Pacific Heights (1990) (NTSC)

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Released 2-Nov-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Theatrical Trailer-1:09
Main Menu Audio
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1990
Running Time 102:13
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By John Schlesinger

Warner Home Video
Starring Melanie Griffith
Matthew Modine
Michael Keaton
Laurie Metcalf
Carl Lumbly
Dorian Harewood
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music Hans Zimmer

Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Are you a landlord, or considering letting out part of your house to help cover the mortgage? If so, then don't watch this movie! Also, don't watch it if you have a morbid fear of cockroaches, or a weak heart. This film vacillates between thriller and horror, but basically plumps for thriller in the end.

    The plot is simple enough - a young couple (Matthew Modine and Melanie Griffith) overextend financially to get the house of their dreams, then throw themselves into renovating it. When the two downstairs apartments are ready, they let them out - they are counting on the income from the rent to help cover their (huge) mortgage. The rear apartment they let to a sweet couple (the husband is Mako), who are no problem. The front apartment they let to a man called Carter Hayes (Michael Keaton - playing very much against his usual type, and doing it very well indeed). Carter Hayes presents well, but things start to go wrong from the very beginning.

    You really need to see the plot unfold to get the full impact, so I'm not going to tell you any more about the plot, except to say that there's a point partway through where they could have stopped the movie, but I'm glad they didn't - they keep going and things get much more interesting...

    Matthew Modine's character is not very bright. Maybe a prospective landlord should watch this to see what not to do - it is made quite clear. I have a lot more respect for Melanie Griffith's character - she shows some admirable qualities (and a lot of audacity).

    Watch out for the character of Florence Peters - she is played by Tippi Hedren, who is Melanie Griffith's mother.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    This disc is an NTSC transfer. If your equipment won't play NTSC, don't bother with this disc.

    The DVD is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and is 16x9 enhanced. The original aspect ratio was 1.85:1, so this is quite close.

    The picture is a little soft, but clear, with good shadow detail (most of the time - one or two shots are a bit dark), and no low level noise.

    Colour is a little dull, but that feels appropriate, like a planned effect. There's no oversaturation or colour bleed.

    There are virtually no film artefacts, just some light film grain. There's a touch of background shimmer, but almost no aliasing or moire, probably because the softness of the image hides them. There's a moment of telecine wobble, but it's brief. All up, this is a very clean transfer.

    There are no subtitles.

    The disc is single sided and single-layered, so there's no layer change.

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


    There are only two soundtracks, in English and French. The English soundtrack, which is Dolby Digital 5.1, is what I listened to.

    The dialogue is fairly clear and comprehensible. There are no audio sync problems.

    The score is from Hans Zimmer, and it is very effective in building the tension.

    The original soundtrack was Dolby Stereo, according to the credits. The 5.1 remix has done nothing significant for the rear channels, but the subwoofer gets quite a workout.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The menu is static, with a lengthy piece of music playing behind it. Quite effective, and easy to operate.

Theatrical Trailer (1:09)

    This trailer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. It contains spoilers - don't watch it before watching the movie.

R4 vs R1

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

    This should be the Region 1 disc coded to Region 4. The only odd thing about it is that the R1 disc is listed as having 30 chapter stops, and this disc has only 12; everything else matches.


    Pacific Heights is a thriller that will terrify any prospective landlord, presented well on DVD.

    The video quality is rather good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extra is as basic as you can get.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Thursday, July 18, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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