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.
on June 7, 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.
on May 2, 2012
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.
on January 12, 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.
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.
on May 8, 2015
Few comedies today actually comment on social issues, and even fewer do it without it getting preachy. And almost none give a lesson in high stakes commodities futures trading. And yet somehow, "Trading Places" manages to incorporate all these aspects onto the same film reel while splashing unexpected comedy that keeps the entertainment level constantly high. In short, the filmmakers respected their audience enough to inadvertently tell us something about the American social strata, and do it without a documentary.
Even the opening credits hint at the coming confrontation. Scenes of a-day-in-the-life of the moneyed elite inter-spliced with the mundane labor of the working class to the overture of the Marriage of Figaro by Mozart/Da Ponte based on the novel by Beaumarchais. Beaumarchais was a French 18th-century novelist who brought the clashes of the classes to the forefront through his fictions, and this is the essence of "Trading Places".
Dan Ackroyd is the young, ambitious, if somewhat naive, Louis Winthorpe III who is a member of the Philadelphia upper crust. He works in the finance department of a commodities brokerage firm run by two Scrooges that would give King Midas a run for his money, Mortimer Duke and Randolph Duke, played with subtle irreverence by two veterans of Hollywood's by-gone era, Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy. When Winthorpe isn't making money through commodities trading, he's smoking pipes with his former Harvard classmates at a gentleman's club reminiscent of the Bohemian Club. You know the kind where the hired help is dressed as if they are going to the opera opening night.
On the other side of the railroad tracks is Billy Ray Valentine, Capricorn (Eddie Murphy in one of his all-time best performances), who is a con-artist posing as a crippled Vietnam Veteran. The two literally collide, like the aristocracy and the peasantry in the French revolution, although Valentine is immediately apprehended. The upper class is safe--for the moment.
However, as Valentine is being hauled off to the slammer, Randolph Duke speculates that the African-American Valentine may actually have more smarts than he is given credit. Mortimer Duke, the more bigoted of the two, brushes it off. But Randolph bets that Valentine, given the right environment, could run their company as well as Winthorpe. Simultaneously, Randolph proposes that if Winthorpe were to lose his home, lose his friends, lose his reputation, and lose his freedom, he might resort to criminal behavior. Mortimer Duke doesn't agree that Valentine could run their company and that Winthorpe would become a criminal, so he takes the bet--the usual amount.
Through their influence, the Dukes change the places of Valentine and Winthorpe to see how their lives would turn out. Some of the best scenes are with Murphy trying to understand how he went from being in jail (about to be beat up by other inmates) to residing in a multi-million-dollar home, being employed with a huge salary, and given a butler, played with exaggerated disingenuous humility by the great Denholm Eliot. Valentine can only speculate that the Dukes are gay, and Eliot is his slave.
Simultaneously, Winthorpe is accused of criminal behavior, and loses not just his home but his status among his friends from the club. The only person willing to be his friend now that he has lost everything is a prostitute, Ophelia (Jamie Lee Curtis), who has a heart of gold, but just don't mention that her name is the same as one of the characters in Shakespeare's Hamlet.
A kind of modern-day Prince and the Pauper,with a few contrived moments, and a train sequence that kind of gets "off track", but quickly recovers for the climax that involves commodities trading on Wall Street. Outstanding performances by all, outstanding directing and writing. And a few goofy characters that make brief appearances, including Jim Belushi as literally a party animal(following in the footsteps of his late brother John), and Al Franken as a baggage handler that wants to drive the cart. A movie that shows both sides of the railroad tracks. Maybe the best comedy of the 1980's and one of the best of all-time.
on March 25, 2015
Best comedy ever!!! Along with Coming to America!! John Landis hit the jackpot with these two movies. I was born in the mid-70's and was only 7 when Trading Places came out. My dad recorded it off of a free preview of HBO in the 80's. Remember those days? If you had cable, even if it just for a little bit, they would have those free previews of HBO, Cinemax, The Movie Channel and Showtime. The Disney Channel Too! And that was the best time to buy blank tapes and record every movie the preview showed so you didn't have to sell your kidney to buy the original. I remember seeing Back to the Future on sale for &79.95!! Insane!! They didn't sell used copies back then cause nobody could afford to buy the $80 original! Growing up at the time, I remember home video being the coolest thing. My dad bought the family a VCR and it was over. No longer did you need to go to the movies. It was hard to believe that you could watch a movie from a 13" TV without commercials! Video stores started popping up and that was our thing on Friday nights. I loved going to the video store and renting movies. We rented everything! When i think back, we watched some of the crappiest movies, but it was fun. It was pure viewing pleasure!! It's so passe now. LOL. Anyway, back to the movie. Eddie Murphy was huge in the 80's and almost anything he did was magic. Seeing it as a kid, i didn't understand the humor. Come to think of it, my dad should have never let my brother and I watch it, but as I got older I started to get it and could not stop quoting lines from it. Still quote it today. Eddie Murphy broke so many barriers in acting and comedy. Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor laid the foundation and Murphy built a Taj Mahal! At the top of his game, he was the best. Movies like Beverly Hills Cop, Trading Places, Coming to America, The Golden Child, and 48 Hours, without him, those movies would have tanked at the box office. In Trading Places he plays a con-man posing as a wounded Vietnam Veteran. He somehow crosses paths with a snobby, rich, business man in Dan Akroyd. Akroyd is great too! He works for 2 even more rich stock brokers in Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy. They own a prestigious firm and employ tons of brokers. Things are going great for Akroyd until he meets Murphy. He has the perfect life, money, a hot fiancee, and even a butler (Denholm Elliot). His bosses also encounter Murphy and suddenly the plot thickens. They divulge a sinister plan to bet on both Akroyd and Murphy and how they can make them trade places. Throw Jamie Lee Curtis into the mix as well. I'll leave it at that for those who have not seen the film. It's just crazy, gut-busting comedy! Pure comic genius from start to finish, not just by Murphy but by much of the cast. A collected effort for sure but with Murphy taking the cake, no doubt. If you like any of the actors mentioned above, this movie is a must.
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)
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.
on March 13, 2016
Because the cast, and screwball premise is awesome. Just for some reason the execution did not resonate with me. And I found myself bored frequently throughout the film.
Now the actual plot, taking down a successful man, and propping up another in his place as two rich shareholders bet on the outcome, is simple but it works. Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd do a pretty good job at portraying their particular character stereotypes, as well as the transformations both men go through during the film. And I totally buy Dan Aykroyd as an unhinged insane man, but that's also because he actually is in real life.
But it seemed to me like a lot of the plot and character development was just a little too paint by numbers. And the ending just seemed a bit too neat and convenient about wrapping up the plot in a five minute segment.
This is not a bad movie, and I'd say most people would rather like it. But personally, I was just bored during the parts where I should have been laughing. So it sits as a through middle of the road kind of movie for me. I didn't hate watching it, but I don't think I would ever go back to it intentionally.
on December 1, 2014
Absolutely fantastic picture quality. I've seen this movie played on TV and the print looked "washed out" as far as color. This remastering looks like it was filmed yesterday. There might be one or two spots where the picture has a glitch or two, but you'd never know this was made in the Eighties except for the ages of the actors.
As for the movie: the quintessential Christmas feel good movie as far as I'm concerned. The good guys are wronged by a couple of rich and ruthless tycoons, and they get revenge....oh...do they get revenge.