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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

My Chauffeur [Blu-ray]

 

(David Beaird, 1986)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Crown International Pictures

Video: Vinegar Syndrome

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:37:27.675 

Disc Size: 34,455,752,592 bytes

Feature Size: 28,670,972,544 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.92 Mbps

Chapters: 5

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: July 25th, 2017

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1753 kbps 1.0 / 96 kHz / 1753 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentaries:

Dolby Digital Audio English 96 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 96 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 96 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 96 kbps / DN -4dB
Isolated Score:

Dolby Digital Audio English 320 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 320 kbps / DN -4dB

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), None

 

Extras:

• "License to Drive" - Interview with star Deborah Foreman (16:00)
Commentary track with: David Beaird (writer/director) & Leland Crooke (co-star)
Commentary track with: Jeff McKay (production assistant)
Isolated soundtrack
Original theatrical trailer (1:41)

Promotional and Behind the Scenes Still Gallery
3 T.V. Spots (1:37)

Cover artwork by Derek Gabryszak
Reversible cover artwork

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Casey Meadows (Deborah Foreman, Valley Girl), a dishwasher at an Italian restaurant, has just received an unbelievable job offer: the opportunity to work as a driver at the prestigious Brentwood Limousine Limited. Much to the shock and frustration of its posh, all-male chauffeur staff, Casey accepts the offer, but as she begins to settle into her new position, she discovers that working as a driver is more grueling than she could have anticipated. Finding herself having to contend with stoned singers, devious diplomats, and other raucous clients, she's quickly at her wits end, but when she picks up a young man named Battle (Sam J. Jones, Flash Gordon), who's just been dumped by his girlfriend, a budding romance quickly begins, only for Casey to discover that Battle is her bosses' son!

Writer/director David Beaird's light hearted cult comedy, MY CHAUFFEUR, playfully combines comedy and romance with adept observations on sexism and class conflict. A late night TV staple, Vinegar Syndrome brings this 80's classic to Blu-ray, newly restored from its original negative and featuring an all new interview with its leading lady.

***

In a well-wrought sex comedy with one foot in the feminist camp and another on a banana peel, Casey Meadows (Deborah Foreman in an excellent performance) defies social custom when she gets a job as a limo driver. The manager of the Brentwood Limousine Company, McBride (Howard Hesseman), and her co-workers give her both a hard time and some of the worst fares possible. She is eventually assigned to chauffeur an overworked executive (Sam Jones) who just broke up with his girlfriend. After drowning his sorrows in the back seat of the limo, the ingrate wakes up in Casey's bed the morning after, refusing to believe he had anything to do with her. Their antagonistic relationship is stressed all the more when she has to drive him on a vacation and the car breaks down. What Casey does not know is that she has not been given the complete scoop on her passenger.

 

 

The Film:

''NOW it's time for the gratuitous nudity.''

That line, uttered in the back seat of a limousine as a prelude to the use by a hustler of a stereotypical Arab's money to induce three young women to take off their clothes, serves adequately to reveal the quality of writing and level of aspirations of the dreary midwinter movie ''My Chauffeur,'' playing at the UA Twin and other theaters.

Despite the presence of such performers as E. G. Marshall and Sean McClory and the comedy team of Penn (the hustler) and Teller (the Arab), ''My Chauffeur'' remains a victim of low literacy, muddled characterizations, frequently rudimentary acting and unrealized yearnings toward humor.

Excerpt from the NYTimes located HERE

Casey Meadows (Deborah Foreman) is a fast-talking, goofy, rebellious young woman who receives a mysterious note from millionaire Witherspoon (E.G. Marshall) informing her that she's been hired as a chauffeur for his limousine company. She is given a cool reception by her stuffy new boss, McBride (Howard Hesseman). Only O'Brien (Sean McClory), Witherspoon's chauffeur, treats her kindly. In an effort to make her quit, McBride assigns Casey to their most difficult clients. But eventually she is assigned to chauffeur Battle (Sam J. Jones), the uptight and overworked son of Witherspoon. There is so much to like about MY CHAUFFEUR that it makes the film's wrong-headedness that much more annoying. Foreman is terrific as the spunky young chauffeur. The handsome-but-uptight Jones is a perfect foil for her, and the pair sparkle in several scenes together. Marshall is, of course, the consummate professional, and the supporting cast leaves the viewer wanting more. Unfortunately, there are several pointless, gratuitously offensive digressions in the basically sweet plot line.

Excerpt from TVGuide located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

My Chauffeur comes to Blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome described as "Newly scanned and restored in 2k from the 35mm original camera negative". It is on a dual-layered disc with a max'ed out bitrate. It looks just fine - probably a strong replication of its original presentation. Detail has some tightness, colors show richness and contrast appears moderately well-layered. There is some depth in the 1.85:1 frame. I'll bet it can't look much better or certainly won't look any better for digital home theatre consumption.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The film's audio is transferred in a DTS-HD Master mono track at 1753 kbps (24-bit). It sounds clean and faithful to its roots. The bouncy score is by Paul Hertzog (his first film composition, followed by a few, late 80s, martial arts flics) and is offered as an isolated option, in lossy Dolby. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

Vinegar Syndrome include some extras starting with two separate commentaries. The first has David Beaird (writer/director) & Leland Crooke (co-star) and the second has production assistant Jeff McKay. From what I sampled these were very light with some details of the shoot etc. There is also a 16-minute "License to Drive" interview with star Deborah Foreman - looking lovely and discussing her journey, through modeling, to film. Some may wish to access the, aforementioned, isolated soundtrack in lossy Dolby, there is an original theatrical trailer, promotional and behind the scenes stills gallery, and three T.V. Spots. The package has artwork by Derek Gabryszak and a reversible cover.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
My Chauffeur is pretty cute, but certainly no masterpiece. I'd say that it is superior to a lot of the mid 80's playful light romance/comedies of its time. It has nostalgic value as an obvious product of its time although, let's say, not at the top of E.G. Marshall's resume. The Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray is a far more complete package than the film deserves, but there is a cult following for these superior 80s titillating fare. Recommended to that niche! 

Gary Tooze

July 24th, 2017

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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