Fletch appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The flick offered a pretty solid transfer with only a few spots that could use improvement.
For the most part, sharpness looked good. I noticed a little edge enhancement, and that meant the flick occasionally appeared slightly soft. However, the majority of the movie was pretty accurate and concise. No issues with jagged edges materialized, but some minor shimmering could be seen in shots of blinds. As for source defects, a few shots presented light grain, and a smattering of specks and marks occurred. These were modest, though, and not much of a distraction.
With a resolutely natural palette, the colors of Fletch seemed good. They didn’t often come across as particularly dynamic, but they showed the appropriate levels of accuracy and clarity. Blacks were dark and tight, while shadows appeared decent. Though a few low-light shots could be a bit murky, the flick usually presented adequate definition through its shadows. In the end, I thought the flick looked good and lacked notable concerns.
Although Fletch comes with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, you shouldn’t get too excited about that prospect. The results seemed decidedly low-key and didn’t do much to open up the soundfield. The movie’s score provided the best use of the various channels. The music showed decent stereo imaging and spread to the rears as well.
Otherwise, this was essentially a monaural mix. The effects stayed heavily focused on the center channel and rarely expanded to the rest of the domain. Actually, I find it hard to recall any movement in the sides or rears; other than the music, this track basically remained bound to the front center speaker.
Audio quality never excelled but seemed fine. Speech was concise and distinctive, with no edginess or other distractions. Music showed good range and definition. The synth-heavy score offered nice reproduction across the board. Effects were also clear and reasonably accurate, though they didn’t boast great dynamics. I didn’t think the track impressed, but it sufficed for a product of its era.
Only a smattering of extras fill out this “Jane Doe Edition” of Fletch. Featurettes take the forefront. Just Charge It to the Underhills: Making and Remembering Fletch goes for 26 minutes, 34 seconds and comes hosted by DVD producer Jason Hillhouse as he pursues his “inner Fletch”. Despite this quirky set-up, most of “Charge” goes down the standard path and we hear from a mix of movie participants. These include screenwriter Andrew Bergman, producers Alan Greisman and Peter Douglas, first assistant director Wolfgang Glattes, editor Richard Harris, associate producer/production manager Gordon Webb, and actors M. Emmet Walsh, Larry “Flash” Jenkins, George Wyner, Richard Libertini, Dana Wheeler-Nicholson, and Tim Matheson. We learn of the project’s origins and development, adapting the book for Chevy Chase, the cast and performances, director Michael Ritchie’s impact on the set, improvisation, editing and deleted scenes, favorite segments, and a few other production memories.
I’m not wild about the framework Hillhouse uses for “Charge”, but it manages to provide a good recollection of Fletch. Though it obviously suffers some due to the absence Chase, other big names in the cast and late director Ritchie, it gets into the nuts and bolts with reasonable clarity. This becomes a pleasant and informative show.
From John Cocktoaston to Harry S Truman: The Disguises fills four minutes, 55 seconds includes comments from Douglas, Greisman, Bergman, Jenkins, Matheson, Webb, Wheeler-Nicholson, hair stylist Bunny Parker and makeup artist Ken Chase. We get notes on changing Chevy Chase into the movie’s various characters adopted by Fletch. It’s a short piece but one that offers decent details about these aspects of the flick.
For the final featurette, we get the two-minute and 38-second Favorite Fletch Moments. This is just a montage of snippets without comments of any form. It’s not very interesting.
The DVD opens with some Previews. We get ads for Smokin’ Aces, Saturday Night Live Season One, The Blues Brothers, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and HD-DVD. We also discover the movie’s trailer.
Although I wouldn’t deem Fletch one of the best flicks to star a Saturday Night Live grad, it remains amusing after more than two decades. It throws out a fairly interesting story and more than enough good laughs to earn our affection. The DVD presents reasonably positive picture and audio as well as an average collection of extras. Fletch is a fun film that should hold up well through multiple screenings.