    The film is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, slightly short of its theatrical 1.85:1 aspect, and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The image is quite sharp and clear throughout. There is noticeable film grain in a handful of shots, but for the most part it is a very clear transfer.

    The colours a slightly pale by modern standards, as is fairly standard for film of the era, but quite consistent throughout. Blacks are a little oversaturated, but certainly not unwatchable.

    Very fine film artefacts are visible throughout most of the film, but rarely in significant numbers and never such that they are distracting. There are no distracting MPEG compression-related artefacts in the transfer. A modest degree of pixelation is visible in the background, but only the very picky will really notice.

    The English and English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles appear both to be accurate and well timed, based on the portion that I sampled.

    This is a RSDL disc. The layer change occurs at 63:29, mid scene, but was not noticeable on my equipment.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There is a new English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 Kbps) audio track as well as French, German, Italian and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192 Kbps) audio tracks available. The original English audio mix is not included.

    The remastered audio track is one of the better 5.1 up-mixes out there. The mix manages to subtly enhance the film without going overboard on the surround use, as has been the case with many similar 5.1 upmixes. The use of surrounds is mostly limited to a handful of fairly focal environmental sound effects (e.g. trains and cars when that are visible on-screen) and the score. There is not a great deal of subwoofer use, but that's not much of a surprise for this sort of comedy.

    The dialogue is quite clear and understandable, but slightly softer in the mix than would be ideal. The age of the recording is evident from the slightly condensed sound of the voices, however. There is a small amount of clipping noticeable in Eddie Murphy's voice at 85:21, when Billy Ray is yelling.

    The score is a rather playful orchestral affair that sounds very clear and has made a good transition to 5.1.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There are a reasonable number of extras included on a second disc. The reasoning behind the second disc seems more of a marketing ploy than anything as the size used between the two discs is only marginally more than would fit on one full dual layer disc.

    None of the special features are terribly long, but most are worth a look.

Insider Trading: The Making Of Trading Places Making Of Featurette (18:04)

    A "Making Of" featurette produced for this DVD release. This featurette covers the script development through to casting and the actual production. It features recent interviews with director John Landis, stars Jamie Lee Curtis and Dan Aykroyd, and the writers Timothy Harris and Herschel Weingrod. There's not a great deal of detail in this documentary, but it is certainly more than a token effort and worth a watch even for casual fans.

Trading Stories Featurette (8:00)

    Interviews with director John Landis, stars Jamie Lee Curtis, Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd that were filmed on the press junket for the original UK release of the film. These interviews are quite funny and well worth a watch.

Dressing the Part Featurette (6:32)

    A fairly stock standard costume featurette, shot for this DVD release. It mostly consists of interviews with costumer Deborah Nadoolman and director John Landis.

The Trade in Trading Places Featurette (5:26)

    A brief featurette on how the bull-pen of the stock market, as seen in the film, actually works. Features brief interviews with traders from the New York exchange.

The Deleted Scene Featurette (1:48)

    George Folsey, Jr, the film's executive producer, describes a deleted scene and why it was removed whilst part of the scene plays in the background. Strangely enough, the scene itself isn't included in its entirety!

Vintage Film Industry Promo Clip (4:19)

Following a recently introduction from John Landis, this is a promo reel for the film that was originally produced to show at the Showest movie convention while the film was in production. The clip features Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd standing around in a men's bathroom adlibbing about how great the movie is, in between short clips form the movie. Though it's a little laboured, this is funny stuff.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Trading Places has previously been released as a bare bones disc in both Region 1 and Region 4. All editions feature good transfers, but this edition has a significant package of extras to boot.

    An equivalent special edition, although titled the Looking Good, Feeling Good edition, is due for release in Region 1 in early June on DVD, Blu-ray and HD DVD. The exact content of that edition is yet to be confirmed. For now the Region 4 edition is the one to beat.


    Trading Places is a true comedy classic that holds up remarkably well today. Both Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd are at their peak in this mixed-up societal affair.

    The extras package is quite decent, but perhaps not as extensive as you may expect of a 2 disc set.

    The video transfer is exceptional. The 5.1 remastered audio is very good, but the disc does not feature the film's original mix.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDLG V8824W, using S-Video output
DisplayLG 80cm 4x3 CRT. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-D512
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

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