Quantcast

When Harry Met Sally – 30th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Review)

A pretty big sign of the times changing in home media is perfectly exemplified by this 30th Anniversary Edition release of When Harry Met Sally from Shout! Factory. What was once a sure fire, A-catalog title, easy seller (Even in an upgraded form) has now been sub-licensed and outsourced to an independent “boutique” label. Not a bad thing at all, I love Shout! Factory and am happy to see them land a title like this, but When Harry Met Sally at one time probably would have received a “Hell no” reply from a major studio had it even been inquired upon. But, now, it can be given more care and improvement than even the big studios might have even considered. Already receiving high marks, our review is finally here and you can pick it up by ordering a copy below!

Film 

Will sex ruin a perfect relationship between a man and a woman? That’s what Harry Burns (Crystal) and Sally Albright (Ryan) debate while sharing a drive from Chicago to New York. Eleven years of friendship later, they’re still no closer to finding the answer. Will these two best friends ever accept that they’re a perfect match … or will they continue to deny the attraction that exists between them?

When Harry Met Sally is a pretty fantastic, humorous and honest look at the relationship of a man and a woman trying their best at keeping a platonic friendship. The film features an outstanding pairing of Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal in a film that would keep up Crystal’s high profile and help Ryan leap frog off Top Gun and jump right into her own superstardom. She owned the 90s. The phrase “The New Meg Rya Movie” was more than a thing. Crystal would sort of just keep doing what he wanted to.

The film also saw the pairing of Nora Ephron and director Rob Reiner. Reiner was in the middle of one of the hottest directorial streaks ever since the beginning of film when this one came out. And its truly one of his seminal films. It wouldn’t have been possible without the quality input of Ephron delivering the perfect touches to the screenplay. This would also launch her into a career as a director, finding her teaming with Ryan some more down the road as well.

The film itself really is a fun watch as it paints neither sex as being top dog and really weighs the pros and cons of both characters in an honest light. Conversations in the film are engaging, fun and like you’re really listening to a real couple of people you know talk. Some of it is a bit more forward than people may have been talking at the time, but for many an audience member, they would feel like someone was at least taking care of business that they wish they could themselves. In addition to its authenticity, there are some iconic moments and laughs that hold up and still deliver to this day. The film holds a high pedestal with that of Annie Hall in the rom com hall of fame as one of the greatest ever made.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Shout Factory’s 30th Anniversary Edition of When Harry Met Sally features a brand new 4K transfer from the original camera negative. And my, this one is quite stunning and quite possible the best restoration we’ve seen from Shout! Factory, at the very least an easy Top 5 candidate. The film is full of such rich color, sharpness and great new depth while showcasing much more crispness and fine details than ever before.

Depth:  One of the biggest improvements in the image is how much spacier things are and pushed back the environment is in the depth of field. Characters look much more well rounded and detached from the image as a whole, able to move freely around. Said movements are quite cinematic and natural with no motion distortion issues to report.

Black Levels: Blacks are quite deep and almost flirting with natural appeal. Discernible details and patterns within the darkest of hair and fabrics are impressively retained. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are quite bold and give a real natural pop to them. Red sticks out quite well, especially on floral arrangements and fabrics. Many of the faded greens, browns and more earthy, lived in looking colors come with a nice saturation with varying tints and tones.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from the first to final frame of the picture. Facial details like stubble, sweat, forehead grease, make-up brush strokes, wrinkles, crows feet and more are clear as day in this image.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH

Dynamics: When Harry Met Sally appears to have retained its 5.1 mix from the previous Blu-ray incartation.  Majority of this film is focused on conversation and it indeed gets that part the most right while having some nice, natural ambiance to surround the dialogue with. The mix is well balanced and rather solid. Not spectacular by any means, but enough to be a much above average presentation for a 30 year old rom-com.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Most of the bump comes from the score and touches of natural sounds like car engines and doors closing with a nice impact.

Surround Sound Presentation: Mostly a front heavy track, there are some interesting moments in parties and outdoor sequence that have a unique give from the rear channels.  Sound travel is accurately depicted to what is on screen.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp and at the heart of this mix.

Extras 

When Harry Met Sally – 30th Anniversary Edition comes with reversible cover art featuring the original poster art.

Audio Commentary

  • With Rob Reiner, Nora Ephron, And Billy Crystal
  • With Rob Reiner

Scenes From A Friendship (HD, 44:34) – Interview with Rob Reiner and Billy Crystal. More of a conversation between the two. Its a fun, honest reflection on what many consider their greatest achievement. Lots of credit is given to Nora Ephron and Meg Ryan (Who don’t show up in this) for being the ones to really make it work. Its funny as much of the origins of the Harry and Sally relationship came from Billy Crystal and Rob Reiner’s own friendship. You’ll find it very hard not to get sucked in and surprised at how quickly this 44 minute sit down flies by.

How Harry Met Sally (SD, 33:21)

It All Started Like This (SD, 19:48)

What Harry Meeting Sally Meant (SD, 12:29)

I Love New York (8:29)

So, Can Men and Women Be Friends? (SD, 7:54)

Deleted Scenes (SD, 7:24)

Creating Harry (SD, 5:47)

Stories of Love (SD, 5:10)

When Rob Met Billy (SD, 3:56)

Music Video By Harry Connick Jr. (SD, 2:50) – “It Had To Be You”

Theatrical Trailer (SD, 2:12)

Summary 

When Harry Met Sally holds up remarkably well 30 years later. Shout! Factory wants you to have what its having with the new Blu-ray release to commemorate it. While the film has bin a cheapie classic on the format for years, Shout! has made this upgrade worth every penny. Their 4K restoration on the film is quite remarkable and as much a revelation as the one done on Reiner’s Princess Bride last year. The conversation with Billy Crystal and Rob Reiner made for this release is also worth paying for it alone. This is the definitive release for one of cinema’s best romantic comedies of all time.

Share

Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

  1. No Comments