COLD TURKEY was written and directed by Norman Lear and stars Dick Van Dyke as Reverend Clayton Brooks, a minister in the small town of Eagle Rock, Iowa who takes up the challenge presented by ad exec Merwin Wren (Bob Newhart), a mouthpiece for Hiram C. Grayson (Edward Everett Horton) of the Valiant Tobacco Company: any city or town in America that can give up smoking for 30 days will receive a $25 million dollar check. Based on the addictive nature of the nation, Valiant is positive that their publicity stunt won’t cost them a dime.
And so begins the comic tale of the residents of Eagle Rock and their struggle to butt out and grab the dough. The supporting cast of Cold Turkey is a veritable smorgasbord of comedic talent including Tom Poston, Jean Stapleton, Pippa Scott, Vincent Gardenia, Bob and Ray, Barnard Hughes, Barbara Cason, Judith Lowry, M. Emmet Walsh and Paul Benedict.
In the depressed town of Eagle Rock, Reverend Brooks (Dick Van Dyke) spearheads his community’s effort to rise to the Cold Turkey challenge. The Valiant Tobacco Company has promised a $25,000 cash prize to any town in America that can quit smoking for 30 days. So Brooks leads the charge in this Battle of the Butts, hoping to become the local hero in the process. However, when ad executive Merwin Wren (Bob Newhart) shows up to undermine his efforts, this wicked comedy kicks into high gear.
The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and specs. The Blu-ray disc features some artwork that matches the front cover. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were good. There’s a little grain here and there and a few specs but nothing serious at all. I didn’t really have any issues with the video and audio.
Bottom line is, Cold Turkey was another first time watch for me and I got a kick out of its satire style of comedy from the mind of Norman Lear who is best known for producing classic television sitcoms like “The Jeffersons,” “All in the Family,” “Sanford and Son” and “Good Times.” The movie takes a silly and light-hearted approach at a hot topic as serious as smoking and how the people of this small town deal with kicking this extremely bad habit. Of course, back then people didn’t know as much about the dangers of smoking as we do now so the comedy pokes fun at the struggles and how everybody dealt with it. The story was fun and the cast did a really good job with their characters. It’s great watching comedy legends like Dick Van Dyke and Bob Newhart lead an impressive cast of old school familiar faces like this and have a lot of fun it. This 1971 comedy classic is now available for the first time ever on Blu-ray. If you’re a fan of classic comedy be sure you give this one a watch.
Distributor: Olive Films
Run Time: 102 Minutes
Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)
Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Special Features: N/A