When When Harry Met Sally… arrived back in the summer 1989, I had written it off as Rob Reiner trying to make a Woody Allen film. Billy Crystal was playing a variation of the nebbish character without glasses. Meg Ryan was filling in for the Diane Keaton/Mia Farrow role. New York City played itself. This was a lesser version of Annie Hall or Manhattan made for Meatheads. I was wrong. Really wrong. History has seriously flipped the script. When Harry Met Sally… truly explored the relationship between a man and a woman. Annie Hall and Manhattan comes off as an alibi for Woody Allen’s true nature that he someone claimed was his cinematic persona. It’s hard not to wince when rewatching a Woody Allen film. However rewatching What Harry Met Sally… inspires many moments of “they were right about that.”
When Harry Burns (Soap‘s Billy Crystal) first met Sally Albright (Sleepless in Seattle‘s Meg Ryan), the sparks didn’t fly. Unlike most romances, the duo’s post-college drive from the University of Chicago to Manhattan was semi-uneventful. Harry was dating Sally’s best friend so she didn’t pay him much mind on the journey except to get upset when he talked about how women and men can’t be friends since a guy will always want to hook up. She finds it easy to resist the abrasive guy even with his offer of grapes. At the end of the trip, she dumps him off at Washington Square Arch without a desire to see him again. And all goes well until a few years later when she bumps into him at the airport. At first he doesn’t recognize her and only talks to her boyfriend. She figures she’s dodged a bullet until he ends up in the seat behind her on the flight and finally recognizes Sally. The two kinda rehash old times. Both have partners so neither are flirting. Once more Sally waves goodbye to him. This is a romance story that takes its time getting started. That doesn’t happen until Sally is at a bookstore with her friend Marie (Star Wars‘ Carrie Fisher). Marie spots what she thinks is a creepy stalker poking over a book shelf. Turns out it’s Harry and this time they stick together because things have abruptly changed for both of them in their relationships. The two form an usual bond as she puts up with Harry’s sense of humor and he deals with Sally’s micromanaging way at restaurants. More importantly they help set up their friends as Marie falls for Harry’s pal Jess (Superdad‘s Bruno Kirby). But this film is about the relationship between Harry and Sally. That evolves.
The film has aged well. No matter how many times you see it, the deli scene is funny as Rob Reiner’s mother Estelle nails her reaction line. The messed up relationship between Harry and Sally is pretty much normal as you grow up. Life would have probably been different for me if I’d recognized the warnings and tips of When Harry Met Sally… instead of dismissing them out of hand since things didn’t seem as lofty as a Woody Allen production that justified dating a high school girl. There’s quite a bit of deep insight into relationships even if it comes from the mouth of Billy Crystal.
The video is 1.85:1. The transfer was made from the camera negative and brings out the scenery of Manhattan. The audio is 5.1 DTS-HD MA Surround. There’s also the original mix on 2.0 DTS-HD MA. Things sound fine during the character’s talks of relationships and Meg’s big deli moment. The movie is subtitled.
Audio Commentary With Rob Reiner, Nora Ephron, And Billy Crystal allows the three creative figures to discuss the film and give details about the production. A second audio commentary with Rob Reiner allows him to be a little more focused without Billy Crystal in the booth.
Scenes From a Friendship (44:34) is a recent conversation between Rob Reiner and Billy Crystal. They are shocked that it’s been 30 years since the movie was made. Billy sees it as the highlight of his film career.
How Harry Met Sally (33:21) has Rob talk about how the film reflected his life after his divorce from Penny Marshall (Laverne & Shirley).
It All Started Like This (19:48) has Nora Ephron and Rob Reiner discuss the start of the screenwriting process. It all started with lunch at the Russian Tea Room.
What Harry Meeting Sally Meant (12:29) has the filmmakers discuss the movie sees a relationship from both sides of the couple.
I Love New York (8:29) talks about the film is all about the Big Apple. Billy Crystal points out that Woody Allen isn’t the only guy who makes movies in New York.
So Can Men and Women Really Be Friends? (7:54) has Rob point out that as a married couple, a guy can’t have a close female friend because the wife won’t be happy.
Creating Harry (5:47) allows Billy to explain the construction of Harry Burns.
Stories of Love (5:10) has Rob talk about casting the couples that gave testimonials. The stories are true although the people telling the might not be the same people. They expose how Rob fell in love on the set.
When Rob Met Billy (3:56) has the duo talking about meeting on the set of All In the Family when Billy was cast as Meathead’s best friend. The duo decided to become friends. Billy had to angle to get the part because Rob wasn’t thinking of him as Harry.
Deleted Scenes (7:24) includes Billy doing Brando and more of the exit interview.
Theatrical Trailer[;p (2:12) sets up the idea that no man can be friends with a woman because he’ll always want to hook up with her.
Music Video By Harry Connick Jr. (2:50) is a much younger Harry doing “It Had to Be You.”
Shout! Factory presents When Harry Met Sally…. Directed by Rob Reiner. Screenplay by: Nora Ephron. Starring: Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan, Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby. Rated: R. Running Time: 96 minutes. Released: January 8, 2019.
Tags: billy crystal, Meg Ryan, Shout! Factory, When Harry Met Sally