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S.O.B. ($20) is writer/director Blake Edwards’ jaundiced and often times hilarious black comic view of Hollywood and the insane world of movie making. Of course, the over-the-top manner in which Edwards’ screenplay goes about ripping apart Hollywood, would indicate that every bit of it must have some basics in reality. S.O.B. tells the story of an enormously successful Hollywood producer named Felix Farmer (Richard Mulligan), who commits tinsel town’s biggest cardinal sin- he produces the biggest, most expensive flop in the history of the movies. As a result of his film bombing at the box office, the shock causes a devastated Felix to lose his mind…

After several suicide attempts, a spontaneous Hollywood orgy at his beach house produces an epiphany in Felix- he knows how to save his film and turn it into the greatest motion picture success in the history of Hollywood. Of course, the studio won’t give Felix another dime, so he mortgages himself to the teeth to purchase the film outright, so he can re-shoot it as a sexual epic. However, none of this sits well with the film’s star Sally Miles (Julie Andrews), who is Felix’s estranged wife and America’s "G" rated sweetheart. Making matters worse, Sally discovers that she will have to do a nude scene in the revised version of the movie, if she wants to recoup any part of the community property that Felix has already spent. The truly first rate cast of S.O.B. also includes William Holden, Larry Hagman, Robert Loggia, Stuart Margolin, Robert Preston, Craig Stevens, Loretta Swit, Robert Vaughn, Robert Webber and Shelley Winters. Look for a very young and nubile Rosanna Arquette in small, but highly visible role.

Warner Home Video has made S.O.B. available on DVD in a 2.35:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. The transfer looks very good, but the movie is over twenty years old and has a slightly dated appearance. There is a mild softness in a few shots, plus a bit film grain crops up now and again. Still, the image is usually very crisp and renders with a fairly respectable level of detail. The film element itself, displays a few blemishes, but nothing too bad for a movie over two decades old. Colors are pretty realistic and the flesh tones come across as appealing. There is no real chroma noise, but sometimes colors are a bit fuzzy, which may be attributable to mild photographic filtering. Blacks are accurately rendered, contrast is good and the picture produces decent shadow detail in the darker scenes. There are no overt problems with digital compression artifacts on the dual layer DVD.

S.O.B. is offered with a Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack. While the sound is a bit flat, fidelity isn’t particularly constricted, so the film’s music manages to sound pretty good with a bit of amplification. The few sound effects in the film are adequately reproduced, despite the lack of a true bottom end. Dialogue is clean sounding and is usually intelligible, except for a few heavily accented voices. A French monaural soundtrack is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, and Thai subtitles. Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which provide access to the standard scene selection and set up features as well as a theatrical trailer and cast filmographies.

S.O.B. is a personal favorite because this film gleefully trashes every aspect of Hollywood and the movie making industry. Additionally, S.O.B. is vulgar, exceedingly black and delivers moments of utter hilarity. If you are a fan, you will want to own a copy of Warner’s DVD, which offers a very nice looking presentation of the film.


 S.O.B. (1981)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2002 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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