The Secret of My Success The Secret of My Success
Presented in 1.85:1 widescreen
2.0 Dolby Digital Surround
Film Highlights
Theatrical Trailer
Production Notes
Talent Bios
Captioned in English
Subtitled in Spanish
Universal Web Links

1987
111 Minutes
Rated: PG-13
Catalog #: 20412
Amaray Keep Case Packaging
Average Bitrate: 5.21Mb/s

A RASTAR Production  A HERBERT ROSS Film  MICHAEL J. FOX  "THE SECRET OF MY SUCCESS"
HELEN SLATER  RICHARD JORDAN  MARGARET WHITTON
Screenplay by JIM CASH & JACK EPPS, JR. and AJ CAROTHERS  Story by AJ CAROTHERS
Music by DAVID FOSTER  Executive Producer DAVID CHASMAN
Produced and Directed by HERBERT ROSS


Brantly Foster (Michael J. Fox) is determined to make a splash in New York. Fresh out of college, he leaves the family farm and heads off to seek his fortune and a "meaningful encounter with a beautiful woman." Once in New York, he loses his job and sets off in search of a new one. Desperate, he contacts Uncle Howard Prescott, president of Pemrose Corporation, successfully bidding for a job - in the mail room. His eagerness to move beyond the mail room soon has him digging through corporate memos and stock reports and being seduced by the wife of one of the executives. What a surprise to find out the woman is his Uncle's wife - and his aunt. With a bit of luck, and he manages to pass himself off as a new executive at the company under the name Carlton Whitfield. Carlton is a bright, young business man who sees the oncoming hostile takeover of Pemrose as an opportunity to expand the company. He must convince Christy Wells (Helen Slater), that expansion is the key to fighting off the takeover rather than cutting costs. Trying to stay one step ahead of his mail room supervisor, pursuing his career as Carlton Whitfield, staying out of his aunt's bed and getting into Christy's are just a few of the secrets to his success.


Universal's new widescreen transfer, available for the first time on video in the proper aspect ratio of 1.85:1, is sharp and colorful. Previous transfers of the film were muddied and overly dark. These errors are all corrected, restoring the fine image details of the theatrical image. The outdoor photography at the house in the country is visually stunning in its scope and the vivid colors are at last represented properly. An anamorphic transfer may have improved the image, but this transfer is glorious none the less.

There is one flaw however, which is present throughout the film. Fine details which are offset by the surrounding image by sharp contrast or brightness tend to blink and flicker. For example, the light reflecting off the uprights of a brass desklamp; the sharp edge of a glass door held open which catches the overhead lighting. It can be very distracting. This appears to be an effect of the pre-encode filtering rather than a compression artifact or defect in the transfer. The same type of blinking is present on several other Universal titles including The Day of the Jackal. The affect also can be seen in other areas of the film. An example is at 32:50 in the film, when Brantly looks through the slats of the pool house window up to the mansion where his uncle is crossing the yard. A close examination of the branches and leaves of the large tree on the left of the screen will show the entire tree shimmer and shake. The bitrate at the time takes a sharp spike from 4.75mb to 6.25mb within just a matter of seconds, but the detail is still lost.

The Dolby Surround soundtrack is crisp and well defined. The dynamic range is full, capturing all the low ends of the pop soundtrack and the subtleness of David Foster's score.

The menu system utilized by Universal is now standard fair for their DVD titles. Available under the bonus features menu are talent bios for the four major actors and the director. Universal has also included both the teaser and theatrical trailers, presented back to back off a single button. Web Links are also available and can be utilized by loading the disc into a DVD drive equipped PC.


The currently available LaserDisc edition was released in 1988. It is a full screen transfer and is overall both softer and darker in image. The soundtrack is also a bit muted when compared to this DVD edition. This new DVD edition is head and shoulders above anything previously available. A personal "guilty pleasure", I only wish the title did not experience the visual problems which are present. Other than this drawback, The Secret of My Success is a light-hearted, fun romp up the corporate ladder and a treat on DVD.


Updated: November 4, 1998
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