QUACKSER FORTUNE HAS A COUSIN IN THE BRONX - DVD review


DeanWink

A few reviews ago, I mentioned my amusement with the title "Quackser Fortune Has A Cousin In The Bronx." I saw this in a preview on one of the previous VCI Home Video discs I had reviewed. Low and behold, the kind folks at VCI saw fit to send me a copy of "Quackser Fortune Has A Cousin In The Bronx." After watching the preview about a man who collects horse manure and with a title like "Quackser Fortune Has A Cousin In The Bronx," how could I not review this title?

After all my hype and anticipation, I finally got time to fit this title into my schedule. Let's just say that I was not disappointed in the least with the film. "Quackser Fortune" is one of the most original romantic comedies I can ever remember seeing. From its long and interesting title to its intriguing premise that has Gene Wilder collecting dung for a living, this title was a fresh breath of air in the DVD jungle. The first half of the film had some absolutely side-splitting moments. Things slowed down and went more for the serious side of things, but the story never stopped being amusing.

In "Quackser Fortune," well-loved actor Gene Wilder plays Quackser. His day consists of pushing a cart around town and collecting horse manure created by the beasts that deliver milk in Dublin. Sometimes, he takes a break to engage in routine sex with Betsy Bourke (Eileen Colgan). Quackser's folks are always on his case about getting a routine job. It has been in the newspapers that the horses will soon be replaced with trucks and that would spell unemployment for Irish lad Quackser. His dad could get him a job in a heartbeat, but Quackser refuses to accept.

Just prior to the horses being shipped off to the glue factory, prior meets an American student named Zazel (Margot Kidder). Their first encounter saw Zazel nearly run him over with her car. This resulted in cart repairs for Quackser and an even stronger distaste in the automobile. Their second meeting saw Zazel on horseback and she delivered an apology to Quackser. This led to Zazel and Quackser agreeing on meeting at the local theater. She stand's poor Quackser up on their date, but manages to apologize. The two find they enjoy each other's company and begin to fall into a romantic relationship.

Soon, the entire world collapses around Quackser. Zazel invites him to a formal function at her school. Quackser goes to the local farmer's market and buys a tux for a few dollars and rides off on his trusty bike to see her. When he arrives, he discovers that Zazel has a boyfriend. The night ends with Zazel and Quackser sharing an intimate night in a hotel room. When he awakens, she is gone. Zazel is on her way to America, and he will never see her again.

Not only is Quackser out of a girlfriend, but he no longer has a job. Just before the dance, the horses were replaced and Quackser agreed to go to work with his father. On the first day of the job, Quackser was unable to get past the venomous timeclock that would have most surely spelt doom. With both the horses and Zazel gone, Quackser agrees to go see a family member who lives in America. He will go live with his cousin in the Bronx. When he tries to contact his cousin, he realizes the cousin is deceased. Quackser just cannot win. And, Quackser Fortune no longer has a cousin in the Bronx.

This really is an enjoyable film, with splendid performances from everybody. Quackser is played wonderfully by the quirky Wilder. Margot Kidder represented the stereotypical American girl of 1970. She is able to convey both the innocence and sexual aggressiveness that her character demands. There are times when the Irish extras are a tad difficult to fully comprehend. The locals that Quackser deals with in daily life are perfectly cast.

The film was given a PG rating and re-released as "Fun Loving." Apparently, the original American distributor of the film did not see the title "Quackser Fortune Has A Cousin In The Bronx" as a strong selling point. I disagree, and the title "Fun Loving" certainly will never be memorable. In today's world, the PG rating would not hold up either. Margot Kidder appears topless for more than a few seconds (A reason for fans of "Superman: The Movie" and Margot Kidder to make this a must own DVD). Wilder also drops the dreaded F-Bomb towards the end of the film.

Video :
"Quackser Fortune Has A Cousin In The Bronx" is presented by VCI in its original 1.66:1 aspect ratio. There is some minor pixelation during the yellow title sequences, and film grain is omnipresent. On the plus side, colors are a bit faded because of the films age, but for the most part, they hold up well and show no signs of chroma noise. Black levels are accurate. The source print used appears to have been in good condition. For a film that is now over thirty years old, the picture has held up more than adequately. Besides, where in a movie can you see a close-up of horse shyte.

Audio :
The film opens with Quackser Fortune" humming along as he gathers his fresh dung. This is an effective and simple start to the film, audibly. The film is more than just dialogue. There was a surprising wealth of ambient sounds and noisy items (such as a teapot) used in the film. The musical score is extremely simple in quality, yet is effective. Sometimes it may remind one of the carnival. Dialogue is clear and understandable, except for a few times when the Irish locals allow their accent to get in the way. This makes it authentic, but difficult to understand. The Dolby Digital Stereo soundtrack holds up throughout the picture.

Extras :
VCI has a pretty standard list of features for most of their non-Special Edition DVDs. "Quackser Fortune" contains them all. Trailers, Previews and Biographies; they are all here. The trailer is interesting and does a very good job marketing the film. Quackser's cousin handles the narration. Gene Wilder has eight pages dedicated to his biography and filmography, while Margot Kidder weighs in at four. VCI has included previews for other videos they sell. These previews are for "The Secrets of the Millennium" available on DVD in a box set or individually. The disc also contains the VCI Home Video web site and can be viewed on PCs equipped with a DVD-ROM drive.

Summary :
"Horse Manure, Fresh Dung!" This does not describe the film at all. "Quackser Fortune Has A Cousin In The Bronx" is one of the most original titles in the history of cinema. The film holds true to its title and is easily one of the most original romantic comedies I have ever seen. Gene Wilder and Margot Kidder are splendid in this little film about an Irish boy who collects horse manure for a living, but is near the end of his career as the horses that deliver his raw materials are about to be retired permanently.

VCI Home Video has done well in delivering this quirky little title to the small screen. The transfer is first-rate for a film of this variety. Not many supplements were provided with this DVD release, but the $14.98 asking price is definitely not too much to ask for when it comes to owning "Quackser Fortune Has A Cousin In The Bronx." I highly recommend this title for anybody who is looking for something different than the latest Meg Ryan / Tom Hanks romantic comedy.

Ratings

Video
8
Audio
8
Extras
2
Film Value
9