Tootsie appears in both an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The new release delivered an appealing rendition of the movie.
Sharpness generally looked pretty solid. Some moderate softness crept into wider shots, but not to a tremendous degree. Instead, the majority of the film demonstrated positive delineation. I saw no problems related to moiré effects or jagged edges, and edge haloes failed to appear. The movie showed natural grian and suffered from no specks, marks or other print flaws.
Colors appeared natural and appropriately vivid. The movie featured a natural palette and the hues looked clear and accurate throughout the film, asthey showed no signs of bleeding, noise or other concerns. Black levels were acceptably deep and dense, and shadow detail looked appropriately opaque but not too heavy. This ended up as a winning presentation.
The LPCM monaural soundtrack of Tootsie was consistently good. Dialogue always sounded warm and natural, with no signs of edginess or problems related to intelligibility. Effects seemed like a small part of the equation, but they sounded acceptably realistic and clear, with no distortion to mar them. The music appeared decent and showed pretty nice range at times. Ultimately, the soundtrack of Tootsie was a modest but satisfying affair that worked fine for the movie.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the 25th Anniversary release from 2008? The audio remained similar; though the DVD claimed to have a 5.1 remix, it stayed focused on the front center, so no real soundscape alterations occurred. Quality appeared similar for both.
On the other hand, the visuals showed the expected improvements. The Blu-ray seemed more distinctive and vivid, with a more natural appearance. While the DVD looked pretty good, the Blu-ray was a more impressive presentation.
The Criterion disc mixes old and new extras, and we start with a one-hour, eight-minute, 55-second documentary called A Better Man: The Making of Tootsie. It mixes movie clips, archival elements and interviews. We hear from director Sydney Pollack, screenwriters Murray Schisgal and Larry Gelbart, and actors Dustin Hoffman, Teri Garr, Jessica Lange, and Dabney Coleman.
“Man” looks at the project’s origins and development as well as how Pollack came onto the flick and his take on the material. The program then goes into Hoffman’s approach to the lead role, other cast and characters, costumes and makeup, rehearsals and more changes. From there we hear about performances, shooting a few specific scenes, and thoughts about the finished product.
“Better Man” covers the film awfully well and really digs into the nuances of the production. It proves more introspective than most. While it includes the usual nuts and bolts, it gives us plenty of fine insights about motivations and deeper subjects. It becomes a really great show that tells us tons about the flick.
Originally recorded for a 1991 laserdisc, we get an audio commentary from director Sydney Pollack. He offers a running, screen-specific look at his approach to comedy, script/story/character areas, cast and performances, editing, locations, music and related subjects.
From start to finish, Pollack offers a lot of good notes here. He covers the movie with honesty and feels free to tell us about problems he experienced along the way Pollack provides an unusually insightful and informative commentary.
From 1982, The Making of Tootsie runs 33 minutes, 42 seconds and features Pollack, Hoffman, Lange, Garr and actor Bill Murray. We learn about story/characters, cast and performances, production challenges, and aspects of the shoot. The interview segments don’t tell us a ton, but we get plenty of interesting behind the scenes footage, especially when Pollack and Hoffman discuss different elements.
Under Interviews, we find three components. “Dustin Hoffman” (18:03) comes from 2014 and offers the actor’s thoughts about the movie’s roots and developments, his characters and performance, the change in directors from Hal Ashby as well as working with Pollack and aspects of his career. Hoffman covers the various areas in an engaging manner and makes this an informative piece.
With “Phil Rosenthal” (15:37), we hear from the creator of Everybody Loves Raymond. He provides an appreciation of the film and discusses how it influenced him. Rosenthal gives us a few decent notes but doesn’t make this a memorable chat.
Finally, “Dorothy Michaels and Gene Shalit” (4:25) stems from the movie’s shoot. This falls into the category of “outtakes” much more than “interviews”, as TV critic Shalit chats with the Michaels character. Nothing exciting occurs, but it’s a fun extra.
Nine Deleted Scenes fill a total of 10 minutes, 21 seconds. These include “What a Surprise”, “I Made You Some Soup”, “Anybody Home?”, “Amy Let Go”, “Your Own Character”, “You Can’t Play An Animal”, “I’m a Virgin”, “Wrong Door”, and “Signing an Autograph”.
The first two are the most interesting. “Surprise” shows a somewhat humiliating encounter between Michael and a prior girlfriend that serves to remind us of his career failures, while “Soup” gives us a little more goofiness between Michael and Sandy as he tries to cover his tracks. Neither is particularly valuable, but they’re more compelling than the other snippets, as those tend to be forgettable.
In addition to three trailers, we get six minutes and 45 seconds of Dustin Hoffman Screen Test Footage. The material shows the initial shots of Hoffman in drag.
Wow – Dorothy was never an attractive woman, but she looks like Playmate of the Year compared to this initial attempt at Hoffman as a woman! Hoffman is actually pretty terrible in the part; he did much better in the final film. Still, it’s cool to see this early footage.
The package also includes a booklet. It mixes photos and an essay from critic Michael Sragow. The booklet fills out the set well.
While I don’t think Tootsie provides a great film, I do enjoy it. Tootsie delivers a classy comedy that offers quite a lot of solid humor despite a few missteps. It works because of a terrific cast, all of whom provide fine work. The Blu-ray brings us solid picture and audio as well as an informative set of supplements. Criterion delivers a strong release for an engaging comedy.
To rate this film, visit the 2008 DVD review of TOOTSIE