Stephen King's Cat's Eye [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray ALL - Australia - Umbrella Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: James-Masaki Ryan (26th November 2017).
The Film

"Stephen King's Cat's Eye" (1985)

A wandering supernatural feline's adventures provide the linking story for "Stephen King's Cat's Eye", a dead on trilogy scripted by King and directed by Lewis Teague. The staff at Quitters Inc promises to help nicotine fiend Dick Morrison (James Woods) kick the habit. If not, someone in Morrison's household might get smoked... because QI is run by a very persuasive mob family. Next, a luckless gambler (Robert Hays) is forced into a bet involving a stroll around a building - on the five-inch ledge encircling the 30th floor. Finally, our wayfarer kitty rescues a schoolgirl (Drew Barrymore) from a vile, doll-sized troll. Fan of the works of Stephen King will have fun finding the many references to his other projects throughout the film.

Adaptations of Stephen King's literary works proved to be smashes, as "Carrie" (1976), "The Shining" (1980), "Christine" (1983), "The Children of the Corn" (1984), and many more have proved to stay continued classics. In 1982 King collaborated with director George A. Romero for "Creepshow, an anthology of five short stories written by King specifically for the screen rather than adaptations of his books. "Cat's Eye" would take a similar approach by having three short stories written by King and having a minor connection between each - the titular cat.

The first story is "Quitters, Inc." which originally appeared in the King short stories collection "Night Shift" is a creepy and darkly humorous tale of paranoia from the effects of trying to quit smoking. Similar to "The Game" in that the audience and the main character is not sure who to trust or if some of these things are "real" or not, and even in the dinner party scene there is an appearance by James Rebhorn as the man who offers Woods' character a cigarette, and he would later play the lead manipulator in "The Game" in bizarre foreshadowing casting. James Woods is excellent as usual in a role that is both comedic in the early scenes and nearly out of control in the latter scenes. While the story doesn't have a very satisfying conclusion it does effectively set up the paranoia throughout the short.

Second is "The Ledge" which was also part of "Night Shift". There are no monsters or paranoid men in this but instead is an out of luck indebted gambler that is dug himself into a hole by having an affair with the wife of a crime boss. But the boss will let him off easy as well as grant the cheating wife a divorce - if the gambler walks outside a building ledge 30 stories high as he is berated with insults and other things to have his concentration broken. It's torturous, dangerous, and very darkly amusing and the exchanges between the two men are not too much on the hostile side (or is it torturous like the "Hostel" side), and this certainly has a memorable and satisfying conclusion.

Last there is "General", which was specifically written for the film by King. The cat went from the offices of Quitters, Inc to the 30th floor highrise in Atlantic City, to finally a suburban house in North Carolina to meet a little girl who is being terrorized by a miniature troll in her bedroom, which her parents obviously do not believe. The last story is possibly the weakest one, as it moves into the territory of a child's nightmare rather than the more adult oriented first two tales. What is impressive is the visual effects used to create the troll to fight the cat using big-ature setpieces, forced perspective shots, and lighting effects to create the memorable set. Drew Barrymore was coming off of the massive hit that was "E.T." in 1983 and the adaptation of the Stephen King novel "Firestarter" in 1984.

Director Lewis Teague previously adapted Stephen King's "Cujo" for the screen and did a fairly excellent job with "Cat's Eye" by incorporating the darkly humorous aspects, and the twice used "Every Breath You Take" for the first and last stories give obvious laughs for full effect. In addition, famed cinematographer Jack Cardiff lensed the production and it certainly looks amazing visually. The soundtrack was also a highlight being scored by Alan Silvestri, though his work on another 1985 production "Back to the Future" would be the more memorable one.

"Cat's Eye" was not a huge success at the box office with $13 million grossed on a budget of $7 million. Though like "Creepshow" and many other King penned works the life has been stronger on home video and television, which kept "Cat's Eye" in the public... eye.

Note this is a region ALL Blu-ray which can play back on any Blu-ray player worldwide

Video

Umbrella Entertainment presents the film in 1080p in the AVC MPEG-4 codec, in the original theatrical 2.35:1 aspect ratio. In 2016 the US rightsholder Warner Brothers remastered the film from the interpositive element in 2K for their Blu-ray release, and the Australian Umbrella Entertainment Blu-ray seems to use the same remaster. The film looks visually impressive though blue tones seem to be a bit heavy. Though the slightly cold tone does give it a bit of a sinister feeling which works well. Detail is great with film grain intact and there are no issues such as damage to be found in the visual transfer.

The film's runtime is 94:19.

Audio

English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo
The original stereo track is offered in lossless 2.0. While only a 2.0 track rather than a full surround track, there are surprising good amounts of directional use with the music and effects in the track. Music sounds wonderful, from Silvestri's score to "Every Breath You Take" and "Twist and Shout", while the dialogue is evenly balanced in the middle. There are no audio errors such as scratches or pops in the track. An excellent restoration.

There are no subtitles for the feature.

Extras

"Johnny Norris on the Ledge: Robert Hays Remembers Cat's Eye" featurette (27:34)
Robert Hays gives an exclusive interview with Umbrella Entertainment regarding his memories of the film shoot. He talks about the success of "Airplane!" giving a huge career boost, memories of some of the difficulties shooting on set including a rib injury, being in awe of working with Cardiff, and stories on Teague's direction.
in 1080i 60hz AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

"Like Herding Cats: A Conversation with Animal Trainer Teresa Ann Miller" featurette (7:37)
In this Umbrella Entertainment exclusive, Teresa Ann Miller discusses her job as an animal trainer for films, continuing the work her father Karl Miller did. Only 19 years old on her first job with "Cat's Eye" she shares her memories of the shoot and how they did some of the training for the cat, dog, and even pigeon for the film.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

Theatrical Trailer (1:34)
The American theatrical trailer is presented here. A little blurry and cropped from the original version.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles


As stated, the US Blu-ray was released by Warner Brothers in 2016 and that contained a commentary by Lewis Teague and the Theatrical Trailer. While unfortunate that Umbrella could not license the commentary track, it is thankful they created exclusive extras of their own.

Packaging

The packaging claims that the disc is locked to region B but it is in fact a region ALL Blu-ray.
The inlay is reversible, with the alternate artwork not having the Australian "M" classification on the front, and the other side having the original theatrical poster.

Overall

"Cat's Eye" may not be in the classic pantheon of many other Stephen King adaptations to film, it certainly has its positives and continues to be a cult classic. Umbrella Entertainment presents the film with an excellent transfer in video and audio plus having exclusive interview extras. Recommended.

The Film: B Video: A- Audio: A- Extras: B- Overall: B+

 


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