Written by: Michael Den Boer on March 5th, 2007
Theatrical Release Dates: USA, 1994
Director: Richard Rush
Cast: Bruce Willis, Brad Dourif, Lesley Ann Warren, Jane March, Ruben Blades, Scott Bakula
DVD released: August 24th, 1999
Approximate running time: 139 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Surround English, Dolby Digital Surround French
DVD Release: Disney / Buena Vista
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $9.99
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 is presented is in a non anamorphic widescreen which retains the films original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The image looks clean and colors look nicely saturated and faithfully reproduced. Overall the image looks soft and the lack of anamorphic enhancement is this transfer two main flaws.
This release comes with two audio options English and French. Both are presented in a Dolby Digital stereo surround. Overall the audio mixes are more then adequate and there are no audio defects or distortion issues. English subtitles have been included.
Even though Color of Night failed to attract an audience during its theatrical run it would have been nice if more then just the films original trailer would have been included with this release especially since this release is touted as the director’s cut version.
This DVD is an average release at best and the lack of involvement with director Richard Rush in the form of extras is a major let down. Overall Color of Night is more like an acquired taste and those whole enjoy it will have to make due with the current sub par DVD release.