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At one time, the Presidency was beyond reproach, but with the advent of Watergate and White Water, Hollywood seems to see the office of President as something else that can be mined for material. Lately, films like ABSOLUTE POWER and MURDER AT 1600 lay murders at the feet of the Presidency. Although the subject matter is anything but patriotic, both films proved entertaining. Although, as much as I like Clint Eastwood as both an actor and director, I have to admit that MURDER AT 1600 ($25) turned out to be the better film.

MURDER AT 1600 is a very entertaining political thriller concerning a female employee who is found murdered in a White House restroom. Wesley Snipes stars as a Washington DC homicide detective brought in to unravel the mystery. Diane Lane is the Secret Service Agent assigned to be a liaison between the White House and the police. The plot is filled with enough red herrings to keep the audience guessing, plus enough action to keep them on the edge of their seats. In addition to Snipes and Lane, the excellent cast includes Alan Alda, Daniel Benzali, Ronny Cox, Diane Baker, Harris Yulin, Tate Donovan and Dennis Miller.

Warner Home Video offers MURDER AT 1600 in both Letterboxed and pan and scan versions on opposite sides of the DVD. The pan and scan transfer is actually full frame, adding superfluous information to the top and bottom of the frame. The full frame transfer makes MURDER AT 1600 appear more like a made for cable film, instead of a theatrical presentation. Still, the full frame transfer is very good looking, with great color and detail. The Letterboxed transfer is great. The transfer mattes MURDER AT 1600 to its proper 1.85:1 aspect ratio, giving it proper balance and a more film-like quality. Colors are fresh and well saturated and the image is finely detailed. Digital artifacts were never really a problem on either version, even during darker sequences.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack features a solid mix. There is ambiance during the quiet passages, and the track explodes to life with directional effects during the more action packed moments. Other soundtrack options include a matrixed Dolby Surround soundtrack, as well as a French language track. Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish.

The interactive menus feature access to cast and crew biographies/filmographies, production notes and a theatrical trailer.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1997 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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