FATAL ATTRACTION was a first-time viewing for this moviegoer, having being way too young and age inappropriate to watch this in the 1980s and then just kind of slipping through the cracks of my watch-list over the decades. It was even one that my parents would even scare me away and ban me from watching as a kid, just in case I wanted to slip down to the video store and rent it on my own behalf. Every now and then I get a reminder of FATAL ATTRACTION and I kept putting it on my watch list, and now finally with a 35th anniversary 4k disc release, here we are.
Dan (Michael Douglas) and Beth (Anne Archer) are a happily married couple and very successful, but then Alex (Glenn Close) comes along at a party and messes everything up. BIG TIME. Adultery, betrayal, stalking, hot sex that pushes the boundaries of the R-rating, you name it. This movie swings for the fence and boy did it keep me riveted even though some of the movie’s ethics are dated compared today. Still, what a ride.
And even with a somewhat questionable finale, I was hooked for the entire running time by what would happen and all of the horrors of Dan and Alex’s war. It sure does get violent and certainly pushed the R-rating even for 1987. Even with a few quibbles here (like how I find Anne Archer one of the most insanely beautiful women of 80s cinema and I would never cheat on her if I was in Dan’s situation) and there I still overall enjoyed FATAL ATTRACTION, flaws and all.
Some of the elements have dated and yet overall a lot of the horrors and instinctive fears of this storytelling still hold up. Adrian Lyne also was one filmmaker who sure knew how to tell a story with a lot of great suggestive energy. It’s great to see that he is STILL at it too with a new movie, called DEEP WATER, still unseen by me, now in release on Amazon Prime in Canada and Hulu in the USA.
About the 4k Release:
Paramount has put together an overall solid presentation of FATAL ATTRACTION and for my first viewing, it was great to get to see the movie as close as possible to its original theatrical release. If I only have one minor quibble is that the 4k transfer is in the 16×9 “full screen” instead of its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio so the sides are cropped ever so slightly, which has been happening with a few Paramount releases in the last year. Apparently this is sourced from a Paramount Presents Blu Ray release from 2020 but even so I am finding the proper theatrical aspect ratio more and more important these days, especially in restoration work, in that you really need to have the image to be exactly the same to the theatrical presentation, right down to the number. With my rant aside, it’s a very good looking image with some very good black level at times. The colours are somewhat muted by intention and there’s a very lived-in feel at times but very close to the original 35mm photography.
The soundtrack is Dolby True HD and does have a 80s, Dolby Stereo vibe to it with very minimal surrounds and most of the dramatic action in the front channels. It works very well and I know I use the term “a product of its time” well, but it’s very true here. Definitely not something to show off your home theater system to, however.
The features are all on the Blu Ray, which is very usual for these releases. The Apple TV code redeems to 4k Dolby Vision, which is always nice. The big feature here that I was interested in was a “legacy” bonus feature by way of an alternate ending which is far more bleak and anti-climactic and yet when you see this, you also think of the likely studio interference that enforced changing the movie for more mainstream audiences. I still think I’m going to stick with the original ending line in the sand, mind you, and I only wish I could have heard the reaction in theatres.
The full list of special features:
- Filmmaker Focus – Adrian Lyne discusses Fatal Attraction
- Audio Commentary – featuring Adrian Lyne
- Rehearsal Footage
- Alternate Ending – with an introduction by Adrian Lyne.
FATAL ATTRACTION is now available on 4k disc and Digital. Our thanks to Paramount Canada for sending along a copy for review.