Sunday, June 29, 2014


Shamus (1973)
Movie rating: 6/10
DVD rating: 7/10
Release Date: September 24, 2002
Running Time: 1 hour 46 minutes
Rating: PG
Distributor: Columbia Tristar
List Price: $24.95
Disc Details
Special Features: Full frame format
Chapter selections
Video Format: Pan-And-Scan (1.33:1)
Languages: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French.
Captions: Yes
Casing: 1-Disc Keep Case

There was a time when Burt Reynolds was the coolest guy around. During the early 70s, Mr. Reynolds was the most popular box-office draw in the world. He had a phenomenal string of hits, which endeared him to moviegoers world over. "Shamus" was a hip crime drama that came out at the peak of Reynolds career. I had fond memories of seeing this movie back in Jr. High School. I wish I could say "Shamus" still held the magic for me that it did way back when, but it seems a bit dated. That is not to say that I don't recommend the film. "Shamus" still has some good points to recommend.

McCoy (Burt Reynolds) is a super-macho, sexy-cool private detective. He lives in a loft decorated by nude girlie posters and gym equipment. His bed is a mattress on a pool table. He tells his one-night-stands that they can warm their feet in the side pockets if they get cold. Susan Sarandon recently said she hated the term 'Chick Flick.' Ms. Sarandon said that you don't hear the term 'Dick Flick' in order to drive home her politically correct message. Even though I hate political correctness, I will honor Ms. Sarandon's feelings and say unashamedly that "Shamus" is a very big 'Dick Flick!' McCoy puts the 'dick' in the term 'private dick.' It is such a 'Dick Flick' that many who only know men who follow the Phil Donahue/Oprah mantra of the sensitive male, may wonder what planet Burt Reynolds' McCoy comes from. McCoy says what's on his mind without giving one hoot in hell what focus group he offends. McCoy would surely be sent to diversity training if he weren't working for himself.

A couple is making love. Above them, on the skylight are two killers. The couple is interrupted by a flame-thrower assault. The asbestos clad hit men then enter the burning room and steal a safe full of diamonds. McCoy is hired by eccentric billionaire E.J. Hume (Ron Weyand), to find out who stole his diamonds. McCoy is able to unravel the mystery by the end of the movie. Along the way, he gets to bed several women including the gorgeous Dyan Cannon, and beat the crap out of numerous badguys including a very young John Glover in an early role as a junkie.

"Shamus" is an action film first, but it also is a showcase for Mr. Reynolds great sense of humor. Those folks to young to remember his many guest spots on the "Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson may not realize just how funny Mr. Reynolds is. In fact, his many "Tonight Show" appearances helped catapult his career to the level of superstardom. The credit sequence of "Shamus" is a perfect case in point. McCoy gets out of bed, hungover after receiving a phone call from Mr. Hume. He staggers through his morning routine. Reynolds physical comic timing is impeccable in this scene. The rest of the movie also showcases Reynolds' deadpan humor.

The movie is also worth seeing because of the presence of ultimate love-goddess and Lakers fan, Dyan Cannon. She and Reynolds play off each other so well, that it is a shame they didn't appear in another film together.

Buzz Kulik's direction is mediocre. There are a couple of good action sequences, but they pale in comparison to the post-Die Hard/Jackie Chan/John Woo films, which have since become the norm.

The Disc
Funny deadpan performance by Burt Reynolds in an otherwise so-so crime thriller. Dyan Canon is always welcome in my DVD collection. Good picture and sound. No real extras. High priced for a vanilla DVD.

Picture Quality: 7/10
I wish the DVD had been in widescreen format. The box says that the DVD was remastered in High Definition Full Frame Format. I don't know what that's all about, I've seen Columbia's Superbit DVDs and this picture doesn't come close to it. Some delineation problems. A few artifacts present.

Sound Quality: 8/10
"Shamus" has a nice score by Jerry Goldsmith. The music and dialogue all sounded fine. Nice balance between the ranges. No distortion. No real use of the surround sound feature.

Menu: 5/10
Menu has a retro 70s design. Nothing special. Easy to navigate.

Extra Features: 2/10
There are no real extras. There are trailers for "Snatch," "Bad Boys" and a cool 70s comedy with James Caan, Eliot Gould, Diane Keaton and Michael Caine called "Harry and Walter Go to New York." There isn't even a trailer for "Shamus." What's up with that?

The Final Word:
"Shamus" is a bit high-priced for a vanilla DVD. Fans of Burt Reynolds, who remember the film fondly will eat it up. Others may want to rent it first.

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