Release Date(s)1980 (September 13, 2016)
Studio(s)20th Century Fox (Twilight Time)
- Film/Program Grade: B
- Video Grade: B+
- Audio Grade: B
- Extras Grade: A
[Editor’s Note: The film portion of this review is by Dan Kelly, while the A/V disc comments are by Bill Hunt.]
“If you ever say another word about me or make another indecent proposal, I’m gonna get that gun of mine, and I’m gonna change you from a rooster to a hen with one shot!”
9 to 5 came along at the right place and time, and struck a chord with moviegoers. Most of us have worked for, or known someone, like Franklin Hart (played devilishly here by Dabney Coleman). He’s the type of man that will always refer to grown women as girls, and expects the nearest woman to refill his coffee cup on demand. In the words of the three lead women, he’s a “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot.” Nearly everyone in the office is tired of his heavy-handed, misogynistic management style. Doralee (Dolly Parton) is his personal secretary, and he bends over backwards to play childish tricks just to sneak a peek at her cleavage. Violet (Lily Tomlin) trained Hart when he first joined Consolidated Companies and watched him leapfrog his way to the top. And then there’s Judy (Jane Fonda, playing dowdy in one mean wig) – the naive, newly divorced newbie who’s not yet clued into Hart’s games.
One night, following a pot-induced munchie fest, the three bond when they share their ideal ways of offing their conniving boss. Unbeknownst to “the girls,” they’ll get the chance to enact their fantasies much sooner than they’d ever imagined, and run things at work the way they want. It’s at this time, about halfway through the film, that 9 to 5 switches from comic social commentary to revenge fantasy. The transition isn’t as smooth as it should be, but the comic potency of the first hour of the film, and the considerable charm and talent of the cast, forgives some of the misstepping of the film’s resolution.
Twilight presents the film on Blu-ray in 1080p HD at the proper 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio. Image clarity is excellent, with good detail at nearly all times (other than a few shots that are a bit soft optically). Contrast is good, with mostly deep blacks and nice shadow detailing. Colors are fine too, a bit on the warm side but always natural looking and with nice saturation and accuracy. Audio is included on the disc in English 2.0 stereo and 1.0 mono in DTS-HD Master Audio format, with optional English SDH subtitles. The stereo mix is most appealing, with improved clarity and fullness, and a somewhat wider soundstage than the original mono. There are no age-related defects to be heard on either track, and the film’s score (not to mention Dolly Parton’s iconic title track) sounds great.
The good news for fans is that Twilight’s new Blu-ray edition carries over all of the existing extras from Fox’s 2006 Sexist, Egotistical, Lying, Hypocritical Bigot Edition DVD, including the original audio commentary (with producer Bruce Gilbert and actors Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dolly Parton), 2 featurettes (Nine @ 24: Revisiting a Comedy Classic and Remembering Colin Higgins – SD – 24:37 and 4:42, respectively), 10 deleted scenes (now in HD, a nice touch – 22:51 in all), the gag reel (SD – 11:37), Singing Nine to Five Karaoke, and the original theatrical trailer (SD – 1:41). To this, Twilight has added an isolated score track (in 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio), a new audio commentary (with screenwriter Patricia Resnick and film historians Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman), interviews with Dolly Parton and Lily Tomlin (excerpted from a piece called Celebrating Colin: A View from the Other Side – SD – 20:39 in all), and an Animation Reel (SD – 5:35). Honestly, that’s a better batch of special features than I think anyone could reasonably have expected for this film on Blu-ray and the new material is both worthy and welcome.
9 to 5 is a different experience today than when it was first released. The core theme of the movie is more relevant than ever, but watching the film now is almost like opening up a time capsule. Here we have an open area office filled with hundreds of desks (no cubicle walls), an actual punch time card machine, and no computers. All that’s missing are the rotary phones. With that in mind, Twilight’s new Blu-ray edition is a great way to watch the film. It easily replaces any other versions you may have and adds much new bonus content to what’s already been created. Best of all, even after 36 years, this film is still a lot of fun.
- Dan Kelly and Bill Hunt