Hitchcock’s “Strangers On A Train” has always been one of my favorite films from that era. It was perfect Hitch. Danny DeVito and Billy Crystal are two of Hollywood’s best comic actors… so it is no surprise that I would fall hard for a “Strangers” parody by these comedic wonders. There is nothing spectacular about this film, but it is one of those simple little pleasures that come along from time to time that is just effortless to view.
Larry (Crystal) is a writer and teacher. His wife (Mulgrew) takes credit for his work and becomes a rich jet setter while he struggles to get by. Owen is a writer wannabe who is taking a class from Larry. When Owen hears Larry wish his wife dead he fantasizes a trade where he kills Larry’s wife while Larry kills his overbearing mother (Ramsey).Owen now has to convince Larry to fulfill his end of the deal.
The film is presented with a pretty much straightforward Dolby Digital 2.0 audio mix. Don’t look for anything aggressive or too dynamic here. Dialogue is really what this film offers and in most cases it is fine and easy to understand. There is a bit of high end distortion at times, particularly when Ramsey is delivering her trademark gruffness. Lows are equally undynamic and I had to double check to see if my sub was even powered up.
Throw Momma from the Train is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Once again there’s nothing spectacular here. The transfer is unremarkable. There are quite a few instances of film artifact and score marks evident throughout the film. Colors are rather flat most of the time. Darks are the best thing about the film if it were not for excessive grain. The entire look is quite dated but still watchable.
It is apparent that not much money was spared on this minor release. Along with the below average mastering there is not really much of a grab bag of extras. The trailer is in horrible shape. The deleted scenes are the only true gems available. Menus are simple but easy to navigate.
Watching this film again reminded me that future blockbuster producer Barry Sonnenfeld of Men In Black fame worked as a cinematographer on this film. The disc is worth it if you’re happy watching Crystal and DeVito spar. If you’re looking for anything spectacular you might want to skip this one. Honestly what more could you want? “We’ve got a train, we’ve got moonlight, we’ve got compatible body parts.”