Cry-Baby appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Despite some rock y moments, the transfer usually looked strong.
Sharpness presented very few concerns. A smidgen of edge enhancement created slight softness, but these instances remained very minor. Instead, the movie was consistently concise and distinctive. I noticed no jagged edges, but elements like striped shirts created light shimmering. After a grainy opening, source flaws stayed modest. The occasional speck or bit of grit cropped up, but not a lot of concerns appeared.
Colors looked terrific. Cry-Baby went with a bright palette, and the movie demonstrated those tones nicely. The hues always came across as lively and dynamic. Blacks were also dense and firm, while low-light sequences seemed appropriately clear and visible. I flip-flopped between a “B” and a “B+” for the image but went with the higher grade because so much of the flick looked so good.
I didn’t expect much from the Dolby Surround 2.0 soundtrack of Cry-Baby, but it worked pretty well. The soundscape accentuated the movie’s heavy use of music. The songs showed solid stereo imaging across the front and received a little reinforcement from the rear. Effects played a much smaller role, though they presented decent localization and movement. Other than the songs, don’t expect to hear much from the surrounds, as they stayed pretty passive. I didn’t mind, as the stereo presentation in the front was more than adequate for this film.
Music also fared well when I examined the quality of the audio. The songs and score consistently came across as lively and dynamic, with clean highs and deep lows. Effects were a less prominent element, but they seemed reasonably accurate and clear. Speech usually was crisp and concise, though some edginess occasionally affected the lines. As with the music, I debated a “B” versus a “B+” and went with the lower grade because I didn’t think the mix was ambitious enough for the higher mark. Still, I felt pleased with the soundtrack.
A smattering of supplements fills out the DVD. First comes an audio commentary with director John Waters. He provides a running, screen-specific chat. And a chatty chat this is, as Waters offers an honest and amiable assessment of his film.
Much of the time Waters tells us about the real-life inspirations for elements of Cry-Baby. We hear about many aspects of his youth that influenced the film as well as pieces taken from his later years. In typical Waters style, many of these have seedy origins. We also get many good notes about the cast and crew, locations and details of the shoot, and differences between the director’s cut and the theatrical version. Additionally, Waters gives us his impression of what it was like to make his first “Hollywood” flick. The track sags at times, but usually it offers a lively and entertaining listen.
Next we get a documentary entitled It Came From Baltimore. This 47-minute and 39-second piece offers the standard mix of movie clips, archival materials and interviews. We hear from Waters, Rock On Film author David Ehrenstein, producer Rachel Talalay, property master Brook Yeaton, casting director Pat Moran, choreographer Lori Eastside, production designer Vince Peranio, costumer Van Smith, music supervisors Becky Mancuso and Tim Sexton, composer Dave Alvin, fan/DJ Del Villarreal, and actors Johnny Depp, Traci Lords, Ricki Lake, Kim McGuire, Stephen Mailer, Darren Burrows and Amy Locane,
The program covers the movie’s influences and precursors, character inspirations, getting Hollywood funding and connected issues, shooting the flick, its look and design, ratings problems, casting and rehearsals, the film’s music, choreography and related notes, cut sequences and alternate versions, the premiere and general anecdotes. That area comprises most of “Baltimore” and makes the show fun. Not a ton of material repeats from Waters’ commentary, and we get a high number of entertaining tales. These make the program move quickly and create a likable and informative piece.
Five Deleted Scenes last a total of seven minutes and two seconds. Two of these offer a subplot in which girlie photographer Toe-Joe Jackson recruits Wanda, while another provides a musical number called “Chicken”. We see a child contortionist act at the talent show and also a quick shot in which Milton vomits from a helicopter onto the judge. None are essential, but all are interesting to see – well, except for maybe that talent show bit, as it seems pointless.
The DVD opens with some ads. We find previews for The Big Lebowski, The Wedding Date, Northern Exposure and a general promo for Focus Pictures.
Is it possible to discuss John Waters and not use the word “campy” repeatedly? No, and Cry-Baby reminds us why. A campy spoof of Fifties teen movies, it occasionally connects but it usually fizzles. The DVD presents very good picture and audio along with a few strong extras. Fans will definitely embrace this solid release, but I can’t recommend the lackluster film to others who’ve not seen it.