Shout! Factory’s ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ Re-Issue Is Anything But Rotten

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/MGM

Later this spring, MGM Studios is going to release a not-so-new movie to theaters titled The Hustle.  The movie, which stars the trio of Rebel Wilson, Anne Hathaway and Alex Sharp, is nothing more than a re-imagining of the same studio’s timeless 1988 comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which saw the great Michael Caine and Steve Martin joined by Glenne Headly in the lead roles.  The Hustle just puts women in the lead in place of the two male leads in the previous movie, and modernizes the story.  Ironically, Hollywood’s latest re-imagining will come only months after Shout! Factory re-issued Dirty Rotten Scoundrels on Blu-ray.  The movie was re-issued this week as part of Shout! Factory’s Shout! Select series.  In an age when the problem of scammers and con artists seems to be at an all-time high around the world, this movie, which pokes fun at those hated criminal types is a welcome presentation.  That is proven in part collectively through the movie’s story, and the work of its cast.  The movie’s bonus content adds to its appeal in its new re-issue.  This will be discussed a little later.  The movie’s average price point plays into its appeal just as much as its overall content, and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ new re-issue.  All things considered, they make the movie’s re-issue one that fans of the movie will agree is anything but rotten.

Shout! Factory’s new re-issue of MGM’s timeless 1988 comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is another welcome entry to the company’s Shout! Select movie series, which already boasts dozens of titles.  That statement is supported in part through the movie’s central story, which is for all intents and purposes, a buddy comedy that centers on the buddies – played by Steve Martin (Roxanne, The Jerk, L.A. Story) and Michael Caine (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises) – spending most of the movie as competitors, trying to extract $50,000 from a woman they think is an unsuspecting victim.  While it is not ultimately until the end that the competitors become cohorts of sorts – not to give away too much story info – it can be easily argued that the pair in fact are “buddies” of sorts throughout.  Director Frank Oz even makes an allusion to this element in the movie’s bonus feature-length commentary, which will be discussed later.  The constant back and forth between Freddy (Martin) and Lawrence (Caine) in their competition creates plenty of comedy, and a type of comedy at that, which is rarely seen even in today’s buddy comedies.  The twist in the story’s finale adds to the story’s comedy even more, giving audiences one last laugh.  The one problem with the story’s final act is that it drags on maybe longer than it really needed to, and writer Dale Launer (who was just one member of the movie’s three-member writing) discusses the movie’s finale in the movie’s new bonus interview.  His discussion, which will be discussed at more length later, explains why the finale was so long.  Even with that pacing issue (and some other minor pacing issues throughout) in mind, the story still manages to keep audiences engaged and entertained throughout.

In direct connection to the story, the work of Martin, Caine and fellow co-star Glenne Headly does plenty to keep audiences entertained and engaged in the story.  The constant back and forth between Caine and Martin creates a sense that the men must have gotten along well off-camera as well as in front of the lens.  The friendly competition between the men is that believable.  That is especially the case considering the certain reserved nature of each character as he responds to the other.  It leaves audiences wondering in the best way possible how each man will react to the other.  The simplest comparison that can perhaps be made is to the back and forth between Foghorn Leghorn and his canine companion in those famous Looney Tunes shorts.  Headley’s work as Janet is just as impressive, as she is fully believable as the standard love interest.  It leaves that ultimate revelation in the final act that much more enjoyable, again not to give away too much.  This is another item that Oz discusses in his commentary and will also be addressed later.  Between Headley’s performance and that of Martin and Caine, the trio puts on a performance in this movie that is something rarely seen in any buddy comedy before or after.  When it is coupled with the movie’s story, the result is a presentation whose primary content is more than enough reason for audiences to take in this movie.  It is just part of the proof of the movie’s success.  The bonus content featured in the movie’s new re-issue makes the re-issue in whole even more of a success.

