Thought I would write a small post on A Perfect Murder
, since I bought the DVD and have been checking out the commentary -- one track is Davis, the writer Pat Kelly, and Douglas. The other track is the technical people. It's a pretty solid disc, especially since I got it for under ten bucks. The first time I saw the film, I was surprised by how much it didn't suck. I liked it quite a bit, and saw it a second time on video when it first came out. Now I've seen it a third time, and it doesn't hold up that
well, though I do still admire it. I'd give it a 7, or a B, or 3 stars, or whatever the hell... solid steak knives.
Dial M For Murder
is one of my favorite Hitchcocks, but I agree with Kelly that it could have used some updating, with more visuals, more locations, a more elaborate plot, etc. I think for the most part they did a fine job updating it. The three leads are all perfect; I have a soft spot for Douglas, who always commands my attention and sympathy. I think he's an underrated Hollywood lead -- doesn't get the praise of Ford, Washington, or Hanks, but he should. Romancing the Stone, Wall Street, War of the Roses, Falling Down, the American President,
and The Game
are all exemplary performances; simply great. This film too. I'm also known for championing this movie because of its producer, Arnold Kopelson, whom I've argued has made a career out of improving the films he produces -- that is, making them rise above their subject matter, premise, or high concept. Films like Seven, The Devil's Advocate, The Fugitive, A Perfect Murder, Outbreak, Eraser
, and Falling Down
are all better than I thought they'd be before going into the theater (Seven
was before I knew Fincher could direct his ass off, so I expected it to suck), and the ingredient they have in common is Kopelson.
The structure is tight, the dialogue is snappy, the pace is fast (it feels really short, like barely 80 minutes even though it's 107 -- in fact they start the story after
Douglas has discovered the affair), and the photography and editing are both impressive. Although Davis is no Hitchcock, at least he and his team have provided a reason to even make the film in the first place, which is good enough. Douglas's commentary is not necessarily insightful, but it's very polite and dignified. Davis's is pretty congratulatory and middle-brow. Kelly makes the most interesting remarks. The disc also contains an alternate ending that isn't too different, but I don't like it. I'm glad they stuck with the one they stuck with. As far as Hitch remakes, A Perfect Murder
has it all over Van Sant's depressing, misguided Psycho