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The Movie: This is the first time I have seen American Gigolo, I may have caught snippets of it on TV, but never watched the whole movie from start to finish. What I got was more than I expected. Richard Gere isn't one of my favorite actors, but in his early years, it seems as if he actually had talent - and the pairing with the gorgeous Lauren Hutton is bound to help as well. Gere stars as Julian Kay, a gigolo who falls in love with the wife of a prominent politician. He also is framed for a murder he didn't commit, and doesn't have too many friends to back him up. The romance is great and extremely sensual without any unnecessary fluff that is usually included in films today. A classic film, that definitely deserves a rental at least.
The Picture: The picture is quite good for this 1980 movie. Presented in a 1.85:1 Anamorphic widescreen ratio, I was surprised at the quality of the film. Once the opening credits are over with (they were a little grainy), the film looks good with good flesh tones and very strong black colors. The colors are vivid and the transfer seems to have very few problems. I didn't notice any compression artifacts or major problems, and although there were a few scratches evident on this print, the end result looks very good for a film of this age.
The Sound: While the new Dolby 5.1 soundtrack sounds good at times, the vast difference in sound levels gave me a few problems. The dialogue was easily recognizeable and clear, but when the shift was made to the soundtrack by Giorgio Moroder, while it was clear in its own right, it was also much louder than the rest of the film. This may not present much of a problem to most people, but if watching late at night, you have to turn up the movie for the dialogue and then quickly turn it down for the music, or risk waking up the neigbors. It's a slight problem, but other than that, the sound was great. The Dolby 5.1 was utilizd sparingly and is subtle, but does add another element to the film.
The Extras: The only extra included is a trailer (oh, I almost forgot interactive menus). The trailer is presented in the original 1.85:1 anamorphic ratio, as was the movie, and looks good for a trailer over 20 years old.
Conclusion: Paramount did a good job with this disc, although I had a few problems with the sound and the picture isn't great at the start, once the film gets going, you won't notice any problems. Probably one of Gere's best performances gets a great transfer to DVD. If you haven't seen this movie, take a night and rent it, and afterwards, pick up the DVD, although the extras are scarce, it's a good movie with a nice transfer from a 20 year old source.