Billy Crystal Woos Meg Ryan in this Perfect Romantic Comedy

Thirty years later, Rob Reiner’s When Harry Met Sally remains one of Hollywood’s greatest romantic comedies ever devised. Occasionally in the wacky business that is Hollywood filmmaking, the stars align to create something magical. Rob Reiner, gifted screenwriter Nora Ephron, and stars Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan join forces for this witty love story with pitch-perfect dialogue and endearing humor. It answers the time-old question of whether sex can ruin the perfect friendship between a man and woman.

Also starring Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby, When Harry Met Sally has become a permanent fixture in Hollywood’s firmament of classic movies. It remains a landmark in the genre to this day. It’s easily Billy Crystal’s best movie as an actor and helped make Meg Ryan one of the 1990’s biggest Hollywood stars. The iconic diner scene in which Meg Ryan fakes an orgasm has become a part of pop culture, practically transcending the movie from which it came. It wouldn’t surprise me if half the people aware of it know which movie it’s from.

When Harry Met Sally has a disarmingly simple premise that doesn’t get sidetracked by sub-plots and unnecessary characters. Harry Burns (Crystal) first meets Sally Albright (Ryan) in college, on a long drive together from Chicago to New York. Sharing a long ride together, Harry explains how he doesn’t believe men and women can just be friends. He believes men aren’t looking for friendships from women, but potential romantic partners.

Sally rejects Harry’s advances and they part, only to meet five years later at a different time in their lives when they both have significant others. Soon parting once again, another few years lapse before they meet again. Both are coming out of long relationships that ended badly. Their contrasting personalities will soon click and a quick friendship is struck. Then the inevitable happens as they get closer together.

The camera loves Meg Ryan in this movie

Harry’s brusque, unconventional personality stands at a stark contrast to Sally’s structured habits. They are a perfect match but keep denying themselves their obvious growing attraction, for fear it may ruin the friendship.

The camera loves Meg Ryan in this movie. Ryan’s first starring role in Hollywood, her Sally is cute as a button and possesses that impossible to define girl-next-door quality. That intrinsic essence makes her approachable in the movie despite being a first-rate beauty. You can’t help but see what Harry finds appealing about Sally and her quirks with Meg Ryan playing her. It’s one of the elements that makes When Harry Met Sally a classic.

It’s hard to believe When Harry Met Sally is thirty years old. The romantic comedy defies the conventional Hollywood formula with fantastic writing and two perfect leads playing off each other. Billy Crystal turns on the charm with his sly comedic wit and personality. Meg Ryan is the perfect partner for his antics in this timeless romantic comedy.

Video

Shout Factory licensed When Harry Met Sally from MGM, which first released the movie on Blu-ray back in 2011. A new 4K film scan from the original camera negative has been struck for this 30th Anniversary edition and it’s fantastic.

The meticulous transfer has brought out even more detail and definition from the 1989 movie than I believed possible. It pops with detail and has splendid color rendition. This is a striking catalog presentation that pulls out everything possible from the camera negative, while retaining film-like qualities. The color grading is warm and consistent, offering a surprisingly rich palette for the New York-based movie.

This nigh perfect 1080P presentation has it all – impeccable black levels, complete grain structure, healthy flesh-tones, superior shadow delineation, an incredibly effective AVC encode that runs at high bitrate parameters. The film elements are clean and free of deterioration, appearing fresh and lively. A tiny hint of ringing creeps into a couple of the final scenes. Otherwise there are no signs of significant video processing or filtering.

Audio

In great news, Shout Factory has included the original stereo mix in 2.0 DTS-HD MA. The original MGM BD failed to include it. Also provided is a serviceable 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack with an adequate surround mix, if you aren’t expecting directional sound and heavy immersion. There is little happening in the rear channels outside of the score. This is a dialogue-driven movie with most of it coming from the center channel. Occasional stereo effects spread out the audio over the front soundstage.

All original music is intact, including Frank Sinatra’s “It Had to Be You” that runs near the end of the movie. Some digital copies of the movie had dropped some of the bigger songs in the soundtrack.

Optional English subtitles play in a white font. No dubs are included. If you are looking for more subtitle and dub options, the earlier MGM Blu-ray is loaded with them.

Extras

This 30th Anniversary edition from Shout Factory arrives as part of their growing Shout Select line, numbered #59 on the spine. It comes with a slipcover and reversible cover art.

Shout Factory has brought over all the special features from MGM’s original BD, while also adding a lengthy new interview that includes both Rob Reiner and Billy Crystal. That includes two separate commentaries. This is now the definitive edition of the film on home video. It’s a fine assortment of extras and featurettes that delves into the production with cast and crew interviews.

Scenes from a Friendship (44:34 in HD) – This brand-new, joint interview with Rob Reiner and Billy Crystal offers excellent insight into the movie and the two men’s friendship. Comfortably sitting together, they discuss how they first met and recall anecdotes working together on the movie. This is an interview that will delight Billy Crystal fans, as the actor and comedian brings his trademark wit to the conversation.

Audio Commentary with Rob Reiner, Nora Ephron, And Billy Crystal – A very relaxed, jovial discussion that isn’t as high energy as I expected. Some interesting insights but you get the feeling punches were being pulled by all involved.

Audio Commentary with Rob Reiner – The solo commentary has the director discussing his reasoning and how the movie was made more than the group commentary.

How Harry Met Sally documentary (33:21 in SD)

It All Started Like This featurette (19:48 in SD)

What Harry Meeting Sally Meant featurette (12:29 in SD)

I Love New York featurette (08:29 in SD)

“So, Can Men and Women Really Be Friends?” featurette (07:54 in SD)

Seven Deleted Scenes (07:24 in SD)

Creating Harry featurette (05:47 in SD)

Stories of Love featurette (05:10 in SD)

When Rob Met Billy featurette (03:56 in SD)

Music Video by Harry Connick Jr. (02:50 in SD)

Original Theatrical Trailer (02:12 in SD)

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray release was provided to us for review by the label. For information on how we handle all review material, please visit our about us page to learn more about DoBlu’s editorial policies.

When Harry Met Sally
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
5

When Harry Met Sally: 30th Anniversary Edition

The romantic comedy remains a landmark in the genre, still fantastically entertaining after all these years. Buy this edition for the incredible new film transfer.

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