The bonus content presented in Shout! Factory’s new re-issue of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels adds even more enjoyment to the movie because of the background information and extra tidbits that are offered through said content.  As previously noted, Dale Launer, one member of the movie’s three-person writing team — that also included Stanley Shapiro (who also wrote Bedtime Story, the inspiration for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and apparently The Hustle) and Paul Henning – is featured in an interview that is new to this re-issue.  He talks about a variety of topics related to the movie, not the least of which being the movie’s previously noted finale.  He mentions that a variety of ideas were developed for the story’s final act, including one that he notes raised concerns about potential racist portrayals by the cast.  Thankfully, that idea ended up on the proverbial cutting room floor.  He also discusses how issues of copyrights played into the movie’s birth, as well as its tie to the 1964 movie Bedtime Story.  Launer openly admits that Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a re-imagining of Bedtime Story, adding that the latter movie was birthed because there was a belief that there was room for improvement on the prior.  Interestingly enough, he makes no mention of the forthcoming movie The Hustle, showing that he likely conducted the interview before The Hustle (which is just a female fronted re-imagining of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) had been proposed.  Other interesting topics that he raises involve revelations of certain well-known figures who were considered for the movie before Caine and Martin.  Hint, two of those stars are famed rock stars.  Another is a very highly revered actor, who has starred in some of Hollywood’s biggest movies.  He also reveals that while Frank Oz helmed the movie, he was in fact not the first choice for its director.  Another figure was chosen first, and circumstances led to him helming the movie.  How he came to helm the movie will be left for audiences to discover for themselves.

Speaking of Frank Oz, the movie’s new re-issue features a full audio-commentary from Oz as another of the movie’s bonuses.  Oz discusses just as many items throughout the commentary as Launer in his interview.  One of the most interesting notes that Oz shares in his commentary is the revelation that Steve Martin did a bit of ad libbing throughout the movie, including in the jail cell scene.  He additionally notes that the scene in which Martin, playing Lawrence’s “brother” Ruprecht, ass to go to the bathroom was not originally part of the script.  He notes that this moment was part of Martin’s early comedy bits, and that it was added to the script after Martin suggested its inclusion in said scene.  In a similar note, Oz, who notes his joy at watching the movie again, also talks about the joy of creating the scene in which “Ruprecht” was first introduced.  He laughs as he recalls the riotously comedic scene and how it came to be.  On a side note, Launer also addresses the scene in his interview, adding even more insight into that moment.  As if these discussions are not enough, Oz also highlights the now famous scene in which Lawrence “whips” Freddy, stating prosthetic shins were used for Martin, so that he would not get hurt.  He adds Martin’s tears in that sequence’s finale were actually fake, and that the rest of the crew was actually laughing so hard behind the scenes, that they were crying.  He goes on to note in the final act, to note the ability of all involved to keep many audiences from realizing the reality about Janet, and how proud he and the rest of the cast and crew were for that.  It is another testament to the time and effort put into the movie’s story and even the acting.  Between these discussions and plenty of others presented by Oz throughout his commentary, audiences get plenty of insight and entertainment.  The same can be said of the commentary from Launer.  Between the two commentaries, the two bonuses more than prove themselves just as important to the movie’s presentation in its new re-issue as the movie’s primary content, proving even more, why this re-issue is another welcome addition to Shout! Factory’s Shout! Select series.  Keeping in mind the overall content and its proven value, it becomes clear that they collectively do plenty to the positive for this movie in its new re-issue.  They are just some of the movie’s positives.  The movie’s average price point in its new re-issue is another positive to note.

The average price point of Shout! Factory’s new Dirty Rotten Scoundrels re-issue – using prices from Shout! Factory’s store, Amazon, Walmart and Barnes & Noble Booksellers – the re-issue’s average price point comes to $27.48.  It was not listed at Target, Books-A-Million, Target or Best Buy.  Considering that the various outlets list the movie at roughly $26 to $27 (the prices are separated by a matter of just cents), that average price point is right about on par with the listed prices.  Add in the noted primary and secondary content presented throughout the Blu-ray and the equally unnoted content that is also there, the movie’s price is a little high, yes, but it is money well-spent.  Audiences are paying for roughly two-and-a-half hours of entertainment, if not more than that, between the movie’s primary content and its bonus material.  Audiences should take into account that the movie’s previous re-issues lack the new interview with Launer, and some do not even have the feature-length commentary with Frank Oz.  Keeping that in mind, while they might be less expensive than this release, but they also lack that noted entertaining and enlightening bonus content.  To that end, the price is – again – a little high, but it is money well-spent considering all of the content, and its comparison to the prices from stores where listed puts it right on par with those prices.  Keeping all of this in mind, Shout! Factory’s new re-issue of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels proves to be another successful entry to the company’s Shout! Select series.

Shout! Factory’s new re-issue of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a successful new addition to the company’s ever-growing Shout! Select series.  That is proven in part through the movie’s story, and by relation, the work of its lead cast.  The bonus content included with the movie’s presentation gives audiences even more to appreciate, as it adds plenty of entertainment value and insight into the movie.  The movie’s average price point, while not inexpensive, is still money well-spent considering everything noted here.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ new re-issue.  All things considered, they make this movie anything but rotten in its re-issue.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

 

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