When Harry Met Sally… appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Not too many concerns cropped up in this strong transfer.
Sharpness almost always looked good. A few slightly soft shots showed up along the way, but the vast majority of the flick seemed crisp and well-defined. Though I saw a little shimmering on occasion, jagged edges and edge enhancement appeared to be absent. Source flaws were also essentially non-existent. Some light grain occurred, and a small speck or two popped up, but that was it.
Colors seemed very nice. The movie used a natural palette that came to life well. The hues were consistently warm and full. Blacks also seemed dark and firm, while shadows showed nice delineation and smoothness. I found a lot to like in this fine image.
As for the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Harry, it seemed wholly unexceptional. This was a bland soundfield without muchb to make it stand out from the crowd. Music did show nice stereo delineation, and effects spread to the sides in a minor manner. Some directional dialogue cropped for the splitscreen shots of Harry and Sally. Surround usage was exceedingly modest, as the back speakers added almost nothing. This was a chatty flick without much breadth to the soundscape.
Audio quality was fine. Though speech showed occasional signs of edginess, the lines usually appeared acceptably natural and concise. Music was similarly low-key, but the jazz songs and score demonstrated decent range and fullness. Effects never taxed my system, as they were accurate but without much punch. This was an adequate track and that was about it.
As we move to the extras, we open with an audio commentary from director Rob Reiner, writer Nora Ephron, and actor Billy Crystal. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific chat. They tell us about the project’s origins and development as well as cast and performances, music, locations, inspirations and characters, hair and costumes, and some scene specifics.
The commentary starts very well, as its first few minutes provide a lot of good information. After that, it becomes more erratic. The participants still offer many nice insights, but dead air becomes a bit of an issue, and the conversation sometimes devolves into simple praise. The second half of the movie proves especially dull, as we don’t hear much of interest during that span. I do think the track merits a listen, as it presents some nice notes and a few funny moments, but it’s not consistently satisfying.
Note that this commentary replaces Reiner’s solo chat from the 2001 DVD of Harry. I never listened to that track, but I’ve heard bad things about it. Since I’ve also been bored by most of Reiner’s other commentaries, I’m very happy the 2008 DVD replaces the old piece with this new one. It would’ve been nice to get both, though, even though I imagine the old Reiner track would be fairly redundant.
Seven Deleted Scenes run a total of seven minutes, 19 seconds. These include “Harry Does Impressions” (0:35), “How Many Men Have You Slept With?” (1:01), “Sally’s Bad Date” (1:00), “Sleepless Night” (0:35), “I Blew It” (0:27), “Harry and Sally on the Couch” (1:48) and “I Was Just Walking Down the Street” (1:53). The first two come from Harry and Sally’s original road trip; both are funny. “Date” just reinforces the inevitability of the Harry/Sally romantic relationship, while “Night” and “Blew” follow up on their night of passion; none of them add much, and they seem pretty redundant. The final two come from the “documentary interviews”. I don’t like any of those “documentary” bits, so I’m glad this tedious nonsense got the boot.
We also find seven different featurettes. It All Started Like This goes for 19 minutes, 46 seconds and gives us a chat between Reiner and Ephron. They discuss the film’s origins and its development. They tell us about different drafts of the script, alternate title options, and some other aspects of the production. If you listened to the commentary, you’ll already know a lot of their details. Some new notes appear – such as the other title concepts – but there’s not much fresh information on display.
(By the way, this is the second time Ephron claims that the fake orgasm scene is the only reason Harry got an “R” rating. Sorry, Nora, but even without that sequence, the flick would’ve been an “R”. It throws around too many “F-bombs” for a “PG-13”.)
Next comes the five-minute and nine-second Stories of Love. It features Reiner, Crystal, and film critic Thelma Adams. The piece looks at the “documentary” stories with married couples that pop up during the flick as well as Reiner’s personal tale of romance on the set. Again, much of this repeats from the commentary, so don’t anticipate much fresh content.
For When Rob Met Billy, we locate a three-minute and 56-second piece. It features Reiner and Crystal as they tell us how they got to know each other as well as their collaboration on Harry. For once we find some new details, and the pair throw out a good mix of notes in this short piece.
Creating Harry lasts five minutes, 46 seconds and presents notes from Reiner, Crystal, Adams, Ephron, film critic Richard Roeper and actor Carrie Fisher. They look at inspirations for Harry’s personality and the evolution of the character. Some of these elements repeat from the commentary, but there’s enough new material – especially from Crystal – to make it worthwhile.
After this we get the eight-minute and 28-second I Love New York. It gives us notes from Roeper, Adams, Ephron, Crystal, Fisher, Reiner and production designer Jane Musky. The show covers production design and shooting in New York. A reasonable amount of useful notes appear here, with Musky’s comments the best of the bunch.
During the 12-minute and 29-second What Harry Meeting Sally Meant, we hear from Ephron, Reiner, Crystal, Adams, Roeper and Fisher. They offer an appraisal of the film and what makes it so well-regarded. This means a few nice insights but mostly a lot of praise.
Finally, So, Can Men and Women Really Be Friends? fills seven minutes, 52 seconds with statements from Reiner, Fisher, Crystal,
sex therapist Dr. Jane Greer and Queens College Professor of Sociology Dr. Andrew Beveridge. They entertain the age-old question posed in the featurette’s title. Don’t expect real answers, but the show proves surprisingly fun and involving. I especially like Fisher’s cynicism about people who say “I’m married to my best friend” – right after we hear Reiner say that about his wife.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we get a few other ads. There’s a promo for “MGM Romance” as well as a clip for West Side Story.
On the surface, the combination of romance and the wit of Billy Crystal should make When Harry Met Sally… perfect date night compromise material, as it should have enough to make both men and women happy. In reality, it’s more palatable than true “chick flick” malarkey, but it definitely leans toward the “XX” side of the street. This makes it moderately entertaining but a little too sappy for my liking. The DVD presents very good picture quality with average audio and a reasonable collection of extras. I’m not wild about the movie, but this DVD release serves it well.