Warner Bros. / 1980 / 99 min. / R
With his comedic persona well-established during the first few seasons of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE and coming off a big feature hit opposite Goldie Hawn in FOUL PLAY, Chevy Chase was the commercial anchor of CADDYSHACK. He plays millionaire playboy Ty Webb, whose Zen approach to golf and life is filled with amusing non-sequiturs and off-the-wall charm. Emmy-winner Ted Knight (Ted Baxter on THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW) portrays the snobbishly buffoonish figurehead of Bushwood, Judge Smails, who becomes the comic foil for tasteless loudmouth Al Czervik, played by Rodney Dangerfield, making his feature debut.
A well-established stand-up comic and master of the one-liner, Dangerfield's "hip factor" suddenly soared into the stratosphere with CADDYSHACK and cemented a screen character that served him well through subsequent movies (most notably, BACK TO SCHOOL). In seemingly perpetual motion, Dangerfield jolts the movie to life every time he pops into a scene. You know a great, smartass line or bug-eyed reaction is coming, and Dangerfield doesn't disappoint.
Also from SNL and a starring role in MEATBALLS, Bill Murray brought his particular and peculiar comic genius to CADDYSHACK as Carl Spackler, the assistant groundskeeper at Bushwood. With only six days of shooting and a part that was barely written, Murray's mush-mouthed, impromptu performance steals the picture, as Carl goes up against his nemesis, the lovably destructive Gopher.
CADDYSHACK originated in the wake of the surprising success of 1978's NATIONAL LAMPOON'S ANIMAL HOUSE. Two of CADDYSHACK's screenwriters, Harold Ramis and Doug Kenney, were also responsible for the earlier script, and Hollywood was anxious to have them step up to the plate once again. Teaming with Brian Doyle-Murray (Bill's brother) on the screenplay, Ramis leveraged his way into the director's chair for the first time. His achievement in CADDYSHACK was to wrangle the chaotic Florida shoot and mine comedic gold with Kenney, Doyle-Murray and his unpredictably clashing cast. With dollops of crudeness, sex and nudity amid the hectic, Marx Brothers-style comedy, Ramis and his team established a tone that would influence screen comedy for decades to come. In fact, it's hard to imagine the Judd Apatow juggernaut without the precedent of CADDYSHACK.
Given its slapdash, 1980 comedy origins, this movie never was a paragon of impressive cinematography. But the VC-1 Blu-ray transfer is by far the best it's ever looked on home video. If you're a fan and own earlier DVD or VHS copies, you'll want to spring for the new disc.
The DTS-HD 5.1 surround tracks make little use of the rear channels. But who cares? The sound is crisp and the jokes come through loud and clear.
No commentary tracks, but the disc includes:
"Caddyshack: The 19th Hole," a 37 minute doc from the 20th anniversary edition that features outtakes, rare footage and interviews with cast and crew.
"Caddyshack: The Inside Story," a new 90 minute featurette that chronicles the drug and alcohol-fueled making of the movie. Fun and insightful.
There are funnier, more consistent, better made comedies than CADDYSHACK. But with its go-for-broke laughs and anarchic tone, there are few as influential.
Caddyshack on Blu-Ray
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