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4.6 out of 5 stars
Trading Places (1983) (BD) [Blu-ray]
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
This review is for the Blu-Ray release of the 1983 comedy classic "Trading Places." If you have not seen this movie yet then you really are missing out and what better way to experience this movie than in 1080p high definition.
I already owned the bare bones DVD release, but did not hesitate to order the Blu-Ray release. The quality is truly incredible with a level of detail that simply blows me awaqy and none of the grain or softness that plagues the inferior DVD version.
Plus we are treated to a wealth of special features to help sweeten the deal. The main special feature is the retrospective featurette "Insider Trading: The Making of Trading Places" which runs at 18:28 and includes on-camera interviews with Eddie Murphy, Jamie Lee Curtis, Dan Aykroyd and Director John Landis. Tne featurette covers the genesis of the story and the preproduction details (Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor were originally slated to star) and how the success of "48 Hrs" brought Murphy to the attention of the producing team.
Serving as a counterpoint is the second featurette "Trading Stories" which runs at 7:59. The same people are interviewed on camera as in the first docimentary however in this instance they are all from 1983 as they publicize the movies release.
There is one deleted scene running over a minute with an introduction and optional commentary by Executive Producer George Folsey Jr. It details the theft of the crop report by Clarence Beeks and was essentially dropped for pacing reasons.
Next up is "Dressing the Part" which runs at 6:31 and has as its main contributor Costume Designer Deborah Nadoolman. She says that the outfit she is most proud of is the red hooded sweatshirt worn by Eddie Murphy in his first scene. She had Murphy in the bright red outfit and everyone else in shades of gray so as to ensure that Murphy drew the focus of attention.
Since a large portion of the movie deals with the commodities trade the Blu-Ray also includes "The Trade in Trading Places" which includes discussion on the commodities exchange and how it works and runs at 5:25.
Perhaps the most quirky special feature is an improvised promo piece for the movie that apparently has spent the last 20+ years sitting in John Landis' garage. It features Aykroyd and Murphy winging it for 4 minutes and it is a riot once they get going.
The one feature this Blu-Ray release is missing is an commentary but the movie does have a Trivia Pop-Up feature. Throughout the movie sometimes interesting, but ultimately useless trivia appears on panels on screen mocked up as (what else) $1 bills.
All in all this is an extremely entertaining way to spend a couple of hours and this Blu-Ray release does the movie proud.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2007
Came out in 1983, I bought this movie on VHS, DVD, and now Blu-Ray. I have never seen it look this good. Bright ole 80's fashion colors don't bleed anymore. This precious baby is totally remastered. Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd at their prime. Paramount finally gave this absolute classic the hi-def 1080p treatment. I'm glad that I am old enough to still enjoy 80's humor. If you're a fan of Trading Places, definitely pick this up in blu-ray, you won't regret it.
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47 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2003
As others have mentioned this DVD is a "bare bones" one with no extra features. For those used to seeing it on TV, though, seeing the original R rated version will let you in on how much was edited for TV.
The shocking part is that this DVD is MISSING a scene always shown on television. When Winthorp (Akroyd) walks into the Duke & Duke offices, everyone tells him good morning, greeting him by name, and he barely manages a response. That's in there. Then later, when Valentine (Murphy) walks into the Duke & Duke offices, everyone ALSO greets him by name, and he enthusiastically greets them in return, (before getting into the elevator). In the DVD, THIS SCENE IS MISSING!
So, this isn't just a bare bones DVD, in one instance you actually end up getting LESS than you normally see on TV! I'm baffled by this...
But, obviously, this is a classic comedy, worth owning. Too bad they don't offer a beefier DVD.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper has seen many incarnations from Disney to The Simpsons. But none have been as cruel (and funny) and John Landis' Trading Places, which proves just how funny Dan Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy used to be.

Louise Winthorpe III is a spoiled, snobby managing director at the Duke & Duke commodities brokerage. Billy Ray Valentine is a poverty-stricken street hustler. Randolph Duke makes a wager with his brother Mortimer that the men can be successfully swapped . The con is on as Valentine is plucked from the streets and Winthorpe is ungraciously dumped on them. There's loads of fun watching him hit absolute rock bottom while Valentine quickly becomes spoiled and snobby himself.

Jamie Lee Curtis is the hugely-boobed hooker with a heart of gold who takes Winthorpe in while the always brilliant Denholm Elliott is Coleman, the unwilling butler caught up in the Dukes' evil plan. Once all four unravel the scam they team-up to destroy the Dukes.

