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Le Spoof Noir,
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This review is from: Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
DMDWP is a black and white film noir comedy that uses footage from real film noir from the 40s and 50s and intercuts them with the plot to make it appear that Steve Martin is really talking to/acting with the likes of Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis, James Cagney etc. The effect is not quite seamless but for a movie made in 1982 it's quite impressive.
Martin plays the wonderfully named Rigby Reardon, a typical, gritty private eye who narrates the story with sarcastic observation and gets involved in the usual femme fatal plot and a conspiracy surround the death of a cheesemaker. Yes, it's nonsense, and towards the end it becomes a bit hard to follow and the silliness gets out of control. But it's all played straight and for most of the film you could believe you were actually watching a classic film noir.
Steve Martin should have done more of these movies. Rigby Reardon was a great character and could have lasted for a few sequel.The humor is frequently hilarious and he certainly retains a lot of the integrity he has lost in recent years since he went the way of Eddie Murphy and sold himself out to family audiences. Either way, I say you should give this movie a go if you're a fan of his older work.
The Region 1 DVD is sadly in non-anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen with Dolby 2.0 surround (the UK DVD is in fullscreen). It still looks quite good for a black and white film and the sound has that limited sound-space effect to it to make it fit in with the older footage. A Dolby 5.1 remix would have been totally unnecessary. Though I think the b&w photography would look brilliant in 1080p. But I have a feeling you'll be waiting forever on a Blu Ray.