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I remember going to the theater and seeing the trailer for CADDYSHACK ($25) and thinking to myself that this movie looks hilarious. I also remember going to the movie theater to see CADDYSHACK and finding out that the movie truly was hilarious. Well, that was twenty years ago (boy, Iím getting old) and Iíve seen CADDYSHACK countless times since. Over the last two decades, Iíve subjected myself to lousy TV broadcasts, as well as awful VHS and Laserdisc presentations of the film. However, when Warner issued the same horrendous cropped edition of CADDYSHACK on DVD that had already appeared on Laserdisc, I knew I had to draw the line and do without. Fortunately, to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of this marvelous lowbrow comedy classic, Warner Home Video issued a brand new DVD edition of CADDYSHACK that features a new 16:9 enhanced wide screen transfer and a few extras.

For those of you who have never seen CADDYSHACK, the filmís tagline pretty much sums up the level of sophistication the filmmakers strived for with its tale of the snobs against the slobs. CADDYSHACK is set inside a country club where you donít have to be insane to be a member, but it certainly helps. Chevy Chase stars as Ty Webb, the son of one of the clubís founders and resident Zen golfer whose great philosophy in life is to "be the ball." Rodney Dangerfield is a laugh riot as Al Czervik, the crass real estate developer whose carefree party attitude only serves to drive the clubís uptight founder crazy. Ted Knight is utterly perfect as the uptight Judge Smails, who wants nothing more than to get rid of the club of the loudmouth Czervik permanently. Bill Murray virtually steals the movie with his performance as Carl Spackler, the demented assistant greens keeper, who goes on a one-man combat assault against the single gopher that is tearing up the golf course. Murray has all the best dialogue in the movie, which my friends and I have been quoting for the last two decades. Even though the movie is called CADDYSHACK and is supposed to be about the caddies at the country club, those characters are pretty much forced into the background by the filmís four great comic performances. The filmís only other truly memorable performance comes from Cindy Morgan, who plays Judge Smailsí seductive niece Lacey Underall. The cast of CADDYSHACK also features Michael O'Keefe, Sarah Holcomb, Scott Colomby, Dan Resin, Henry Wilcoxon, Elaine Aiken, Albert Salmi, Ann Ryerson, Brian Doyle-Murray and Lois Kibbee.

After twenty years itís good to see CADDYSHACK in its proper 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Warner Home Videoís DVD edition of CADDYSHACK is far superior to everything that ever preceded it, however it isnít perfect. CADDYSHACK was made in 1980 and it looks like a relatively low budget comedy from two decades ago. The cinematography lacks the snap of a bigger budget movie, but it is still respectable looking. There is a respectable level of detail in the image and everything appears fairly sharp. Noticeable film grain is about the biggest flaw in the anamorphic enhanced presentation. Colors are nowhere as vibrant as a new movie; although I wouldnít call them faded either. Flesh tones range between fairly natural and slightly pale. None of the stronger hues caused any problems with chroma noise or bleeding. Blacks are adequately reproduced, although the level of shadow falls short of that of newer movies. Digital compression artifacts are a non-issue on this well authored dual layer DVD.

The Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack is just okay. Dialogue is always intelligible, however there is some distortion in some of the louder passages and in the musical score. Kenny Logginsí songs sounded better than I expected, but it would have been cool if the original stereo recordings could have been dropped into the track. A French language soundtrack has also been encoded onto the DVD, as have English and French subtitles.

The interactive menus have a fun design that provides both animation and sound. Through the menus, one can access the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the DVDs supplements. Topping the list is Caddyshack: The 19th Hole, a recent thirty-minute documentary that takes a look at the making of this comedy classic. The documentary features new interviews with Chevy Case, director Harold Ramis, Cindy Morgan (who still looks incredible), as well as other members of the cast and production team. Also included in the documentary are some rare outtakes, which along with the fun interviews, adds up to a great half hour for fans. Filing out the supplements is a theatrical trailer and cast biographies/filmographies.

Twenty years later, CADDYSHACK is still out and out hilarious. While the film does show its age visually and sonically, this DVD is the best edition of CADDYSHACK ever released. Recommended to everyone who loves this lowbrow masterpiece.


Caddyshack (1980)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2000 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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