Trading Places is crammed full of hilarious scenes, great dialogue, and funny cameos. Who cannot resist Eddie Murphy's foreign exchange student disguise or Ackroyd's Lionel Josef. Even the gorilla in the train is a brilliant character.

For those of you who love dark, cruel comedies Trading Places is utterly essential. It may be very 80s, but it never gets old. It's a must see and must have.

The Blu Ray looks great in 1.78:1 1080p with Dolby 5.1 sound. There are precious little interesting extras.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2004
John Landis' comedy "Trading Places" is a combination of pseudo-intellectual farce, racism, power, nature vs nurture concept, slapstick and some deep look at social distinctions. Though it is a crowd pleaser, it has a good set of actors and is well put together. Eddie Murphy shows his genius here as a street hustler, when he is in prison and someone asks him, "How come you fought with 10 policemen and got slashed and did not have cuts?", he replies, "It is because I am a karate man. A karate man bruises on the inside." Compared to some of the comedies now like "Dumb and Dumber", this is a masterpiece. Every actor starting from Don Ameche, Ralph Bellamy, Delholm Elliot to the smaller actors play their parts very well.

It is sad that Eddie Murphy does not realize his own talent and makes so many bad movies for every good movie of his. I see Shrek, I remember how much I loved him back in 48 Hrs and Trading Places, but when I see Daddy Day-Care or The Haunted Mansion or Pluto Nash or Boomerang or The Distinguished Gentleman, I just want to cry at the waste of his time and mine. His Donkey in Shrek and its sequel are the high end of this, but be warned: Bad Eddie will return in Daddy Day-Camp and The Incredible Shrinking Man. Will he ever grow up?

Though the DVD does not have any special features, I am still glad that I have it. Whenever I am down, I can always pop it in my player and up goes my mood seeing the Dukes and Eddie and Dan shouting about the Haile Saleisee pavelion. I would recommend this DVD to anyone who loves comedy. Despite people complaining about its predictable storyline, the way it is played is superb and cannot be copied. In short, it is a classic.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 1, 2008
The Blu-ray "Looking Good, Feeling Good" Edition of Trading Places, which has been unavailable, is being rereleased. It appears to be the very same as before, with the same specs and special features.

The plot of this comedy revolves around a wager between two very rich brothers over nature vs nurture, and specifically whether a rich, successful man and a poor man, if their fortunes were reversed (by "nurture"), would return to their former places because of their nature. To find out, they wreck the career and life of one of the most successful employees in their commodities trading firm (Dan Aykroyd), and take in a street hustler (Eddie Murphy) to train to take his place. (Thus the double meaning of the title.) While this obviously isn't a sociological study, some of the humor and pathos comes from pointing out ways attitudes are shaped by position, and changes in position. It's also a romance, with Jamie Lee Curtis playing the hooker with a heart of gold who falls for the fallen man. And it's a tale of sweet, poetic justice.

Murphy was still fresh in this 1983 film, and Aykroyd and Curtis are also very fun. The script is clever and maintains its logic, in its funny way.

The special features:

-- "Insider Trading: The Making of Trading Places" featurette (18:27)
-- "Trading Stories" featurette, interviews with the three main players (7:58)
-- "Dressing the Part" featurette (6:30)
-- "The Trade in Trading Places" featurette, on how the commodities trading in the movie works (5:24)
-- Industry Promotional Piece, which was used to pitch the movie to theaters (4:17)
-- trivia pop-ups, a running trivia option
-- deleted scene: stealing the crop report, with optional commentary by executive producer George Folsey, Jr. (1:36)

No commentaries.

Specs: 1.85:1 widescreen transfer (1080p), Dolby Digital Plus 5.1, Dolby Digital Mono, subtitles in English, French, and Spanish.

The video quality is quite good for a film that wasn't intended to be a visual masterpiece, improved over the standard DVD, with a clean print, fair detail and good color. The surround mix doesn't surround much, but it's clear enough, with good punch for the soundtrack.

I'd give this four and a half stars, but round down for the lack of audio commentaries, which ought to be standard in special editions.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Unfortunately we can't rate the movie and the DVD realization separately in the number of stars we give. So we have to do it in the rating.

DVD realization: Too darn expensive for what you get compared to the VHS version. Wait until the price goes down, or buy the VHS version and wait for the DVD to come down in price. The price versus benefit of the DVD over the VHS gets -1 star...yes, negative stars.

