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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Deadly Rivals" )

 

directed by Krishna Shah
USA 1972

 

Widowed Manhattan gallery owner Christine's (Joan Hackett, THE TERMINAL MAN) already-tense relationship with her Oedipally-obsessed, precocious "ten year old" filmmaker son Jamie (Scott Jacoby, THE LITTLE GIRL WHO LIVES DOWN THE LANE) becomes even more complicated - and deadly - when she catches the eye of obnoxious tour guide Peter (Robert Klein, THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT) who proposes marriage upon meeting her. Caught off-guard by Peter's advances, Christine continues seeing him in secret (telling Jamie that she's meeting with clients). Jamie soon suspects something. Bribing his babysitter Mary (Jeanne Tanzy) into being unavailable, he and a street tough pal tail the couple. Jamie's obviously not playing with a full deck but he finally snaps when his mother marries the schlub. Neither Christine nor Peter have any illusions about Jamie's unnatural attachment to her (in case the audience hasn't caught on, precocious Jamie tells his babysitter that incest is the only universal taboo) but it nevertheless causes friction in their marriage. When Christine decides to send Jamie to camp for the summer and get away with Peter, Jamie blames Peter and takes drastic measures (in an incredibly convoluted manner). Krishna Shah's montage-heavy direction (the sequence depicting Jamie's movie shoot looks like a surreal version of a seventies SESAME STREET clip) is bewildering, to say the least. He takes an already edgy story into creepy realms with flashbacks to Jamie's memories of his father which revolve around potty training (his sexual encounter with babysitter Mary is lengthy and cringe-worthy). Although understandably exasperated, Peter is not particularly sympathetic so little viewer satisfaction is achieved from rooting for either rival in this battle of wits (and the overlong film takes its sweet time getting to this seemingly central opposition and then it falls flat from the start). The cast of New York TV and stage actors is interesting, although it is sometimes difficult to tell if some are chewing scenery or simply embodying pretentious New York art scene caricatures. Poor Hackett deserved better - she's also stuck with an awful hairstyle - while Klein is just loud. Jacoby is unsettling but that seems to be the only direction he had been given. The street-level "New York in the seventies" settings and guerilla-shooting-esque photography are atmospheric. Some of the whimsical bits of Peter's pursuit of Christine might fit better in a conventional seventies romantic comedy-drama (even with Peter Matz's ear-punishing scoring and vocal numbers) but they clash - rather than contrast - with what's to come. Jacoby also played a creepy kid in the seventies TV movie BAD RONALD (younger brother Billy continued the tradition as one of a trio of soulless killer tykes in 1980's BLOODY BIRTHDAY) while Hackett was menaced by her undead offspring in the best segment of the Dan Curtis TV anthology DEAD OF NIGHT. James Karen (RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD) plays Christine's therapist.

Eric Cotenas

Poster

Theatrical Release: 23 August 1972 (USA)

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DVD Review: Code Red - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Code Red

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:43:52
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.7 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Code Red

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Start-up trailer for FAMILY HONOR (4:3; 1:00)
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 1:56)
• Traielrs for ALICE GOODBODY (16:9; 2:13), THE BLACK KLANSMAN (16:9; 0:41), and THE CARRIER (4:3; 1:40)

DVD Release Date: 9 November 2010
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

Code Red's single-layer, anamorphic transfer is interlaced, but the print source is attractive. English mono audio is fine. The opening credits are framed at 1.66:1 while the rest of the film is framed at 1.78:1. While some of the opening credits might have grazed the top and bottom of the frame at 1.78:1, the 16:9 aspect ratio suits the rest of the film. There are no menus but the film's theatrical trailer follows the film immediately as well as a selection of other upcoming Code Red releases (a trailer for FAMILY HONOR precedes the film).

  - Eric Cotenas

 



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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Code Red

Region 0 - NTSC

 




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