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Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles on DVD

Hughes, Martin, Candy Floss

Steve Martin embarks on the trip home from hell in John Hughes' relatively wild ride. Martin is Neal Page, an ad executive whose plan is to fly home to Chicago from New York for the Thanksgiving holiday. Unfortunately, the stars appear to be against him, whether it be scheduling conflicts, weather, whackos, or just plain bad luck.

His nemesis is Del Griffith, played to the hilt by the late John Candy. Griffith is like the proverbial bad penny, always coming back to Page at the most inopportune moments.

Or that's how it seems, anyway. As it turns out, Griffith's appearances are sometimes almost welcome, because he knows people and knows how to pull in favors.

It takes Page a while to figure this out, however. Initially, Del's just a real pain in the neck, whether he's inadvertently stealing Page's NYC taxi, condemning him to a airline flight in which he gets jabbered at incessantly- or just being his natural abrasive self.

Their odyssey takes them everywhere but Chicago, it seems, and into a love-hate relationship that, by movie's end, looks as if it could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. That's because at heart, Neal Page is a tight assed twit and Griffith is a "real live person" and both of them begin to understand that they can learn from each other.

Martin and Candy are both terrific in this film, and it appears as if they had a wonderful time making it. We can only imagine the retakes as they broke each other up on the set.

The DVD is presented in widescreen, and it's enhanced for the 16x9 TV's so it fills the screen properly without having to resort to the "zoom" control. Picture quality is very good; it looks a tad grainy, but this gives it a more "film-like" appearance than it detracts from the overall enjoyment. Audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 and, though there isn't a lot of surround information, the quality of the sound is fine. This isn't a big, widescreen extravaganza so you don't mind if the floor doesn't rattle when the trains go by.

You don't get a lot of extras; just the usual chapter stops stops and subtitles.

Plains Trains and Automobiles, from Paramount Home Video
92 min. Widescreen (1.85:1) 16x9 compatible, Dolby Digital
Starring Steve Martin, John Candy
Written, Produced, and Directed by John Hughes.


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Updated May 13, 2006