Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 24th, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1978
Director: Ken Hughes
Writer: Herbert Baker
Based on a play written by: Mae West
Cast: Mae West, Timothy Dalton, Dom DeLuise, Tony Curtis, Ringo Starr, George Hamilton, Alice Cooper, Keith Allison, Rona Barrett, Van McCoy, Keith Moon, Regis Philbin, Walter Pidgeon, George Raft, Gil Stratton
DVD released: April 19th, 2011
Approximate running time: 88 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Scorpion Releasing
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Let’s face it, since the very early days of the Hollywood studio system the majority of films have been built up around those starring in said film and their persona’s. And while there is no denying Mae West’s iconic status as one of Hollywood’s first sex symbols. The cinema landscape had changed drastically in the years that had intervened between her first stint in cinema, 1930’s through the early 1940’s and her brief return to the silver screen in the 1970’s. So that by the time she made her final two appearances on the silver screen, with Myra Breckinridge and Sextette. She had all but become a caricature of the persona that had original made her one cinema’s biggest stars.
Though the plot is pretty straight forward, a couple on their honeymoon are constantly interrupted from consummating their nuptials. The execution of the story at hand, it’s ham-fisted musical numbers and G rated joke’s that were once considered racy (in the 1930’s). All these things makes this film a chore to sift through. With the icing on the cake being that its leading lady, who is set up as the sexist woman in world is in her eighties. And while this may seem implausible in just about every other film ever made, it somehow makes perfect sense in this cinematic oddity.
For me the one area in which this film shines the most is its cast, who all throw themselves into their respective roles. With the two more consistent performances coming from Timothy Dalton (Flash Gordon) in the role of the husband and Dom DeLuise (The Cannonball Run) in the role of the agent in charge of this film’s protagonist. Also the film features a lot of cameo’s with the most memorable one being Keith Moon playing a dress maker. And this brings us to Mae West’s performance, which veers off into so many different directions. That one almost has to believe many of the stories from this production that she was not altogether there. Ultimately Sextette is the type of film that you will either love or hate, there is no middle ground.
Scorpion Releasing presents Sextette is an anamorphic widescreen that retains the film’s original aspect ratio. The source used is in very good shape as colors look vibrant and black levels look consistently strong. There are no problems with compression and edge enhancement while present it is never to excessive.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. There are some minor instances of background noise and distortion that vary in degree throughout. Dialog generally comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (1 minute 10 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), extensive liner notes about the film that were written by film critic Dennis Dermody and a career spanning interview with singer / songwriter Ian Whitcomb, who discusses the various projects that he worked with Mae West on over a ten year span (38 minutes 15 seconds – anamorphic widescreen). Also included with this release are trailers for other titles currently or soon to be released by Scorpion Releasing on DVD. Overall Sextette gets its best home video release to date.