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Elliot Silverstein
James Brolin, Kathleen Lloyd, John Marley, Ronny Cox
Writing Credits:
Dennis Shryack, Michael Butler & Lane Slate

A sleek, possessed black car terrorizes everyone it comes in contact with in a small town in Utah.

Rated PG

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English DTS-HD MA Stereo
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 97 min.
Price: $29.93
Release Date: 12/15/2015

• Interview with Director Elliot Silverstein
• Interview with Actor Geraldine Keams
• Interview with Actor Melody Thomas Scott
• Trailer
• TV Spot
• Radio Spots
• Still Gallery


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


The Car [Blu-Ray] (1977)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 19, 2015)

Before Stephen Kingís Christine, 1977ís The Car told a tale of an vehicle. When two young cyclists ride through the American Southwest, a black vehicle drives them off the road and kills them.

From there we head to the nearby small town of Santa Ynez and meet local Sheriff Wade Parent (James Brolin). The single father to daughters Lynn Marie (Kim Richards) and Debbie (Kyle Richards), he tries to integrate his girlfriend Lauren Humphries (Kathleen Lloyd) into the fold.

Family endeavors will have to wait, though, as that mysterious black car causes mayhem in Santa Ynez. First it mows down hitchhiker John Norris (John Rubinstein) and then it flattens Sheriff Everett Peck (John Marley). Sheriff Parent works to find out the secret of the car and stop its deadly ways.

At the start of the review, I alluded to comparisons between The Car and Stephen Kingís Christine. Now that Iíve seen The Car, though, I think it possesses greater similarities to the Spielberg canon.

The Car echoes two particular Spielberg flicks: 1971ís Duel and 1975ís Jaws. The links to Duel seem most obvious. Another tale about a menacing vehicle, the connections to Duel seem clear and almost certainly werenít coincidental. <

That said, I actually feel like The Car draws more from Jaws. Both feature small town sheriffs as their leads and view the damage done by one marauding, deadly element. Of course, a potentially supernatural vehicle isnít the same as a shark who just does what sharks do, but I think the films boast clear similarities, especially in terms of story development and the presentation of the action scenes.

After I watched The Car, I checked out other opinions of the film, and I felt surprised to see how much negativity came its way. Maybe Iím just a little beaten-down after a recent screening of 1987ís Garbage Pail Kids Movie - a genuine cinematic atrocity Ė but I thought The Car mostly worked pretty well.

Not that Iíd call it a classic. As Iíve already related, The Car seems awfully derivative, and none of its actors merit praise for their performances. Even though we get talents like Ronny Cox and John Marley, they donít do much with their parts, and the lesser-known actors fail to bring anything to the table either.

That said, I think most of the performances seem fine for a story like this, as no one expects Oscar-caliber acting from a genre flick such as this anyway. We just want a decent action thriller and for the most part, The Car gives us that.

The film also isnít afraid to break some rules in terms of who lives or dies. I wonít provide spoilers, of course, but I felt surprised at some of the folks who ended up as victims. Usually one can easily predict whoíll survive a story such as this, but The Car brings surprises.

Outside of lackluster performances and some dodgy dialogue, probably the filmís biggest weakness comes from its willingness to meander and concentrate on character bits that donít further the narrative. We watch Sheriff Peckís interaction with an abused high school sweetheart and learn of Deputy Johnsonís alcohol problem.

Why? Damned if I know Ė maybe I missed something, but these elements seem extraneous, and the film offers other scenes that also fail to move along the tale like they should.

All those flaws mean that The Car never threatens to become a great Ė or even very good Ė film, and it certainly pales in comparison to the Spielberg flicks I mentioned. Still, it comes with some decent thrills and manages to keep our attention.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B/ Bonus C-

The Car appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. I didnít expect much from this transfer so imagine my shock when I found a consistently attractive presentation.

Sharpness almost always looked terrific. I saw a couple of slightly soft shots, but those remained firmly in the minority, as the preponderance of the movie appeared accurate and concise. No issues with jagged edges or moirť effects occurred, and I saw neither edge haloes nor obvious digital noise reduction.

Print quality appeared strong. Gate weave left the opening a bit wobbly, but that cleared up quickly, and the image seemed almost wholly devoid of source flaws. I saw one or two brief specks but nothing more.

With a natural palette, colors excelled and looked vivacious. The only stylized hues came from orange overlays that accompanied the carís POV shots; those elements also appeared positive. Blacks seemed deep and rich, and low-light shots came across as smooth and clear. Everything about this transfer impressed.

Though not as memorable, the movieís DTS-HD MA 5.1 worked well for its age. Effects broadened to the sides at times, but they didnít get as much to do as one might expect. The title car managed to use the soundscape in a decent manner but didnít add as much zip as I would like.

Music used the soundfield in a more satisfying manner, as the score spread to the sides to give us strong stereo presence. The surrounds also bolstered the music in a modest way, and occasional effects material showed up there as well. The track remained focused on the front most of the time, though.

Audio quality appeared dated but fine. Though speech occasionally showed some edginess, the lines were intelligible and reasonably warm. Effects came across the same way, as despite a little distortion, those elements usually provided good range. Music worked best of all, as the score sounded bright and rich. This became a more than satisfactory mix for a nearly 40-year-old film.

In terms of extras, the meat of the material comes from various interviews. First we hear from director Elliot Silverstein, as he offers a nine-minute, 16-second discussion of story elements, clashes with the studio, and aspects of the production. Silverstein provides fairly blunt thoughts about parts of the movie that disappoint him; itís too bad he didnít record a full commentary.

Next we hear from actor Geraldine Keams. In this 12-minute, 10-second chat, she covers her acting career as well as working on The Car. Though not as interesting as Silversteinís piece, Keams offers a smattering of good notes.

Finally, we get an interview with actor Melody Thomas Scott. This piece runs 11 minutes, 52 seconds and looks at how she got the role on The Car and her memories of the shoot. Scott offers some witty anecdotes and fun tales Ė and she looks absolutely amazing! Scott will be 60 in spring 2016 but she looks a good 15 to 20 years younger.

Some promotional materials ensue. We find a trailer, a TV spot and six radio spots. A Still Gallery offers 122 pictures. Most of these come from promotional efforts, but we get a few behind the scenes shots as well.

Although it comes with a number of flaws, The Car still musters enough action and excitement to make it moderately enjoyable. No one will mistake it for anything especially good, but it comes with reasonable entertainment value. The Blu-ray boasts stunning visuals as well as pretty good audio and a few decent supplements. It may have a terrible critical reputation, but I think The Car delivers a mostly interesting genre effort.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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