Pretty in Pink (1986)

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Released 4-Dec-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1986
Running Time 92:44
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Howard Deutch

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Molly Ringwald
Andrew McCarthy
James Spader
Harry Dean Stanton
Jon Cryer
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music Michael Gore

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    80s teen film darling Molly Ringwald stars in yet another film from the John Hughes stable, although John Hughes only wrote and produced this one. It was actually directed by Howard Deutch. Ringwald plays Andie Walsh, a girl from a broken home who lives with her poor, unemployed father Jack (Harry Dean Stanton) after her mother walked out on them. Andie attends the local rich-kid high school on a scholarship. She doesn't have a lot of money and never feels like she fits into the school crowd, and so has few friends at school. She does have one mate there in Phil "Ducky" Dale (Jon Cryer), who is also on a scholarship and is virtually a kindred spirit. Ducky is the classic John Hughes "clumsy loser in love" type character and he makes no secret of his affections for Andie, basically falling over himself to win her heart. Unfortunately for him, she doesn't return the sentiment. Andie's love life seems to be heading nowhere until a young hunk at school, Blane (fellow 80s darling Andrew McCarthy) catches her eye. Blane is smitten by Andie's charm much to the chagrin of his best friend Steff (the worst ever actor from the 80s James Spader). Steff makes all sorts of snide and rude comments about Andie, insinuating that she is nothing more than trailer trash and Blane could do a whole lot better. But Blane soldiers on despite the urging of all his friends and the apparent displeasure of his family. The whole story basically revolves around the improbable relationship of the rich kid and the poor kid and whether or not they will make it to Prom night.

    This film is most remembered for its soundtrack, featuring many classic 80s tunes including the super smash If You Leave by OMD, and a whole host of other classic 80s numbers. Unfortunately the story is fairly predictable and doesn't have that uniqueness and charm so evident in the other Hughes films. There's a broad formula involved with these films that allows the young characters to display a certain worldliness and knowledge (Ferris Bueller is the obvious and best example of this). This is mostly lacking from Pretty in Pink, with the rich kid/poor kid routine having been played out so many times before. Fans of 80s nostalgia will still enjoy the ride, with the music being a certain highlight, as well as some of the fashions on display, which are a real laugh. Just don't be too disappointed if it doesn't quite seem as much fun as it was when you first saw it.

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Transfer Quality


    I wasn't expecting a whole lot in terms of video quality here. The last few mid 80s films that I have seen released on DVD have been below average in video terms, with the results not much better than what I would expect on television. I can't say I was surprised by this offering, but overall it's certainly as good as this film has ever looked, and is better than any television offering. The aspect ratio on offer here is 1.78:1. I would imagine that the original theatrical aspect was 1.85:1, so this is pretty close. It is also 16x9 enhanced.

    While some scenes are quite sharp, unfortunately many also exhibit a soft and hazy appearance. There is also plenty of edge enhancement throughout the whole film. The worst example of this occurs at around the 37:40 mark. There are no shadow detail problems. Grain is evident almost constantly. The dimly lit interior shots highlight this at its worst, with the worst example at 46:40. There is no low level noise.

    Colours are adequate without being super vibrant. I think this is the part of the transfer that disappointed me the most. 80s teen high school films offer the chance for all manner of obnoxious and colourful fashions to be on display, but those shown here just seem plain and drab, with nothing vibrant catching my eye. Skin tones are natural and are blacks solid enough.

    I saw no MPEG artefacts. Film-to-video artefacts are pretty much limited to quite a few instances of telecine wobble. The most obvious examples of this occur at 15:25, 28:58, and 42:07. There are plenty of film artefacts present. Most are of the smallish black-and-white-spot variety and can be easily overlooked, but at 33:22 a large vertical line appears, covering the whole print for about two seconds.

    There are plenty of subtitles available. I sampled the English and English for the Hearing Impaired variety and found them mostly accurate.

    Pretty in Pink is a single layer disc only. This isn't surprising since the only thing on the disc is the ninety-odd minute film. As a result there is no layer change to navigate.

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


    There are five audio soundtracks on this disc. A remastered English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is joined by French, Italian, German, and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtracks. I naturally enough listened to only the English soundtrack. Not a startling remastered track by any means. There is some separation across the front channels, but the rears remained almost silent throughout. Dialogue is anchored front and centre with only a few sound effects and the music numbers pumping out the left and right channels. The dialogue itself is fairly lacklustre at times.

    The soundtrack for this film was hugely successful if I remember rightly, and featured some of the musical highlights of the 1980s. There's the title track Pretty in Pink by The Psychedelic Furs, Wouldn't it Be Good by Nik Kershaw, several songs including Thieves Like Us and Elegia from 80s kings New Order, and the signature tune from the film and a huge smash hit at the time If You Leave by Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark or OMD for the abbreviated. All these tracks make excellent use of the left and right speakers and sound clean and solid.

    Surprisingly little surround channel use is heard throughout. In fact I needed to check a couple of times just in case I was imagining that they weren't working. Probably the most consistent use is during the end credits song.

    There is very little subwoofer use. Not surprising really, as it isn't the sort of soundtrack that needs it.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There are no extras. Not one.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 4 version of this DVD misses out on:

    The Region 1 version of this DVD misses out on:     There really is nothing much different in terms of the video quality on offer here. The edge enhancement is probably a little more obvious in the Region 4 version, but aside from that they are identical. Unless the inclusion of the original audio soundtrack is an important item for you, I'd still favour the local disc for the superior PAL formatting and cheaper price.


    Pretty In Pink is certainly not the best John Hughes film from the 80s (well he didn't actually direct it, but the writing credit is his). This one just doesn't seem to capture the true essence that made his films so memorable. The smart, street-wise kids that seem to know more than the adults are just not there, and while the soundtrack is excellent and evokes many fond 1980s memories, the performances do not. Aside from the fashions on display, this rich kid/poor kid tale could be set in just about any decade. Fans will enjoy it immensely no doubt. The rest of us shouldn't be too disappointed if it doesn't quite seem as much fun as it was some sixteen years ago. Maybe I've grown too old and cynical, or maybe I need to go and watch Sixteen Candles or the classic Ferris Bueller again to cheer me up!

    The video quality is average only. Nothing spectacularly eye-popping, but to be fair there are only a handful of faults evident.

    The remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack seems out-of-place at times, with the dialogue being quite one-dimensional.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Monday, November 25, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5106DO, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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