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Blu-Ray Review: Kino Lorber’s Salt and Pepper/One More Time (KL Studio Classics)  

Salt and Pepper

Sammy Davis Jr and Peter Lawford star in this KL Studio Classics Double Feature Blu-RaySalt and Pepper and its sequel One More Time

The Films

Salt and Pepper

Before there was Austin Powers, Dr. Evil, and the team up of Reggie Hammond & Jack Cates, and Riggs & Murtagh.  There was Salt & Pepper. The Richard Donner-directed buddy comedy is the blueprint for not only his Lethal Weapon series but so much more.  

Soho Club Owners Salt (Sammy Davis Jr) and Pepper (Peter Lawford) are cads about town that are the proverbial kings of the 1960s swinging London. The fun can’t even be contained by being framed for murder or getting mixed up in a supervillain’s nefarious plans to take over Britain.  Though many try, the feline-like luck and drunken master style of always being off-kilter, is too much for anyone to win over Salt and Pepper.

Fun is the order of the day.  Director Donner understands it’s better to just move out of the way of his two stars and let the comedic fireworks happen.  The script by Michael Pertwee is lighter than air and gives enough room to allow Davis and Lawford to do their thing.  The film’s success rests on their shoulders, but never feels like there are true stakes but… that isn’t the point.  

Much like the Rat Packs version of Ocean’s 11, the film rests on the charms of its leads and how an audience feels about them.  That said, Salt and Pepper is an utter delight and charming entry into the Buddy Comedy pantheon.  

One More Time

What could have been an equally charming and arresting Buddy Comedy, like its predecessor Salt and Pepper, has far too many cliches and falters under the weight of its own narrative tricks.  

Salt (Davis) and Pepper (Lawford) are back this time, it’s personal.  When Pepper is murdered it’s up to Salt to figure out why?  With the help of Pepper’s twin brother (he’s actually not his twin but Pepper) Salt attempts to solve the crime.  Enter bad guys, world domination, and for good measure Christopher Lee’s Dracula and Peter Crushing’s Van Helsing to boot… don’t worry though Salt figures out Pepper’s ruse and everything turns out for the best… queue Davis and Lawford speaking to the audience about another film. 

The film loses all its momentum as soon as they fake the death of Pepper and allows the audience into the ruse.  There is no narrative heart to the film at all when this plot device is put into effect.  At that point, we wait with bored anticipation for Salt to figure out this plot trickery.  When it does turn the film at least gains the charm of its stars unencumbered by the plot mechanics invented by screenwriter Michael Pertwee.  

Director Jerry Lewis, like Richard Donner, gets out of the way of his stars allowing them to do what they do best.  That is before and after the plot mechanics are resolved.  Though the middle hour is as insufferable as the worst of the Rat Pack’s filmography (there are some real stinkers amongst their work) including a completely unnecessary “sad bastard” musical number performed by Davis. 

One wishes that the filmmakers had stuck to what worked so well in the original – the star’s charm and interplay – and dumped the twisty and very unnecessary plot.  One More Time isn’t Salt and Pepper but when it does work it works as well as the original.  

The Transfers

Though only one has a brand-new transfer (One More Time) both are beautiful upgrades to Blu-Ray that Kino Lorber has released.  Each of the transfers is handsome and sharp while retaining that specific look of late 1960s technicolor releases.  The grain structure and color reproduction are the stars here with the films both respectively looking glamorously perfect in high definition.  Classic film fans will be overjoyed with the work done here to bring these two comedies to Blu-ray.  Bravo Kino Lorber.  

The Extras 

They include the following;

  • TRAILERS FROM HELL (SALT AND PEPPER) with Larry Karaszewski
  • Theatrical Trailers

TRAILERS FROM HELL with Larry Karaszewski (3:18) – the Man on the Moon screenwriter provides a charming and informative micro-commentary for the trailer of not only the original but he does discuss its sequel as well. 

Rounding out the special features are a collection of trailers that include Salt and Pepper (2:54), One More Time (2:39), Anna Lucasta (1:50), Rosebud (2:41), Texas Across the River (2:43)

The Final Thought 

This double feature set is an utter delight, especially for those that are fans of the films.  Recommended!!! 

Kino Lorber’s blu-ray edition of Salt and Pepper/One More Time is out July 19th