When Harry Met Sally…The Collector's Edition – DVD Review

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Director: Rob Reiner
Starring: Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan, Carrie Fisher, Bruno Kirby

MPAA Rating: R for language, adult situations
DVD Release Date: January 15, 2008
Run Time: 96 minutes

The Movie

Back When Harry Met Sally… was released in the summer of 1989, it was a raunchy and groundbreaking comedy. Men and women talking about sex so openly? Women talking about orgasms? Women FAKE orgasms??? This movie brought so many things to the surface of popular culture, it’s hard to imagine what the world was like before When Harry Met Sally…

For those of you unfamiliar with the movie, Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) and Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) have just graduated college in Chicago and are both on their way to New York City to seek their fortune. Neither of them know anyone in New York, so they have no way to get there except to car pool together. Along the way, they bicker about relationships and Harry makes the now famous observation that men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way. They part ways when they get to New York, but meet up over the next several years. Eventually they become good friends and Harry was right, the sex part gets in the way.

There are so many reasons why this has become a classic. One of the biggest reasons, for me, is because of the cast. With the exception of Meg Ryan being stunningly gorgeous despite the hideous 80’s haircuts, they’re all so…ordinary looking. But, her character is so quirky and complicated that she is an ordinary person as Sally Albright. Every character seems like a regular person. We all know people like these people. We all know a very high maintenance girl who also happens to be very fun to hang out with. We all know a womanizing guy who also happens to be very caring and protective of his friends. We all have best friends like Marie (Carrie Fisher) and Jess (Bruno Kirby) who have the best of intentions for us, but don’t always lead us in the right direction. We all talk like these people, exceptionally candid about the details of our sex lives, especially with friends as close as these. These are some of the most relatable characters ever created.

Speaking of the candid discussions about sex, the script is another key element of this film that makes it a classic. Nora Ephron (Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail) penned the script with a great amount of vulnerability. When you write a script that deals with sex, obviously some of the dialogue and the events that take place are inspired by true events. I’m sure she put a lot out there with this film. In taking such a risk, she’s turned these types of discussions into mainstream, everyday vernacular.

When Harry Met Sally… is the classic that just about every American has seen. It’s on the list of AFI’s Best Movie Quotes, and was nominated for an Oscar and for five Golden Globes. If you haven�t seen it, the newest DVD release is a good excuse to finally pick it up. Even if you have seen it, the newest DVD release is a good excuse to reacquaint yourself with Harry Burns and Sally Albright.


The Video

Presented in 1.85:1 aspect ratio, the video is superbly preserved in this Collector’s Edition release. No grainy 80’s look here.

The Audio

There wasn’t too much to notice about the audio, other than the clarity of the dialogue in the “Old People Scenes”. I remember watching this on VHS and they were hard to understand at times. We are also given English and Spanish subtitles for this release.

The Extras

Here’s the meat of the release. There would be no other reason for a lover of this film to buy this release other than the offerings of special features. They do not disappoint.
We get seven new featurettes including:
“It All Started Like This” – An almost 20 minute long dialogue between Rob Reiner and Nora Ephron about how the movie came to be. Sometimes it’s fun to watch these two old friends banter back and forth, but at other times it’s like watching an awards show: a lot of patting each other on the back.
“Stories of Love” – Background on the “Old People Scenes”, some of my favorite parts of the movie. Run time: 5:09
“When Rob Met Billy” – Very cute. This one tells the background of how Rob Reiner and Billy Crystal met. Run time: 3:55
“Creating Harry” – Another really cute one. You’ll never guess who the character of Harry is based on. Run time: 5:46.
“I Love New York” – An 8 1/2 minute tribute to New York City and the filming locations.
“What Harry Meeting Sally Meant” – About how the film has become a classic worldwide. Run time: 12:28
“So, Can Men and Women Really Be Friends?” – Watch this one to find out! I was actually surprised at some of the answers. Run time: 7:53

We also get seven new Deleted Scenes. Most of them are not worth mentioning, except for a deleted “Old Person Scene”. Why they deleted this is beyond me. These are the best scenes in the movie!

Also, there is a commentary with Rob Reiner, Nora Ephron and Billy Crystal. I watched the commentary after I had watched all of the extras, and it was probably to my disadvantage. They had already told most of the stories they were telling in the featurettes! Especially the stories Mr. Reiner and Ms. Ephron were telling. Their featurette was so long, they had so much time to already tell their stories. After about 30 minutes in, and they got their stories out of the way, the commentary turned into three good, old friends watching a movie together that they really enjoyed. It was really nice.

Rounding out the Extras are:

MGM Romance – Which is a montage of MGM Romantic Movies newly released to DVD.

West Side Story – A trailer for the new 2 disc special edition DVD.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for When Harry Met Sally…Collector’s Edition
(OUT OF 10)