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Blu-ray Review: Trading Places

December 1, 2020

By John Corrado

Eddie Murphy starred in a number of classic comedies in the 1980s, and one of the best remains Trading Places, a clever social satire that still holds up quite well. The film is being re-released on Blu-ray today, as part of the Paramount Presents collection.

When the rich Duke brothers (Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche) make a bet about nature versus nurture, they fire their top broker Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) and hire the homeless grifter Billy Ray Valentine (Murphy) in his place as part of a social experiment, to prove that economic success is connected to social status.

The film features one of Murphy’s finest roles, and he is backed up by fine comic performances from Aykroyd and Jamie Lee Curtis, who delivers memorable work as a street-smart prostitute who gets roped into the scheme. Not only is Trading Places a very funny film, it’s a very sharp one as well, with some sly commentary on race and class that allows it to also function as a more high-minded satire.

The film has been newly remastered from a 4K film transfer under the supervision of director John Landis, and I must say that it looks quite sharp. Plus, Trading Places doubles as a Christmas movie, (Aykroyd memorably dons a dirty Santa suit at one point), making it perfect for this time of year. For more on the film itself, you can read my review of the 35th anniversary Blu-ray edition that came out in 2018 right here.

Bonus Features (Blu-ray):

The disc includes one new Filmmaker Focus featurette, along with a selection of previously released bonuses that were available on the 35th anniversary edition. A digital copy code is also included.

Filmmaker Focus: Director John Landis on Trading Places (8 minutes, 46 seconds): The one new featurette on the disc, this informative piece finds Landis reflecting on the making of the film, from casting to the finished product. Landis talks about how, when he first got the script, it reminded him of the sorts of social comedies that Preston Sturges and others were making in the 1930s, and this is a perfect summation of the film he made.

Deleted Scene (3 minutes, 8 seconds)

Deleted Scene with Commentary by Executive Producer George Folsey, Jr. (1 minute, 46 seconds)

Insider Trading: The Making of Trading Places (18 minutes, 28 seconds)

Dressing the Part (6 minutes, 30 seconds)

The Trade in Trading Places (5 minutes, 25 seconds)

Trading Stories (7 minutes, 58 seconds)

Industry Promotional Piece (4 minutes, 18 seconds)

Theatrical Trailer (2 minutes, 50 seconds)

Isolated Score

Trading Places is a Paramount Home Entertainment release. It’s 116 minutes and rated 14A.

Street Date: December 1st, 2020

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