"So Let it Be Written... So Let it Be Done"

The life and times of a real, down to earth, nice guy. A relocated New Englander formerly living somewhere north of Boston, but now soaking up the bright sun of southwestern central Florida (aka The Gulf Coast). Welcome to my blog world. Please leave it as clean as it was before you came. Thanks for visiting, BTW please leave a relevant comment so I know you were here. No blog spam, please. (c) MMV-MMXV Court Jester Productions & Bamford Communications

Saturday, August 14, 2010

SNMR 8.19: "Trading Places"


Would you be able to dramatically alter two people's lives over a bet of $1? That's the wager Mortimer and Randolph Duke (Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy) make. They secretly wager that they can better the life of a 'hoodlum' like Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) by giving him a decent job and place to live and ruin the life of an upstanding young socialite ass like Lewis Winthorp III (Dan Aykroyd) by taking away his livelihood. Now homeless and destitute, Lewis gets help from beautiful, smart Ophelia (Jamie Lee Curtis), who is also a hooker.

When Valentine accidentally learns of the Duke brothers' wager, he and Winthorp decide to turn the tables on the Dukes.

Like it or not, this is one of the essential movies that helped define the decade of the 1980's. Controversial director John Landis takes a witty script and a mix of veteran and young actors and turns it into a solid rags to riches to rags story. This was the second film that writers Timothy Harris and Herschel Weingrod co-wrote and have teamed up on several other films since.

For whatever reason, I don't think I actually saw this movie for the first time until the mid 1990's. For me the novelty of this film, now, is to see the young cast and where their careers have gone since this film was released twenty seven years ago. This was only Eddie Murphy's second film, having come through the ranks of SNL and his stand-up comedy. Even Dan Aykroyd and Jamie Lee Curtis were not household names, though they each had memorable roles prior to this film. It is also interesting to note some of the cameo actors you see in this film, whose careers have taken interesting paths since, like Jim Belushi and Al Franken.

It's interesting to me that three of the main actors here have long since passed away, and how this movie fits into the panorama of their careers.

I watched the "Looking Good, Feeling Good" Edition of this DVD which has several worthwhile extras, including a making of feature, costumes, some unseen interviews, and an industry promo piece, done for a convention in Las Vegas, when the movie was in production.

If you haven't watched this movie in a while, you should. If you can find it for under $5, like I did, it is worthwhile to own.

***¾ out of *****

Trading Places (1983, R, 116 minutes), starring Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Ameche, Ralph Bellamy and Denholm Elliott. Written by Timothy Harris and Herschel Weingrod. Directed by John Landis.



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