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  • 1.85:1 Widescreen
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  • Original theatrical trailer

How to Get Ahead in Advertising

Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Bruce Robinson
Starring: Richard E. Grant, Rachel Ward, Richard Wilson, Jacqueline Tong, Susan Wooldridge, John Shrapnel
1988 | 94 Minutes | Licensor: Anchor Bay Entertainment

Release Information
DVD | MSRP: $29.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #120 | Out of print
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: July 10, 2001
Review Date: July 20, 2008

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Richard E. Grant is the endlessly suave Dennis Bagley, a high-strung advertising executive whose shoulder sprouts an evil, talking boil. The boil speaks only to Bagley, is silent to the rest of the world, and seems to be growing. This caustic satire reunites the talented team behind the cult classic Withnail and I to create a tour de force of verbal jousting and physical comedy.

Forum members rate this film 7.2/10


Discuss the film and DVD here   


The Criterion edition of How to Get Ahead in Advertising is presented in the aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this single-layered DVD. The image has not been enhanced for widescreen televisions.

The transfer is unfortunately interlaced, which presents all sorts of artifacts, specifically jagged edges and some ghosting. The print used looks pretty good but with a little grain and some damage here and there. The image never looks all that sharp, but Iím not sure if thatís because of the interlaced transfer.

The disc was discontinued after MGM issued their own release. That release presented an anamorphic transfer that I recall being progressive. Unfortunately that release presented some washed out colours. I actually prefer the colours on the Criterion as theyíre brighter and better saturated. Skin tones look more natural and black levels are quite strong.

In the end, though, the transfer on the Criterion is disappointing. Despite the much stronger colours the fact this release is interlaced and non-anamorphic is a real hit against it, and while the MGM may be a little washed, it might be the way to go.


All DVD screen captures are presented in their original size from the source disc. Images have been compressed slightly to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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The film comes with an English Dolby Surround track. It's actually a decent track, with some range. The volume is good and the track is sharp. The track sticks mainly to the front speakers, the surrounds are only used during a couple of sequences, music sneaking back there as well.

Not all that active, but it's a decent track and suits the film fine.



There are no features on this release other than a theatrical trailer, which is also found on the MGM release (which also contains trailers for The Princess Bride, This is Spinal Tap, and When Harry Met Sally,) and this edition also contains an insert with a review for the film by Stanley Kauffmann. A making-of or an interview with director Bruce Robinson or Richard E. Grant would have been a great idea, but alas there is nothing of the sort to be found. The release actually feels like an afterthought, as if just to release another Robinson film along with Withnail and I.



Long discontinued this DVD can at times go for higher prices on online auction sites. But the newer MGM release is the one to go with. While I do prefer the colours on the Criterion edition, the MGM is anamorphic and is also a progressive transfer.

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