39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
A Hit To Die For,
This review is from: Deathtrap (DVD)When DEATHTRAP was first released, the poster--reproduced on the cover of this DVD--offered a graphic akin to a Rubik's Cube. It is an appropriate image: originally written for the stage by Ira Levin, who authored such memorable works as ROSEMARY'S BABY and THE STEPFORD WIVES, the play was one of Broadway's most famous twisters, and under Sidney Lumet's direction it translates to the screen extremely well.
DEATHTRAP is one of those films that it is very difficult to discuss, for to do so in any detail gives away the very plot for which it is famous. But the opening premise is extremely clever: Sidney Bruhl (Michael Caine) is the famous author of mystery plays, but these days he seems to have lost his touch. After a particularly brutal opening night, an old student named Clifford Anderson (Christopher Reeve) sends him a script for a play he has written. It is called "Deathtrap," and Sidney recognizes it as a surefire hit. Just the sort of hit that would revive his career... indeed, a hit to die for. And when Clifford visits to discuss the play, events suddenly begin to twist in the most unexpected manner possible.
Like Anthony Shaffer's equally twisty SLEUTH, DEATHTRAP is really a story more at home on the stage than the screen--to reach full power it needs the immediacy that a live performance offers. Still, under the expert guidance of director Sidney Lumet, it makes a more-than-respectable showing on the screen. Much of this is due to the cast, which is remarkably fine. Michael Caine gives a truly brilliant performance, Dyan Cannon is funny and endearing as Sidney's relentlessly anxious wife, and Christopher Reeve gives what might be the single finest performance in his regrettably short acting career. If you can't see it in a first-rate theatrical production, this will more than do until one comes along.
Unfortunately, the DVD does not offer the film in its original ratio--it's pan and scan here, and that's a clear strike against the DVD so far as I'm concerned. And sadly, although this is an ideal subject for them, there are no bonuses of any kind. But even so it is DEATHTRAP, and it is DEATHTRAP very expertly done, the perfect movie to curl up with on a dark and stormy night. Keep the lights on!
--GFT (Amazon Reviewer)--
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 22, 2011 6:05:49 AM PDT
Veritas Veritatis says:
'Pan and Scan" format should only ever be offered as an alternative on a DVD.
Is it me or is there some problem with DVD producers?
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 22, 2011 6:38:38 AM PDT
Gary F. Taylor says:
I agree with you: it should only be offered as an alternative. But Deathtrap went to DVD before that was standard, and I have to say that pan and scan doesn't devastate the film the way it would, say, Lawrence of Arabia. So it isn't as bad as it might be.
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