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Continental Divide

Universal // PG // April 1, 2003
List Price: $14.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Louis Howard | posted January 5, 2006 | E-mail the Author
The Movie:

Believe it or not, it's been almost 23 years since the passing of John Belushi - this was one of his last movies and an attempt to give him a showcase for more comedic roles with a dash of drama and pathos thrown in the mix. Ernie Souchak (John Belushi) is a crackerjack Chicago Sun-Times columnist who is famous for bringing to public attention seedy goings-on in local politics. He has the love of his Chicago readers but also the notoriety of being a problem by the crime bosses he exposes in his column. When he gets a bit too close for their comfort he's given a bit of a warning.... a beating and a trip to the hospital. His editor (Allen Goorwitz, a great comedic character actor seen in many films) decides to send Souchak far away from the Windy City so things can calm down - else he be out one celebrated columnist. His assignment is to interview reclusive ornithologist Nell Porter (Blair Brown), a task obviously meant to do little more than send Souchak on vacation and out of harm's way. He travels cross-country to the Rocky Mountains and this is where the fun begins, big city boy knee deep in the midst of nature. Porter turns out to be a strong, attractive naturist with an instant disliking for all reporters in general and our man Souchak in particular. The movie becomes something of a new story altogether here as we watch the two begin a love-hate, Tracy-Hepburn type comedy romance that teaches them both about what their lives have been missing by engulfing themselves in their careers and their worlds, as well as how lovable and noble each character's differences can be.

Theatrically released in 1981 and directed by Michael Apted and written by Lawrence Kasdan, this is actually two stories told together and they give both Belushi and Brown an opportunity to shine in their roles- I'm suprised that Brown wasn't given more good parts on the strength of the job she did here. Belushi is subdued but very much endearing in this movie, and had he not passed away shortly after it was filmed would likely have given him some opportunity to do more than a few additional romantic comedies in his career. We see more here of the man than the legend and it's worth the look. Also of note here are the diverse locations, the great city of Chicago and the majestic Rocky Mountains- both are presented beautifully in this film and given their own chance to capture the viewer's eye.

Video:

Continental Divide is presented in 1:85:1 anamorphic widescreen. There's a fair bit of grain here as well as the occasional shimmering, but very little noticeable print damage. Colors appear deep and rich. Overall a pretty good presentation of an older film, very watchable- especially given the fact that it's part of Univeral's mid-level price entries.

Audio:

You get a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track with optional subtitles. Sounds fine given the kind of movie it is.

Bonus Materials:

You get the theatrical trailer and that's it.

Final Thoughts-

A solid little early 80's movie that didn't do much at the box office (or for critics), it's a chance to see two very good actors bringing great chemistry to a fun romantic comedy. Recommended.
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