The Accidental Tourist (1988)

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Released 15-Feb-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Introduction-Lawrence Kasdan (Director)
Audio Commentary-Geena Davis-Select Scenes
Featurette-It's Like Life
Deleted Scenes
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-James Dean Collection
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1988
Running Time 116:11
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Lawrence Kasdan

Warner Home Video
Starring William Hurt
Kathleen Turner
Geena Davis
Amy Wright
David Ogden Stiers
Ed Begley Jr.
Bill Pullman
Robert Hy Gorman
Bradley Mott
Seth Granger
Amanda Houck
Caroline Houck
London Nelson
Case ?
RPI $9.95 Music Frankie Adams
Wilbur Jones
John Williams

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

Lawrence Kasdanís name is synonymous with cinema, as he is a prolific writer, producer and director. Kasdan has been involved in numerous film productions such as The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Return of the Jedi (1983), The Big Chill (1983), The Bodyguard (1992), Wyatt Earp (1994) and many others. However, it would be The Accidental Tourist (1988) which would be his most critically acclaimed production. At the 1989 Academy Awards The Accidental Tourist (1988) was nominated for Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Original Score and earned Geena Davis a Best Actress in a Supporting Role Oscar.

The Accidental Tourist (1988) is based on the Anne Tyler novel of the same name and the production is predominately faithful to her bitter-sweet and intricate novel detailing the complexities of ordinary people in extraordinary situations.

William Hurt inhabits the role of Macon Leary, an eccentric writer of travel guides. Since the death of his young son, a murder victim, Macon Leary has embodied an impassive individual preventing himself from grieving and emotionally paralysing himself. His wife Sarah Leary (Kathleen Turner) on the other hand is expressive, livid and saddened by the sudden loss of her only son and decides to leave Macon as he is unable to mourn his son and emotionally support her .

Alone and isolated, Macon tries to focus on his work but finds himself bemused by his dog trainer Muriel Pritchett (Geena Davis). Muriel Pritchett is a breath of fresh air for Macon as she openly flirts and is seemingly more peculiar then he is. Their relationship slowly and delicately develops but soon enough Maconís wife Sarah decides they should give their marriage another chance. Macon has to choose between a decided past with Sarah and an unknown future with Muriel.

The Accidental Tourist (1988) is a delicate film which is defined by the brilliant performances by the three leads. Hurt is astonishing as a wounded man unable to express himself - in many scenes he is silent and can only express himself with a minor glace and facial expression. Davis embodies her character with enthusiasm and allows her character to be more then a superficial love interest. Turner excels as her character genuinely wants to be at peace but is unable to comprehend the needless death of her son.

Personally I enjoyed the sub-plot which involves Maconís publisher Julian (Bill Pullman) who is fascinated and instantly falls in love with Maconís sister Rose (Amy Wright). In a few well written scenes their relationship is precisely depicted and multi-faceted. Pullman and Wrightís performance are on par with the leads.

Lawrence Kasdan direction is also commendable as each scene is important and heartfelt and his earnest script (co-written by Frank Galati) is equally commendable, featuring some memorable and honest dialogue which will remain with the audience. This is a unique bitter-sweet comedy which features characters that are warm and full of humanity and contradictions - they could be people you know. The film has a similar tone to The Big Chill (1983) and Grand Canyon (1991) which is also directed by Kasdan.

Highly recommended.

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Transfer Quality


The film is presented in 2.35:1 Widescreen and it is 16x9 enhanced.

The film utilises a muted palette of colour - even the scenes which are set in Paris are noticeably drab, further developing Maconís outlook. Flashback scenes are also monotonous and are of an otherworldly quality.

The unique look of the film is presented quite well. The transfer is sharp and while it isnít artefact free it is quite clean bearing in mind the film is almost twenty years old. As mentioned light plays an important role in the film as most scenes have a soft quality, especially the flashback sequences, and overall the shadow detail is satisfactory.

The transfer is encoded at an average bitrate of 4.96 Mb/s and minor compression is visible but not distracting and the subtitles are visible and true to the on-screen dialogue.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


This is a dialogue driven film and there are no major issues regarding the Dolby Surround 2.0 track. Unfortunetly this isn't as encompassing soundtrack as it is mostly directed at the front soundstage of the sound field.

The track has no audio synchronisation issues and John Williams' whimsical and subdued score is well suited to the nature of the film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



Kasdan has not provided a commentary to any of his films on DVD so it is nice to hear his thoughts in this short segment. At a length of 3:15 Kasdan is unable to detail any issues but he does speak of his own motivations regarding the production of the film and briefly discusses why he believes The Accidental Tourist (1988) is a hit with audiences.

Audio Commentary

The combined scenes of the scene-specific commentary by Geena Davis run at a length of 33.48. The scenes Davis comments on are mostly to do with the development of Muriel Pritchett. Davis speaks in length of her own input and decisions regarding the look and costumes of Pritchett and speaks warmly and with fondness regarding the production and cast and crew.


This conventional feature at the length of 13:03 utilises mostly vintage interviews with selective cast. Discussion mostly focuses on the screenplay and character motivations.

Deleted Scenes

A selection of deleted scenes clocking in at 37:50 is the most remarkable extra as a number of 'lifted' scenes reveal important details regarding the decisions the characters make. A subplot was also deleted which also adds depth to Pritchettís relationship with her fragile son.

Theatrical Trailer


Trailer for "The James Dean Collection"

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

The R4 and R1 releases are identical


A remarkable film about coping with tragedy, starring a brilliant cast. The DVD, priced with an RRP of $9.95, is value for money as there are notable extra features. The presentation of the film is satisfactory in respects to the transfer and audio options, considering the age of the film.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Vanessa Appassamy (Biography)
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1910, using DVI output
DisplayPanasonic PT-AE 700. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationYamaha DSP-A595a - 5.1 DTS
Speakers(Front) DB Dynamics Polaris AC688F loudspeakers,(Centre) DB Dynamics Polaris Mk3 Model CC030,(Rear) Polaris Mk3 Model SSD425,(Subwoofer) Jensen JPS12

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