Working Girl (1988)

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Released 15-Jan-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer-2
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1988
Running Time 108:54
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (62:49) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Mike Nichols

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Melanie Griffith
Sigourney Weaver
Harrison Ford
Joan Cusack
Alec Baldwin
Kevin Spacey
Philip Bosco
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $36.95 Music Carly Simon
Rob Mounsey

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 3.0 L-C-R (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Czech
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

    Working Girl is an enjoyable movie, not too serious, that is perfect when you don't want to think about it. Before you wonder, no, it isn't about that kind of working girl. You could describe it as Educating Rita, Hollywood-style, without the literary bits. It's the story of someone starting without too many breaks, and making things happen.

    Our heroine's name is Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith). We meet her on her way to work on her thirtieth birthday. She's working as a secretary in a stockbroking firm, and clearly knows a bit more about the stockmarket than the guy she's working for. She's trying to get into the entry programme, but is finding it tough because her education didn't come from an ivy-league school. After another set-up with a creep (an over-the-top cameo by Kevin Spacey) who is more interested in getting her into bed than into a new job, she gets transferred to Mergers and Acquisitions, and finds herself working for a woman called Catherine Parker (Sigourney Weaver). Things seem to be looking up until her boss breaks her leg skiing, and asks Tess to look after her apartment. Tess discovers that her boss is betraying her, and heads home rather depressed. She finds her boyfriend (Alec Baldwin) in bed with another woman - two betrayals in one day. That's what it takes to convince her to break the rules. She calls one of Catherine's contacts, a guy called Jack Trainer (Harrison Ford), to set up a deal. She's started something that will change her life - a real make-or-break chance.

    For the macho guys in the audience, no, this is not a strictly chick flick. The director has thought of you - there are rather more shots of women in their lingerie, or less, than can be strictly justified by the plot, so you should be happy. For the ladies, said shots are reasonably tasteful, and the women are portrayed as strong and self-reliant. Interestingly, I think it is these shots that earned the movie an R rating in the US, despite it being only PG in Canada (must be that French influence...). Anyway, this movie is an excellent blend of funny and romantic. The director (Mike Nichols) treads a fine line, and it comes off. Even the awkwardness of the denouement fits perfectly - it is charming, despite the Hollywood saccharine. 

    One aspect that I watched closely this time through was the transformation of Tess from big hair / heavy makeup / short skirt secretary to professional woman. There are several stages, and they are believable. We're not talking about the bursting open of a cocoon to reveal a butterfly, but rather a gradual change. To emphasise the changes (hey, this is a Hollywood film, subtlety not a strong point) we're shown a number of scenes with her friend Cynthia (Joan Cusack), who isn't changing, so we can see the distance she's come. Unlike Educating Rita, this is not a melancholy process - she can still fit in with her old friends, although it is quite interesting to see her in a hideous bridesmaid dress at Cyn's wedding - she makes it look rather more stylish than it deserves. Production designer Patrizia von Brandenstein should probably take much of the credit for this.

    But forget all that. This is a light, entertaining movie to be enjoyed, rather than thought about.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    The picture is presented in an aspect ratio of about 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced. I believe this to be the theatrical aspect ratio.

    The image is fairly sharp, with excellent shadow detail. There is no low level noise.

    Colour is excellent. A couple of Sigourney Weaver's outfits show up in vivid red, with no trace of colour bleed. There's no cross-colouration, despite the frequent appearance of plaids.

    There are no significant film artefacts. A speck here or there is all that is to be seen. There are some moments of aliasing, the most noticeable of which is on the helicopter fuselage at around 77:51. There is some minor moire on a tie at 87:18, and on a jacket earlier. There are no significant MPEG artefacts. 

    Subtitles are available in 11 languages, including English for the Hard of Hearing. They are presented in a simple font, are easy to read, and include the lyrics to the songs - they are well-timed (an interesting point, because the Region 1 disc's subtitles run late in places).

    The disc is single-sided and dual layered, in RSDL format. The layer change is placed at 62:49, inside a black fade between scenes. It is superbly placed, and pretty much invisible.

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


    There is just one soundtrack, and it is an interesting one: English Dolby Digital 3.0. That's left, right, and centre.

    The dialogue is easy to understand, even with some of the accents. There is no hint of any audio sync problems.

    The score is credited to Carly Simon, with scoring by Rob Mounsey. The film's theme song is heard under both the opening and closing credits, and quoted in some of the music in between - I like it, and I'm not surprised to learn that it won an Academy Award.

    The 3.0 soundtrack does not provide surround or subwoofer information. This is a dialogue-driven film, so the lack of surrounds or subwoofer is unimportant.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The menus are silent and static. Attractive enough, but nothing special.

Trailers (1:25 and 1:54)

    Two normal trailers, including a couple of scenes that got deleted from the movie - I've always found that amusing.

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 disc misses out on:

    The Region 1 disc misses out on:

    The Region 4 disc is quite good, but the Region 1 superb. The Region 1 video is crisp and sharp, with no moire, and no aliasing - the helicopter mentioned above is crystal clear. If you buy the Region 4 I think you'll be happy, but if you buy the Region 1 you'll be even happier.


    Working Girl is an enjoyable film, presented nicely on R4 DVD (and even more nicely on R1).

    The video quality is quite good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extras are basic.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Thursday, December 20, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDArcam DV88, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left and Right: Krix Euphonix, Centre: Krix KDX-C Rears: Krix KDX-M, Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
R4 Trailer has scenes not in movie! - cztery REPLY POSTED
Trailers - Jace
Good point Jason - cztery