New Richness

Pretty in Pink is fascinating. Not because of what it is, but rather what it was. Audiences booed at test screenings when Molly Ringwald chose Jon Cryer instead of Andrew McCarthy. So, Paramount changed the ending, and Pretty in Pink is what is today.

The takeaway is how teens view these movies. Programming over decades and familiar twists – of which Pretty in Pink is full of – means people can’t see past the routine. Pretty and Pink concerns outcasts. Ringwald makes her own clothes and works in an eccentric record shop, coached by the equally vibrant Annie Potts. Cryer’s endless energy (and equally quirky style) leads him to bounce down hallways and dance wildly for Ringwald.

But no – Ringwald, the girl who literally lives on the wrong side of the tracks, falls for the rich, princely guy.

Pretty in Pink isn’t a terrible movie so much as an indifferent, derivative one

For 90-minutes, Pretty in Pink bemoans wealth. The prissy, judgmental rich girls bully anyone not in their clique. At a party, there’s not a room where Ringwald feels welcome, or isn’t given an awkward stare. In the first classroom scene, the teacher discusses the New Deal and capitalism, this while the girls shoot leering glances toward one another over their clothes. Pretty in Pink allows Ringwald to reject the lust for ‘80s wealth, and then conforms because the target demographic didn’t understand.

Maybe that’s Pretty in Pink’s failing, but that assumes holding a sign toward the camera stating, “Being poor isn’t a character flaw” might work against the hormonal rush. Doubtful. So instead, the story acquiesces, and Pretty in Pink exists as little else other than a Sixteen Candles retread.

If there’s honesty in this story, thank Harry Dean Stanton whose marvelous portrayal of a long-suffering, single dad goes beyond teen romance tropes. His performance and emotion conveys genuine sincerity, this in a movie more fairy tale than reality. If the ending punishes anyone, it’s Stanton who spends Pretty in Pink frozen in a lower middle class depression, trying to moralize with his daughter, but she “marries up” because society considers that a win.

Pretty in Pink isn’t a terrible movie so much as an indifferent, derivative one. Ringwald is, as always, fantastic. Potts’ produces a memorable character. Cryer goes too enthusiastic, yet feels right considering his feelings. John Hughes’ touch is evident too, if only because he’s copying himself. Shame though when Pretty in Pink doesn’t capture its own message.


Debuting a new 4K scan, Paramount delivers a spotless print and flawless encode for this release. Well preserved film grain doesn’t lose its organic quality. And unlike certain other discs in the Paramount Presents line, no attempt is made to digitally reduce the film stock’s quality.

If anything is amiss in Pretty in Pink’s presentation, it’s contrast. Often running hot, clipping turns into a problem. If not often severe, enough to take notice. Look at the principal’s desk when Ringwald is called in; the papers scattered around show no detail, just a bright glow. Thankfully, black levels play nicer, deep, solid, and rich.

Significant detail appears while giving Pretty in Pink a renewed gloss. Texture is everywhere, not only resolving facial detail, but the many exteriors too – the school looks spectacular in a handful of shots. The resolution increase makes a notable, visible difference. Likewise, a boost to color saturation brings out far more than just pink, pouring on primaries to liven up Annie Potts’ home décor and Ringwald’s style.


A vivid soundtrack excels when spilling from this DTS-HD 5.1 mix. Stereo work gives songs/the score space in the front soundstage. Range is pure enough to add a little bulk in the low-end, however minor that push is.

Rear channels find little or no use. Some rain, maybe a bell ringing down school hallways; not much else. It’s a mix true to the source, rich in fidelity and accuracy.


New to this disc, director Howard Deutch speaks for seven minutes in a retrospective interview. Typical stuff. An isolated score is a new addition too. A 12-minute featurette on the original ending carries over from the previous Blu-ray.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Pretty in Pink
  • Video
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  • Extras


John Hughes remixed his formula when writing Pretty in Pink, a story letdown by its ending that chooses to ignore the message.

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