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EATING RAOUL ($20) is a culinary comedy of bad taste and even worse manners- perhaps that is probably why I like this little, low budget film so much. Co-writer/director Paul Bartel stars in EATING RAOUL as Paul Bland, who, along with his wife Mary (Mary Woronov), hope to open a little bistro out in the country. Although they have found the perfect place to open their gourmet restaurant, their finances arenít as good as their intentions. When a guest from the swingerís party next door stumbles into their apartment and attacks Mary, the Blands quickly discover themselves with a dented frying pan, a dead body and a wad of cash in their hands. Soon, the Blands are engaged in a new "business venture" that they hope will fund their restaurant. However, the money really starts rolling in when an enterprising thief named Raoul (Robert Beltran) becomes their new "business partner." The cast of EATING RAOUL also features Susan Saiger, Hamilton Camp, Buck Henry, Ed Begley Jr. and Edie McClurg.

Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment has made of EATING RAOUL available on DVD in a 1.85:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. EATING RAOUL is certainly not the most attractive DVD every released by Columbia TriStar, although they really canít be faulted for how the film looks. The inexpensive film stock upon which EATING RAOUL was shot hasnít aged very well, and I donít remember the film looking any better twenty-plus years ago. The image on the DVD is a bit soft, not to mention having a somewhat noticeable grain structure, but this transfer still outclasses everything that has preceded it. Colors appear fairly natural without fading or any other significant age related problems. The hues are generally stable, although some of the warmer and more intense colors can get a bit fuzzy. Blacks seem reasonably accurate, as do the white. Shadow detail and contrast are decent. Despite its age, the film element displays few blemishes. Digital compression artifacts are never a problem.

As for the Dolby Digital stereo soundtrack, it gets the job done without any significant flaws. Dialogue is always completely understandable, and there is relatively little background hiss. Musical fidelity is a bit truncated, but it is never too bad. No other language tracks are provided, although English and French subtitles are included. The basic interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as bonus trailers for BIG SHOTíS FUNERAL, THE DARK CRYSTAL and MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL.

EATING RAOUL is a delightfully deviant little black comedy that still manages to tickle a few ribs (not to mention sticking to them). Now this may not be the best looking DVD on the market, but this is the best EATING RAOUL has ever looked in the home venue. If you are a fan, youíll want to add this twisted little title to your collection.



Eating Raoul (1982)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2004 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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