Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 2nd, 2013
BluRay released: October 23rd, 2012
Approximate running time: 139 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Sound: DTS-HD Stereo English, Dolby Digital Stereo Spanish
BluRay Release: Mill Creek Entertainment
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $9.98
Synopsis: Dr. Bill Capa (Bruce Willis) has become colorblind after witnessing the tragic death of one of his clients. He takes some time off and goes to visit an old friend of his Dr. Bob Moore (Scott Bakula) who is murdered shortly after his arrival. The police suspect that the killer is one of Bob’s patients and they convince Bill to take over his therapy groups to help uncover the identity of the killer. Along the way Bill falls in love with a mysterious woman named Rose who holds all the answers to the mystery hi is trying to solve.
Color of Night is a much maligned thriller directed by Richard Rush who hadn’t directed a film since his critically acclaimed 1980 effort The Stunt Man. Visually Color of Night is a sleek film that bears all the style one would expect while watching a Richard Rush film. The film moves along at a brisk pace despite its two hour plus time length and now it makes more sense with the newly added scenes via the director’s cut. This is not to say that the plot is without any faults and that some of the red herrings don’t lack logic. It is this kookiness and absurdity of what is going on that make this film entertaining and endearing. If you let yourself indulge in its excesses Color of Night might just wrap you under its finger.
For me the casting is the most mysterious part of this film and not the plot. I know that Bruce Willis was on a roll at the box office at the time, still how did the producers of this film come about casting him in an oversexed thriller? His performance is not as over dramatic as he sometimes tends to be and at best he is merely adequate in the role of Dr. Bill Capa. His characters crutch of not being able to see red because of the trauma he suffered during a tragedy is an interesting plot device that works at the beginning of the film and by the end it has been dragged out one to many times.
The rest of the cast Rubén Blades, Lesley Ann Warren, Brad Dourif, Lance Henriksen, Kevin J. O’Connor, Andrew Lowery, Eriq La Salle are all very good in their respective roles. Jane March in a dual role really shines as the films seductress Rose. Scott Bakula in his brief screen time at the beginning of the film does a solid job playing Bill’s friend Dr. Bob Moore. Composer Dominic Frontiere who also worked on Rush’s film The Stunt Man creates an equally impressive score that is haunting and seductive.
Color of Night has some similarities to the Italian film genre the giallo in how both show the killer and ultimately reveal the killer’s motives. The film is also known as one of the first in Hollywood to show full frontal male nudity and this couple with its steamy sex scenes caused a little controversy around the time of its release. A few of the murders are pretty violent by Hollywood standards. Virtually all major studio films that followed this one have really toned down the sex and violence in them. Ultimately Color of Night can be a lot of fun if you are in the right frame of mind and don’t take it too seriously.
Color of Night comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. It should be noted that this film is part of a double feature and that the total disc space used for this release is 37 GB. And while the use of dual layer is a positive, the end result is far from what the BluRay format is capable of. With that being said, there is some good news, this new release for Color of Night improves upon its previous home video incarnations in every way and for the first time ever the film is finally given an anamorphic transfer. Of course as mentioned before there are areas in which this transfer does leave plenty of room for improvement like darker scene which often lack clarity and black levels at times look to bright. Colors and flesh tones though fare much better and close ups always look crisp. There is mild print damage that crops up throughout and there a several noticeable moments where compression rears its ugly head. Also grain structure looks inconsistent throughout.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD Stereo mix in English and a Dolby Digital Stereo mix in Spanish. The DTS-HD Stereo English does a reasonably good job with the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack. And though the dialog comes through clearly, the action sequences do not sound as robust as they could have. The Dolby Digital Stereo mix in Spanish sounds clean and balanced throughout. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles.
According to the back cover art, extras for this release are limited to trailers for Color of Night and Playing God. Unfortunately I was unable to find these trailers anywhere on this release. Once again Color of Night gets the shaft, when it comes to getting the definitive home video release is so truly deserves. What I would give to hears director Richard Rush’s recollections and thoughts about this film. Overall if you can find this double feature release at a relatively cheap price, then pick up it, since I sincerely doubt that there will be anytime in the near future a better release for Color of Night.
Note: This release is part of a double feature and the other film included as part of this release is Playing God.