Pretty in Pink 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. Pink provided a decent but erratic presentation.
Sharpness seemed fairly distinct and detailed, though the movie displayed some general blandness that was likely due to the film stock of the era. Many Eighties pictures haven’t held up especially well in this regard, and Pink looked like a product of its era. Exterior shots appeared nicely crisp and clear, but interiors could be somewhat drab and flat. I saw no problems with jagged edges or shimmering, but I noticed moderate edge enhancement at times. Print flaws seemed minor. Some light grain appeared, but only a few rare specks otherwise marred this clean image.
Colors appeared acceptably natural and accurate throughout the movie, but at times they could look drab and bland. The worst examples occurred during interior shots, which were a bit murky. The red lighting of a nightclub was especially muddy. Exteriors offered better definition and looked pretty solid. Black levels seemed acceptably dark though a little dull, and shadow detail was similarly flat. Low-light scenes generally appeared fairly easy to discern, but they looked too lackluster to be anything impressive. This was a perfectly acceptable transfer given the source material but not an especially memorable presentation.
I felt the same about the lackluster Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Pretty in Pink. The forward spectrum dominated and showed some decent stereo imaging. The music spread cleanly across the front speakers, and I also heard occasional use of discrete effects. These panned relatively well across the channels, and the forward audio seemed cleanly integrated. Very little came from the surrounds. They throw out some musical reinforcement but little else.
Audio quality wasn’t impressive. Speech seemed fine, though, as the lines only suffered from a smidgen of edginess. Usually they were clean and distinctive. Effects played a minor role. They appeared acceptably accurate but not particularly rich. Music was the biggest disappointment. Bass response was an issue, as the various pop/rock songs lacked notable low-end. All of this left us with a rather mediocre soundtrack.
Via this “Everything’s Duckie” edition of Pretty in Pink, we get a mix of supplements. These open with an audio commentary from director Howard Deutch. He offers a running, screen-specific look at the film. Deutch discusses working with John Hughes and director of photography Tak Fujimoto, cuts, edits and rewrites, the alternate ending, cast, characters and performances, costumes and music, and sets and production design.
That scope makes this sound like it’ll be an interesting commentary. Unfortunately, it drags an awful lot and never becomes better than mediocre. The main problem stems from the acres of dead air. Deutch goes long periods with no information, and those moments mean that the track becomes tedious. Deutch offers some decent material at times, but the commentary usually seems dull.
Most of the remaining extras revolve around featurettes. The First Time: The Making of Pretty in Pink goes for 12 minutes and 54 seconds. It mixes movie snippets, archival materials, and interviews with Deutch, writer/executive producer John Hughes (in 1985), producer Lauren Shuler Donner, and actors Molly Ringwald, Jon Cryer, and Andrew McCarthy.
The show looks at the script and its development, how Deutch came onto the project, performances, Hughes’ impact on the production, and the movie’s cinematography. We also hear about music and how all the parties collaborated. Inevitably, some of the material repeats from the commentary, but “Time” acts as a decent overview of the production. It’s too brief and superficial, though; I’d have liked a longer, more detailed program. This one throws out some nice notes but not a ton of specifics.
During the 18-minute and 26-second Zoids and Richies, we hear from Hughes (in 1985), Deutch, Ringwald, Cryer, McCarthy, Shuler Donner, and actor Annie Potts. The program looks at casting and other actors considered for some of the parts, characters and performances, rehearsals and relationships during the shoot. “Zoids” fleshes out actor-related subjects quite well. I like learning about other casting options, and we find some nice stories about filming the flick. “Zoids” turns into an informative little piece.
The lead actress takes the spotlight in Prom Queen: All About Molly. It runs 12 minutes, 42 seconds and includes notes from Ringwald, Hughes (1985), Donner, Potts, McCarthy and Deutch. We learn about Ringwald’s teen life during the shoot, how her relationship with Hughes developed, Ringwald’s take on her character and how she related to her, and various aspects of the production. I feared that “Queen” would be little more than a puff piece to talk about the greatness of Ringwald, but it gives us more depth than that. We learn insights into her career and work, especially as they relate to Pink. It succeeds as a nice program.
More about Andie’s clothes shows up in the nine-minute and 17-second Volcanic Ensembles. It features Deutch, Cryer, Ringwald, Potts, and costume designer Marilyn Vance. As expected, we get details on costume design and how the filmmakers chose all the different outfits. The piece digs into the topic with acceptable gusto and provides solid notes about this area of the production.
A short series of memories appear during Prom Stories. It offers thoughts from McCarthy, Shuler, Deutch, Potts, and Ringwald, and goes for three minutes, 10 seconds. Only Ringwald’s statements come from new interviews; the others all emanate from 1985. Some mildly amusing stories emerge, but don’t get your hopes up for anything scintillating. This is a forgettable piece.
More cast and crew reflections pop up in an area called Favorite Scenes. We look at eight different segments for a total running time of 20 minutes and 18 seconds. In addition to glimpses of the various scenes, we find comments from Ringwald, Deutch, Cryer, Potts, and actor Kate Vernon. We watch a mix of sequences and get insights into their creation. I feared this would just be a lot of blather and praise, but it gives us good information about the production. We definitely learn a lot in this useful featuette.
A look at deleted material shows via The Lost Dance: The Original Ending (12:16). It includes remarks from McCarthy, Cryer, Donner, Ringwald, Potts and Deutch. We hear about the nature of the original ending and learn about its shoot along why the filmmakers dropped it. We also get remarks about the reshoot for the ending actually used in the film. I’d have liked to see the actual footage of the cut ending, but we find out so much about it that we don’t lose much by not watching it. “Dance” covers the subject well.
For a summary of the film, we move to Wrap Up: The Epilogue. The six-minute and 45-second show features Hughes (1985), Donner, Cryer, McCarthy, Ringwald, Potts, and Deutch. They discuss their thoughts on how the flick would do at the time, current appraisals of it, considerations about a sequel, and general notions related to Pink. They give us a slightly puffy but generally thoughtful capper on the DVD’s extras.
The DVD ends with a Photo Gallery that includes 29 shots. These mix publicity images and snaps from the set. They’re forgettable for the most part. No trailer for Pink comes on this disc.
In the Eighties, John Hughes milked teen drama for all it was worth, but that doesn’t mean he did so with consistent success. As someone who went to high school in that era, I should enjoy this nonsense if just due to my memories, but Pretty in Pink is so overwrought and cheesy that I found it tough to take. The DVD presents fairly mediocre picture and audio along with a very nice set of extras. The audio commentary bores, but the rest of the supplements add quite a lot to the set. I can’t recommend this tedious film to new viewers, but I expect the DVD will please fans of Pink.