When Harry Met Sally (1989)

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1989
Running Time 98
RSDL / Flipper Dual Sided Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Rob Reiner
Studio
Distributor

Polygram
Starring Billy Crystal
Meg Ryan
Carrie Fisher
Bruno Kirby
Case Brackley-Trans-No Lip
RPI $34.95 Music Marc Shaiman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/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
Spanish
Dutch
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    When Harry Met Sally is a romantic comedy starring Billy Crystal as Harry Burns and Meg Ryan as Sally Albright. Harry and Sally meet when they agree to share a drive from Chicago to New York. Harry is cynical. He doesn't believe that a man and a woman can just be friends without sex getting in the way. Sally disagrees. At the end of the trip, they part company.

    The years pass, and periodically, Harry and Sally bump into each other. They both meet other people, but things don't work out for either of them, and eventually Harry and Sally become good friends. So, will they get together by the end of the movie, since we, the audience, already know that they are perfect for each other? You'll just have to watch it and see.

    I really enjoyed this film, even though it is basically a formulaic romantic comedy. Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan carry their roles superbly and make this movie what it is. Billy is surprisingly serious and believable, and Meg plays a slightly less dippy character than she has in recent years. This movie relies on subtleties and good acting - some of the facial expressions from both Billy and Meg are priceless, and their timing is impeccable. The script is well-written and very cynical in its viewpoint, and it is nicely paced, never slowing down. It even throws in a few nice subplots involving Harry's and Sally's best friends - Jess (Bruno Kirby) and Marie (Carrie Fisher). And, by the way, I liked the coffee table.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer of this movie is very good considering the film's age. It holds up well and has only very minor faults. All in all, it is a very pleasant transfer to watch. I noted that the film was released by Columbia Pictures in the USA, and I would not be surprised if Sony had something to do with this transfer, as it really looks very good at times.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. There is also a Full Frame version of the movie on the other side of the disc.

    The transfer was not quite as sharp as current generation transfers, but nonetheless was quite clear. A very few scenes looked slightly washed out, but I suspect that this is how the film was shot. Shadow detail was good, though once again, just a slight step down from current generation transfers.

    The colours were reasonably rendered in this transfer, though somewhat muted at times, and slightly oversaturated at other times, but overall, there were no major problems to complain about. The second half of the movie seemed to improve in this area compared with the first half, almost as if more than one type of film stock was used to shoot the movie.

    No MPEG artefacts were seen. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some slight telecine wobble, especially early on in the transfer, and some very minor aliasing here and there. The worst part of this transfer was the greater than expected level of film artefacts. Whilst this was not overly distracting, even considering the film's age I felt that there were too many of these artefacts to be seen, and it would have been good to have these removed.

Audio

    There are two audio tracks to choose from on this DVD. The default is English Dolby Digital 2.0, surround-encoded. This is the track that I listened to. The other track present is a Spanish soundtrack in Dolby Digital 2.0, surround-encoded. There are no MPEG tracks on this DVD.

    A few crackles and pops mar this soundtrack slightly. There is nothing major to be concerned about, but the worst pops are at 74:46, 75:31, and 88:18.

    Dialogue was clear most of the time, though occasionally a line of dialogue was a little hard to make out. This is a slight problem in this movie, which is very much a dialogue-driven movie, but not enough to be a significant bother.

    The music is a combination of old standards, and a number of tracks from Harry Connick, Jr. The music is frequently present, underscoring the action, and is very pleasing to listen to. I noted that Nora Ephron wrote this script, and I am sure that she had something to do with the choice of music - she is also responsible for such Romantic Comedy classics as Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail, both of which have similar musical scores.

     The surround channel was used frequently for music and for occasional ambience. Overall, the experience was reasonably enveloping, but some more ambience would have made this track even better.

    The .1 channel was not specifically used, however my surround sound processor sent a reasonable amount of signal to the subwoofer, mainly music.

Extras

    There are no extras on this disc at all. Nothing. Just Scene Selections and Language/Subtitle selections.

Menu

    The menu design on the disc is very straightforward given that there are only three options to choose from. Scene selection is quite difficult to navigate, however.

R4 vs R1

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

    This DVD has been superceded by When Harry Met Sally: Special Edition.

Summary

    When Harry Met Sally is a great movie, and as good a DVD as we are likely to see given the film's vintage. After Fargo, I was somewhat apprehensive about watching this movie, and was pleased that it came out so well, both artistically and technically. It is not a perfect DVD by today's standards, but is certainly well and truly acceptable, and I have no hesitation in highly recommending this DVD to you.

    The video quality is of high quality, given the age of the source material, and has no significant problems.

    The audio quality is of reasonable quality, but not up to current standards. I certainly had little to complain about.

    The extras are non-existent.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Michael Demtschyna (read my bio)
Saturday, January 09, 1999
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
DisplayLoewe Art-95 (95cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderDenon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital decoder. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
Amplification2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
SpeakersPhilips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Rod W (Suss out my biography if you dare)
Jeff K's Australian DVD Info Site - Steve D
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Jeff K's Australian DVD Info Site - Ian M (Biological imperfection run amok)
The Fourth Region - Roger T. Ward (Some say he's afraid of the Dutch, and that he's stumped by clouds. All we know, this is his bio.)

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