Blu-ray Review: TRADING PLACES (35th Anniversay Edition)

TRADING PLACES was directed by John Landis from a screenplay by Timothy Harris and Herschel Weingrod and stars Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd, Ralph Bellamy, Don Ameche, Denholm Elliott and Jamie Lee Curtis.

Upper-crust executive Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) and down-and-out hustler Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) are the subjects of a bet by successful commodities brokers Mortimer (Don Ameche) and Randolph Duke (Ralph Bellamy). An employee of the Dukes, Winthorpe is framed by the brothers for a crime he didn’t commit, with the siblings then installing the street-smart Valentine in his position. When Winthorpe and Valentine uncover the scheme, they set out to turn the tables on the Dukes.

Trading Places is a rags to riches story that follows Louis Winthorpe III and Billy Ray Valentine whose lives are swapped courtesy of the rich and greedy Duke brothers who make a one dollar bet that they can pull this off without a hitch and they do. The lavish lifestyle that Louis has always been used is harshly stripped away from him and he gets a taste of the hard-knock life when he’s framed for a crime he didn’t commit. The good thing is, he meets Ophelia (Jamie Lee Curtis), a smart hooker with a heart of gold who ends up helping him out of his slump as long as he promises to pay her back once he gets his life straightened out.

Billy Ray is a homeless con artist who is used to getting in trouble so once he’s given the opportunity of a lifetime he shows the Duke brothers that he’s not as dumb as they think and is smart when it comes to making certain business decisions with commodities. What happens is, the two men eventually cross paths and find out what has actually happened to their lives that put them in these new worlds so they come up with a sneaky plan to get back at the Duke brothers and give them a taste of their own medicine. In the end, Louis and Billy Ray pay back Mortimer and Randolph who find out that playing with people’s lives can have unfortunate consequences.

The packaging comes with a slipcover/o-card. The front features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The Blu-ray disc has a light blue finish and features the movie logo. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were really good. I didn’t have any major issues with the video and audio even though this movie wasn’t really given a new upgrade for this 35th anniversary release.

Bottom line is, I always enjoy revisiting Trading Places that has been up there with my favorite comedies from the 80’s. The well-conceived story doesn’t just focus on the lifestyle swapping that these two men go through but it also deals with socioeconomics and class structure that goes on in our country. The cast does a great job with their characters plus we get to watch a young Eddie Murphy tease us with his comedic talents before he became a big star and this is complimented just right by Dan Aykroyd’s humorous delivery of misfortune. I can’t forget about Jamie Lee Curtis who was already known as the screem queen and she gets to have some fun with her character plus we get to see a lot more of her in this movie – if you know what I mean. Anyway, John Landis is a genius when it comes to dark comedy and adult humor and captures the strengths of the two comedy legends that helped put them on the map. A lot of people forget that this movie takes place at Christmas time and in my personal opinion it’s one of the best out there. Trading Places celebrates its 35th anniversary with a new Blu-ray (plus Digital) release that will be available on June 12th. If you don’t have this one go ahead and add it to your collection because it’s priced to own.

Distributor: Paramount Home Media Distribution

Run Time: 116 Minutes

Rated: R

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1 / French and Spanish 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

Special Features: The extras that have been imported over from previous home video releases include four featurettes, a deleted scene with optional commentary, trivia pop-ups you can play during the movie, a vintage promo piece and a digital copy of the movie.

  • Insider Trading: The Making of Trading Places (18:28)
  • Trading Stories (07:59)
  • The Deleted Scene: Commentary by Executive PRoducer George Folsey Jr. (01:46)
  • Dressing the Part (06:31)
  • The Trade in Trading Places (05:25)
  • Trivia Pop-Ups – Optional play during the movie
  • Industry Promotional Piece (04:18)
  • Digital Copy
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