The Movie: All right, maybe not five stars, but as a comedy this movie is absolutely wonderful. I like comedies that make you think, and this one does. Filled with irony from the beginning to end, the humor substantially comes from irony. The movie makes fun of people in high places who, according to this movie, do not think like you and I and clearly have nothing better to do with their time than to manipulate people.

The Story: Dan Aykroyd is an executive in a New York investment firm. Clearly intelligent and well-bred, he lives a life style that most of us don't even dream about. Butler, very expensive home and suits, this guy is living a very high life. Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche are two brothers who own the investment firm. One day they see Eddie Murphy in front of skyscraper that houses their offices. After discussing the opportunities that people get in life, Ralph Bellamy bets Don Ameche that given the right circumstances that Eddie Murphy could have been Dan Aykroyd. What follows actually makes you feel sympathetic for Dan Aykroyd, even though he is clearly a snob.

Dan Aykroyd is set up and arrested, fired from his job, and kicked out of his house, He is completely cut off from the life he knows. Eddie Murphy is put into Dan Aykroyd's job and house. Poor Dan really hits a low until Jamie Lee Curtis, who plays a prostitute, takes pity on him and takes him in.

Fortunately for Dan, Eddie Murphy overhears Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche discussing the bet they made in the executive potty, and also using words that are less than flattering. Eddie realizes that he and Dan have been set up, and goes seeking Dan since Eddie does not plan on being manipulated by these two.

From this point on, the movie gets really good. Dan, Eddie, Jamie, and Denholm Elliott, Eddie's butler, decide to get revenge on Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche. Only minimal details from here on out in case you haven't seen the movie yet. The revenge plot is well set up and executed, all leading to a really uplifting scene in the commodities portion of the New York Stock Exchange.

The movie is generally predictable, but it is the how of the predictability that I was unable to foresee. People who are in the commodities business will probably scoff at some of the details, but for those of us who are ignorant of commodities, that part is funny and upbeat.

This early Eddie Murphy movie is well-done. Eddie generally stays away from the four-letter words he seems to use so much in some of his newer movies. Dan Aykroyd plays a character that at first you revile, and then want to like. I'll let you discover how Dan's character evolves.

This movie has a fair amount of intelligent humor. It relies very little on slapstick. It is one of my favorite comedies that I never seem to get tired of watching.

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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2009
I was pleasantly surprissed how good this looked on Blu-Ray. Sometimes the "older" movies don't measure up, but this looks sharp and is impressive.

The story is still very entertaining, even if it has the stereotypical characters Hollywood likes to present, such as (1) the hooker who is beautiful and has a kind loving heart; (2) the black guy who, despite no training, all of a sudden is smarter than all the white guys in the financial world; (3) all rich people are snooty while the lower class are nice and good-hearted and, (4) several cheap shots at Christianity.

Despite all the baloney above, this was an extremely entertaining and funny movie, start to finish. All the actors in here are fun to watch and there are a number of laugh-out-loud scenes. Of course, with Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd, that's not surprising. Murphy gets the bulk of the laughs. It's really his movie. For the guys, however, Jamie Lee Curtis is one to remember here.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This is one of the movies that made Eddie the legend that he is. If you consider yourself an Eddie fan and have never seen this movie, then this is a must. You've got an all star cast and a John Hughes-esque direction that can't be beat. Forget about the crap that Eddie has made over his middle years... this stands at the top. I've seen this film so many times over the years and I can pop it in whenever I need a laugh and it still does the trick!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Eddie Murphy is at the top of his game in Trading Places. This was before his career exploded and he started believing his own hype. Dan Akroyd is hilarious as Louis Winthorp, a pampered, spoiled Ivy League Lawyer who is trying hard to make partner at his firm, Duke & Duke. The Dukes, Randolph (played by Ralph Bellamy) and Mortimer (Don Ameche) are the real scene stealers in this film and provide the plot for the film when Randolph bets his brother Mortimer $1.00 that he can switch Winthorp with any street hood and have him succeed. Heredity or Environment? Well, the results are pee your pants funny. Eddie Murphy's character Billy Ray Valentine is a street wise hustler with an aserbic wit and tongue. Jamie Lee Curtis plays Winthorp's unlikely love interest (she's a prostitute) and she goes topless which is worth the price of admission alone. Anyway, this is a must own dvd and among the best comedies ever made. Highly Recommended.
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