Love Overcomes Death

Winner of two Academy Awards, Ghost took the country by surprise in 1990 to become a giant box office smash. Starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore with a funny supporting turn by Whoopi Goldberg, the romantic film dabbled in several genres. Known for its epic use of the Righteous Brothers’ classic hit Unchained Melody, Ghost’s infamous pottery wheel scene has become the stuff of movie legend and parody.

Banker Sam Wheat (Patrick Swayze) and artist Molly Jensen (Demi Moore) are madly in love with each other. Moving in together and on the verge of marriage, their untouchable romance is about to come crashing down. In a brilliantly economical opening act that lays out Ghost’s premise, Sam is murdered in a seemingly random street robbery.

Now a powerless spirit that can’t touch or contact Molly, Sam learns that her life is in danger. Sam seeks out the help of psychic Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg) to set things right and warn Molly. Sam’s old friend and co-worker Carl Bruner (Tony Goldwyn) helps Molly out after Sam’s death.

Ghost’s infamous pottery wheel scene has become the stuff of movie legend and parody

Mostly known as a comedy director with his brother David Zucker on classics like Airplane and Top Secret, Jerry Zucker hops genres in Ghost. The genre-defying film has a little bit of everything, from straight romance to laughs provided mostly by Whoopi Goldberg’s sassy psychic. The well-written screenplay fully develops each character without relying on gimmicks, placing Sam and Molly in a dangerous situation they must figure out how to solve together.

The onscreen chemistry between Swayze and Moore is off the charts, indelibly captured in one of the most parodied film scenes of the last four decades. Their sheer chemistry together is half the reason Ghost became such a popular movie. Already a huge star from Dirty Dancing, Swayze was at the height of his leading man charisma. Ghost’s success made Demi Moore a bankable Hollywood star for most of the 1990s.

Zucker’s mix of genres made money because it’s a crowd-pleasing film with something for everyone. The romance is definitely made with an eye toward female audiences, while some of the more thrilling elements in the script play better with male audiences. And everyone enjoys hearing Unchained Melody, which brought the classic song back into popularity. The song and film are forever linked. Known as one of the more romantic films ever made by Hollywood, Ghost deservedly remains a fan favorite decades later.

Video

Director Jerry Zucker supervises a brand-new 4K film restoration and transfer for Ghost, strongly improving upon the now twelve-year-old original Blu-ray for his film. The 1990 film used many optical effects, knocking down the overall sharpness and definition in select scenes.

However, the new transfer’s color tonality and black levels show nice improvement. While every film deserves a UHD release, it’s not a crime that Ghost’s new 4K transfer only gets released at 1080P. I’m not sure the film would wow in actual 4K.

Paramount gives the 1.78:1 film-like presentation strong technical parameters, transparently capturing the celluloid grain with proper fidelity and care. While actual detail isn’t that much greater, there is more life and vibrancy that should be obvious to most viewers. Processing isn’t aggressive, though it’s clear some minor touch-ups have been performed here and there. Clarity and sharpness are definitely improved without intrusive ringing.

Audio

Heard in decently impressive 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, Ghost has a smooth score from composer Maurice Jarre and an inconsistently discrete surround mix. Rear surrounds are fairly active when Sam as a ghost passes through doors, creating a palpable presence.

This is still an “older” surround mix from a 1990 production, offering less punch and vigor than today’s full-throated mixes. The score and musical elements are supported with atmospheric touches. Dialogue is cleanly rendered, though a little dull and flat. This appears to be identical to the original lossless surround track found on the original BD.

A range of subtitle and secondary audio options are included. Optional subtitles include English, English SDH, German, Japanese and French in a white font. Lossy French, German and Japanese audio tracks are included, not to mention a Descriptive English Audio selection.

Extras

Released as part of Paramount’s deluxe “Paramount Presents” reissue line and continuing its trade dress, Ghost is labeled as #8 in the collection. The limited edition release arrives in a classy, clear BD case with an extra-thick slipcover that opens up to reveal the original movie poster.

This new edition gains one new featurette and surprisingly drops two featurettes found on the DVDs and original BD. The losses aren’t huge but mystifying considering the premium Paramount is charging. There’s a third making-of featurette from the first DVD that has never appeared on any other release. A little disappointing for what should be the ultimate version on home video.

Audio Commentary with director Jerry Zucker and screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin – A conversation between the pair that reveals immense differences in the two men and how they approach filmmaking. Occasionally drags but offers enough insight by both for passable entertainment. This commentary was copied over from the existing BD.

FILMMAKER FOCUS: Director Jerry Zucker On Ghost (06:24 in HD) – An all-new featurette interviewing the director, talking up the cast and working on the visual effects.

Ghost Stories: The Making of a Classic featurette (13:06 in SD) – An archival making-of featurette with key cast and crew members, though Demi Moore only shows up in footage shot during filming. Some behind-the-scenes footage is featured.

Alchemy of a Love Scene (06:16 in SD) – An archival featurette that dives into the famous pottery wheel scene and changes during production.

Ghost Theatrical Trailer (02:30 in HD)

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Ghost
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  • Extras
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Movie

Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore ooze chemistry in this hauntingly romantic thriller with humorous touches by director Jerry Zucker and supporting star Whoopi Goldberg.

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The 15 unaltered screenshots below are from the Blu-ray. For an additional 31 Ghost screenshots, early access to all screens (plus the 120,000+ already in our library), 100 exclusive 4K UHD reviews, and more goodies, subscribe on Patreon.