When Harry Met Sally… appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Not too many concerns cropped up in this largely positive transfer.
Sharpness almost always looked good. A few slightly soft shots showed up along the way, but the vast majority of the flick seemed reasonably crisp and well-defined. No shimmering occurred, and jagged edges and edge enhancement appeared to be absent. Source flaws were minor. The occasional speckle popped up but nothing substantial materialized.
Colors seemed nice. The movie used a golden-oriented palette that came to life well, as the hues were consistently warm and full. Blacks also seemed dark and firm, while shadows showed good delineation and smoothness. I found a lot to like in this fine image.
As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Harry, it seemed wholly unexceptional. This was a bland soundfield without much 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.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the Collector’s Edition DVD from 2008? Audio showed a little more warmth – though not much, as the limited nature of the source capped any possible improvements.
Visuals worked better, though. The Blu-ray came with the usual step up in terms of delineation and colors. The Blu-ray didn’t blow away the DVD, but it fared well in comparison.
The Blu-ray combines extras from the 2008 SE as well as the original 2001 DVD. This means we find two separate audio commentaries.
From 2008, we get a chat with 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.
Off the 2001 DVD, we locate a track with director Rob Reiner. In his running, screen-specific piece, he looks at the same subjects as the 2008 chat.
Reiner’s solo commentary also comes with the same strengths and weaknesses as the 2008 track. Reiner starts pretty well, as he gives us a reasonable number of insights for a little while.
After that, though, Reiner speaks less and less frequently. Combine all this dead air with a lot of repetition from the other track and it’s tough to recommend Reiner’s solo commentary. It’s a slow ride that doesn’t tell us much we don’t hear elsewhere.
Seven Deleted Scenes run a total of seven minutes, 24 seconds. These include “Harry Does Impressions” (0:35), “How Many Men Have You Slept With?” (1:02), “Sally’s Bad Date” (1:01), “Sleepless Night” (0:36), “I Blew It” (0:28), “Harry and Sally on the Couch” (1:49) 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, 47 seconds and gives us a chat between Reiner and Ephron. They discuss the film’s origins and its development.
They also tell us about different drafts of the script, alternate title options, and some other aspects of the production. If you listened to the commentaries, 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, 10-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 commentaries, so don’t anticipate much fresh content.
For When Rob Met Billy, we locate a three-minute, 55-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, 47 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. Once more, some of these elements repeat from the commentaries, but there’s enough new material – especially from Crystal – to make it worthwhile.
After this we get the eight-minute, 29-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, 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, 54 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 he’s married to his best friend.
From the 2001 DVD, How Harry Met Sally lasts 33 minutes, 21 seconds and includes Reiner, Ephron, Fisher, Crystal, costume designer Gloria Gresham, hairstylist Barbara Lorenz, musical arranger Marc Shaiman, and actors Meg Ryan and Bruno Kirby. We get notes about the movie’s origins and development as well as story and characters, cast and performances, shooting in NYC, costumes and hair, music and related areas.
Given all the disc’s other extras, “How” inevitably becomes redundant at times. Still, it offers a tight little overview, and we get to hear from some folks not involved in other features – though it’s a shame Ryan and Kirby didn’t record new comments in 2001, so their notes came from the movie shoot. Still, “How” becomes a pretty good synopsis.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we get a music video. This provides Harry Connick Jr.’s version of “It Had to Be You”. It mixes movie shots with images of Connick as he lip-synchs and occasionally canoodles with some babe. A few exclusive bits with Crystal and Ryan appear, so these make the video a little more interesting than average – though not much.
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 female side of the street. This makes it moderately entertaining but a little too sappy for my liking. The Blu-ray brings us pretty good picture and supplements along with acceptable audio. We find a competent release for a decent movie.
To rate this film visit the DVD Review of WHEN HARRY MET SALLY