This is a funny and charming film with a great cast and witty politically-aimed subtext of characters, attitudes and circumstance expressed that has fresh resonance today. Starring Dick Van Dyke and featuring Bob Newhart, Pippa Scott, Tom Poston, comedy team Bob & Ray and even venerated 1930's and 40's character actor Edward Everett Horton, there are also other wonderful actors aboard such as Jean Stapleton, Bernard Hughes, Vincent Gardenia and many others in supporting roles.
The film story involves a small, depressed midwestern town which, having lost it's former Air Force Base and attendant civilian employment, jumps at the chance to win 25 million dollars cynically offered by a tobacco company's sales advisor (Newhart) as a PR gag to any town that can give up smoking for one month. They are rallied by the town's minister (Van Dyke) and the barber/mayor (Gardenia) to go for the prize, and a small world of comic unrest ensues.
This film has a number of milestones going for it— among them, Norman Lear's feature directorial debut, Randy Newman's first film score, Pippa Scott's cinematic return, and Edward Everett Horton's final film role.
Not enthusiastically released by it's studio in 1971, and subsequently sold to the home market only in pan-and-scan versions on VHS and Laser Disc, this is, I believe, the first time it has been available on DVD.
Unfortunately, this made-to-order-by-request DVD from Amazon is technically flawed. The print, while full wide screen, is dark and a bit dirty in places. Much worse is the sound track, which consists of a faux stereo re-formatting that is out-of-phase, causing any extended sound efx, sound ambiences, and most of the music scoring to sound as though they were coming out of a garden hose. Adding injury to insult, this out-of-phase track is mid-panned and duplicated on both channels, making it impossible
to even listen to one clear mono track from either channel.
And so, "Cold Turkey" has again regrettably and undeservedly gotten another bad release. Hopefully, Amazon will note my above remarks and remedy the situation with whomever unskilled bozo techs were subcontracted to make this DVD. Consider
this my sincere appeal to order the simple tech fixes necessary to present this show as it deserves to be seen. And if you read this, Mr. Lear, please follow suit and complain loudly. Your film is a worthwhile little gem. Thank you, Tom P. Bullock