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Kidnapping of the President / Deathrow Gameshow (Double Feature)

6 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Sep 09, 2008)
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Editorial Reviews

The Kidnapping of the President
An insane South American quasi-revolutionary terrorist and his admiring girl compatriot abduct the U.S. President (Hal Holbrook) during a trip to Toronto. While the Commander In Chief is held captive in an armored truck wired with explosives, a persistent Secret Service Agent (William Shatner) goes to great lengths to rescue the President before midnight when the truck is set to detonate.

Deathrow Gameshow
Live Or Die host Chuck Toeden brings Deathrow inmates onto his show where they are forced to play humiliating games in exchange for an unlikely chance at a stay of execution. Despite being the highest rated show on television, Chuck has garnered a number of enemies (from family members of losing contestants to uppity civil rights groups). Enter Gloria Sternvirgin, leader of WAAMAF (Women Against Anything Men Are For), who believes Chuck s game show is a reprehensible waste of time that has no business being on the air. After a televised face-off between the two, they are ambushed by the Spumoni mafia (a notorious mobster who died during a rigged game call Dance Of The Seven Boners ). Chuck is left with the question of whether to renounce his highly successful game show or continue dodging attempts on his life from the mob and a growing coterie of enemies.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: William Shatner, Hal Holbrook, Ava Gardner, Van Johnson, John McCafferty
  • Directors: Mark Pirro
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Navarre Corporation
  • DVD Release Date: September 9, 2008
  • Run Time: 197 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001ATO9H0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #174,325 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robert I. Hedges HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on March 27, 2010
Verified Purchase
This is a very odd combination of movies to put on a single DVD. "The Kidnapping of the President" is a Canadian political thriller with lots of big name stars, while "Deathrow Gameshow" is a comedy about financially exploiting the death penalty. They don't really go together, but then again they don't really stand on their own either.

"The Kidnapping of the President" is a cheesy film from 1980 with lots of big names in their joint creative declines. This Canadian cheapie is set in Toronto and boils down to this: Holbrook has been warned by Secret Service agent Shatner (as Jerry O'Connor) of a threat on his life there, and he recommends not going, while the bone-headed and arrogant head of the CIA wants to be in charge of the security detail, and at first appears to prevail, as Holbrook goes to Toronto. There is lots of over-the-top dialogue in the film, the worst case being when Shatner is told "Toronto's going to be a piece of cake," and he ominously replies "They said the same thing about Dallas." Boo!

Once in Canada, they immediately run afoul of murderous South American Marxist guerrillas led by Roberto Assanti (Miguel Fernandes), who have an elaborate and idiotic plan to kidnap the President for political pursuits and personal profits. Apparently sensing his Canadian roots, Shatner in his best T. J. Hooker impression hammily plows through the situation in which the terrorist puts Holbrook in an armored car with explosives inside, and it's now a game of beat the clock. I can't rightly say how many tenets of law enforcement are violated by willingly giving over the President to a known murderer and terrorist, but you will have no difficulty in spotting many of them yourself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Karen Shaub on July 18, 2009
I didn't even bother to watch the Shatner movie, I got this solely for the purpose of seeing low budget guru Mark Pirro's flick DEATHROW GAMESHOW. While it's a much more polished effort (believe it or not) than his previous efforts, it's not nearly as much fun as either A POLISH VAMPIRE IN BURBANK or CURSE OF THE QUEERWOLF. Those little 8mm flix (transferred to 16mm) were great in their own, exuberant, undeniably childish way. GAMESHOW, while a great premise, suffers from its own ill advised version of maturity. It needed a heavier dose of adolescent goofiness to really make it work.

The story? Chuck Toedan (John McCafferty)hosts the titular show on KSIK tv and it's just what its sounds like; criminals sitting on deathrow sign waivers and compete for prizes, the possibility of parole, or just a memorable televised death--with the latter being the most likely. The show is very Springer-like in that it is both hated and loved passionately. Our heroine Gloria Sternvirgin (Robyn Blythe) hates it. And while expressing her disgust with Chuck and his show in person one day she accidentally becomes involved when hitmen try to take Chuck out--and I don't mean for pizza. It seems that in addition to the millions of other people who loathe him, Chuck made some very dangerous enemies when he unknowingly submitted Mafia Boss Don Spumoni (Mark Lasky) to an especially embarrasing death on his show. And they want revenge. Chuck's an old hand at dealing with this sort of stuff however and he tosses Gloria in his car and they escape with little effort. Now really ticked off, the Mafia calls in their most effective hitman, Luigi Pappalardo (Beano, no kidding, Beano) who is such an horrific slob that he'll offend every Italian in the audience. And Luigi brings his Mama with him.
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This is more of a review of the DVD itself than the films. I purchased this specifically for "Kidnapping of the President", which I had on a 1984 VHS release which was pan 'n' scan and fading in color quality. The DVD print is wide screen with great color saturation. Unlike most bargain DVDs, the darks and night scenes aren't too dark. The sound quality is great. While I can't guarantee that this film is unedited, the VHS copy I own says "original uncut version", and this DVD is the same version as the 1984 VHS edition, only better quality.

The film is, I think, a great one for 1980s B-movie fans. Unlike many B films, every performance in this movie is competent. Van Johnson and Ava Gardner aren't in the movie much, and their slightly unfocused performances reflect this, but otherwise the acting is spot on. The plot is a good one, suspenseful, but it starts to become unbelievable toward the end when one Secret Service agent suddenly turns into a mechanic. "Kidnapping of the President" is basically a made-for-TV movie with a few more swear words.

KotP is paired with "Deathrow Gameshow" because they were both released by Crown International. "Deathrow Gameshow" is, as the title suggests, about a gameshow where death row prisoners compete to win the grand prize, a stay of execution. It's supposed to be a satire on 80s television, but it's mostly an excuse to do a bunch of unrelated gags in an attempt to mimic Zucker-Abrams-Zucker comedies. A friend pointed out that the best parts of the movie are shown at the very end under the credits, and he was right. Again, though, the print of this movie was much better than expected, and if you're looking for a good copy of either of these films, you can't go wrong with this DVD version.
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