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Corvette Summer (Blu-ray Review)

Warner Archive Collection has delivered a nice little surprise this month in the form of 1978’s Corvette Summer. Or for many years as people knew it “That movie Mark Hamill did after Star Wars”. The film didn’t quite strike with audiences that year and had a weird reputation, but I’ll argue that its kinda sorta worth another look. Not that its some forgotten  or unappreciated gem from 41 years ago, but moreso that its a perfectly fine film and not this dreadful thing its reputation would have you thinking about it. Plus, Annie Potts rules in this movie and you should check her out at least. The film made its way on June 18th, though it looks like the initial run might be out, so you’ll have to wait on the second wave to order. There is a link you can do something with below, but in the meantime, check out this review or you can hear me discuss the film on the Forgotten Films podcast a few years back by clicking HERE.

Film 

Well before Pee-wee had his big adventure seeking a stolen red bicycle, Mark Hamill set off on a cross-country trek in pursuit of a kidnapped customized red sports car. Hot off Star Wars, Hamill jumped straight into seventies hot rod reinvention in this movie quest adventure flavored by Corman flicks. Annie Potts co-stars as a wanna-be streetwalker who can’t make the cut. And the Stingray’s steak has more sizzle than ever in this ready-for-summer candy apple.

There was a time where Mark Hamill had this stigma about his career never getting beyond Star Wars and that he was some kind of failure or warning story in being part of big iconic series or role. Corvette Summer was dominantly seen as this “other movie” he did following Star Wars and it being a complete failure. Here’s the thing, those believing or saying that simply weren’t paying attention to Hamill and just because he didn’t have a megastardom career like Harrison Ford doesn’t mean he wasn’t very successful. He’s actually had quite the career, a colorful one, and thankfully people have finally come around and seen it much more than they used to.

Hamill is who he is in Corvette Summer, a young actor in one of his first leads taking the film seriously and trying what he can to explore more comedic chops. However, while he is the one curiosity will have you checking out the movie for, this film completely belongs to Annie Potts. She absolutely owns this movie and feeds us a fun well rounded character that you’ll have a hard time not having a crush on leaving this movie. Potts has had a great career herself, but how she never became a megastar is baffling to this day, especially when checking her out here in one of her launching roles

Corvette Summer as a whole is pretty all right. It has its moments both in comedy and character. I wouldn’t say its a classic by any means, but it sure is better than its reputation may suggest to you. It may drag a little here and be about 10 minutes too long, but it never checks you out or makes you constantly check your watch. There is fun to be had here and some solid characters to care about here, with good developments and portrayals to get this working. If you’re ever the slightest bit curious, take a chance on it and make it a drive-in double feature another road movie of the era (This actually might go good with a Cheech and Chong movie oddly enough).

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: While the box states the film is presented at 1.85:1, it is actually 1.78:1 for the presentation. Warner Archive Collection’s transfer of the film is a thing of beauty here. It feels like watching a nice print of the film at a theater. It has a nice healthy bit of complimentary grain. Details are pretty strong in a crisped and textured image.

Depth:  Good depth of field here with a nice pushback and good spacing between foreground and background. Movements are cinematic with no issues of distortion during any rapid moving moments.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and carry a little more grain look to darker scenes, shadow or surfaces. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors turn out pretty bold and strong on the image. Reds really juice up the screen, but many of the more yellow, brown and orange 1970s things do too. The colors really display a strong, full and flush look to them, helping the image to more or less come off the screen better.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish. Facial features like stubble, sweat, dirt, moles and make-up texture come through quite well from any reasonable distance.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH

Dynamics: The two channel mono mix is pretty solid and a fine accompaniment to the transfer. Its a bet light on the low frequency areas but the mix does have good layering and depth to be able to pull off an effective experience. Sure it doesn’t have oompf, but this is a chit chatty movie, focusing on conversation first and foremost and lands that with good effect and results

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and pretty crisp. Dialogue is what this movie heavily relies on and it more than does the trick with great results.

Extras 

Trailer (HD, 2:44)

Summary 

Corvette Summer is a solid little road trip breezy comedy from another era that still works in some decent ways and is more than that “other Mark Hamill movie from the 70s.” Warner Archive Collection debuts a pretty legit presentation here with really zero reasonable complaints to be found in the image or the audio. Extras are kept to just a trailer as expected, but the win here is getting the best presentation of the film ever available. An easy pickup for fans of the film, Mark Hamill enthusiasts or those curious about some of the more forgotten films of the 1970s.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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