Fletch (1985)

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Released 24-Dec-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer-1:21
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1985
Running Time 94:01
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Michael Ritchie

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Chevy Chase
Tim Matheson
Dana Wheeler-Nicholson
Richard Libertini
Joe Dan Baker
Geena Davis
George Wendt
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Harold Faltermeyer

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English 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 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

    Fletch is based on a story by Gregory McDonald. The movie is quite true to the book, albeit a little abbreviated. Fletch is Irwin Fletcher (Chevy Chase), an investigative reporter working mostly undercover, publishing his stories under a by-line of Jane Doe. He is constantly in trouble with his editor (Richard Libertini), as you'd expect (aren't they always in trouble with their boss?), for excessive expense claims, for filing stories late, and because his editor is never completely sure what Fletch is up to. At the paper Fletch's best friend and helper is Larry (Geena Davis). Fletch's one huge obsession other than his work is basketball, and specifically The Lakers.

    Fletch is working on a story about drug peddling on the beach. His editor would be happy with that, but Fletch wants to nail the source of the drugs. That's dangerous, because the source is rather more powerful than the simple dealer on the beach - the beach dealer is Fat Sam (George Wendt).

    Then something peculiar happens. A man calling himself Alan Stanwyk (Tim Matheson) shows up, and makes a strange proposal to Fletch - he wants Fletch to murder him, because his insurance doesn't pay out for suicide, but does pay out for murder; he is suffering from cancer, and is not interested in a long drawn-out death. Fletch suspects that things aren't quite what Stanwyk claims.

    Fletch's style involves massive arrogance, and the use of a wide range of false names. The false names are always the names of real people (kinda fun to try to recognise them), like Stravinski, Truman, and even Babar, for example. It's amusing to watch the reaction of normal people.

    Fletch's investigations involve Mrs Stanwyk (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson), who has to be the worst tennis player I've ever seen. He also meets Police Chief Karlin (Joe Dan Baker), who doesn't like him. In fact, Fletch doesn't seem to get along with any kind of authority, not even a guard dog (that is one dedicated and smart guard dog, by the way).

    We get one small glimpse into Fletch's private life, and his ex-wife. In the book he has two ex-wives, but I guess they simplified things for the film. And he doesn't treat his wife's lawyer quite as badly as in the book.

    If you enjoyed Beverly Hills Cop, then you are likely to enjoy this - there's a similar feel to the outrageous behaviour of the central character - but this one has far less foul language. Even the music is similar.

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

Transfer Quality


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

    The image is a little soft, although some close-ups are fairly sharp. Shadow detail is not good, with the picture tailing off into black more rapidly than it should. There is no low-level noise.

    Colour is quite good. There's neither over-saturation nor colour bleed.

    There are continual film artefacts, but they are not particularly annoying, excepting the hair on the film at 32:58. There is quite a bit of aliasing and a little shimmer. There is some light film grain pretty much throughout. This is not a clean picture.

    There are subtitles in six languages. I looked at the English subtitles, which are actually captions for the hearing impaired. They are very easy to read, and seem both accurate and well-timed throughout the movie.

    The disc is single-sided and single layered. That means no layer change. I have the feeling, though, that it means the video has been compressed a bit more than it should have been for optimal quality.

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


    There is one soundtrack: English Dolby Digital 2.0, not surround-encoded.

    The dialogue is clear and easy to understand. There are no visible audio sync problems.

    The score is fine. Harold Faltermeyer knows his stuff.

    The soundtrack is not surround encoded, so there is nothing for the surrounds or subwoofer.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The menus are static and silent.

Trailer (1:21)

    The trailer is presented at 1.33:1. The video quality is dreadful - heavily scratched and marked.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 version of this disc sounds very similar - it, too, is a 16 chapter quickie effort on a single-sided, single-layer disc. I'd suggest that the two discs are equivalent, so you might as well get the R4 (which is rather cheaper).


    Fletch is an amusing movie, given the "quickie" treatment onto DVD, resulting in a flawed disc.

    The video quality is decent, but not good.

    The audio quality is fine.

    The extra is poor quality.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Monday, January 07, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDArcam DV88, 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 and Right: Krix Euphonix, Centre: Krix KDX-C Rears: Krix KDX-M, Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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