Updated: Feb 13
4K ULTRA HD REVIEW / HDR FRAME SHOTS
Molly Ringwald stars in her third John Hughes' film as Andie, a senior at Meadowbrook High School.
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“PRETTY IN PINK: PARAMOUNT PRESENTS”
4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, 1986; PG-13 for language, teen smoking, and drugs; Streaming via Amazon Prime Video, Apple (4K), FandangoNOW (4K), Google Play (4K), iTunes (4K), Vudu (4K), YouTube (4K)
Best extra: “Filmmaker Focus: Director Howard Deutch on ‘Pretty in Pink’”
FINALLY, the 4K and the Blu-ray release of John Hughes’ 1980s Cinderella tale – “Pretty in Pink.”
For decades, Gen-Xers felt “Pink’s” portrayal of teen angst was spot on, featuring a highly lauded soundtrack, choice style, and a group of actors who are better known in the 2000s for other acting roles. Still, it was Hughes’ debut as writer/producer, after his highly successful scripts for “Home Alone” (1990), “Mr. Mom” (1983) and his “Brat Pack” films which he also directed “Sixteen Candles” (1984) and “The Breakfast Club” (1985), and both starred Ringwald.
Hughes always had a soft spot for Ringwald. In fact, he wrote “Pretty in Pink” for his fave and named it after the Psychedelic Furs’ song by the same name.
For Hughes, the plot deepened his look at teens and their trials and tribulations. Andie (Ringwald) deals with an unemployed father (played beautifully by veteran actor Harry Dean Stanton) coping with the abandonment of his wife, who left three years earlier. Andie needs to maintain her grades while working after school in order to get a scholarship to pay for college. The ‘richies,’ teenagers whose parents had means, bully the kids from the other side of the tracks. “Duckie” (Jon Cryer), Andie’s bestie since they were kids, copes with unrequited feelings from Andie; and Blane (Andrew McCarthy) battles his rich best friends to date Andie despite the odds against them.
(1) John Marshall High School in Los Angeles subs for Meadowbrook HS. (2) “Duckie” (Jon Cryer), greets Andie before the first bell. (3&4) Andie's American history class where she's ridiculed by two 'richie' girls.
Weave those storylines in with movie-making history, like Cryer’s epic, lip-sync scene to Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness” at TRAX, the music store where Andie works. An unforgettable post-prom make-out kiss between Blane and Andie and Iona’s (Annie Potts) overdose on nostalgia in her prom dress from the 1960s, wearing a beehive hairdo as she slow dances with Andie in her Chinatown apartment.
How can you not love this movie?
As for this Paramount release, you get some insight on just how much was riding on this film for Deutch and for Hughes. The studio wanted Hughes to take a step back from directing. That’s how Deutch got the director’s chair, even though up until this point, he had only done music-videos directing (Billy Joel’s “Keeping the Faith,” for one).
The pair spent an inordinate amount of time together, according to Deutch in the releases’ sole new feature: “Filmmaker Focus: Director Howard Deutch on “Pretty in Pink.’” Deutch said he became a part of the Hughes’ family, spending the night, eating dinner at his house with his wife and children. He also befriended the young cast to help them feel at ease with him as director. At one point, Jon Cryer actually lived with him.
(1) The local club where Duckie hangs out with the bouncer. (2) Duckie tells Andie's father Jack, that he plans to marry his daughter someday. (3) Blane (Andrew McCarthy) meets Andie at TRAX, the record store where she works. (4) Duckie and Andie study for an American history test.
There was some back and forth between Hughes and Paramount studio execs, who wanted Deutch axed, but Hughes stuck up for him.
“I pretty much sacrificed my future to gamble and take a risk,” Deutch said. “And, there was thankfully a reward. The reward was that it worked.”
Success came down to the wire, though.
Hughes originally wrote that Duckie gets Andie after the rich guy can’t stand up to his friends or his parents and date a girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Deutch filmed it that way at the high school prom. Andie and Duckie dance off into the sunset. But, after showing it to test audiences, viewers immediately spurned the ending.
Hughes in all his brilliance rewrote the ending quickly after figuring a way to make the Blane/Andie pair work, with, of course, the help of a supporting Duckie. Blane goes to the prom alone, Andie gets her man and Duckie winds up with an adorable unintended date, the “Duckette,” as she’s referred to in the credits, Kristy Swanson, who later became “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” in the 1990’s.
In “The Lost Dance: the Original Ending,” find out how awkward the original ending was for Ringwald and how difficult the new ending was for McCarthy. If you are a fan and didn’t notice that McCarthy has to wear a wig in the new ending, you will never look at the scene the same. He donned the wig for the reshoot because he had shaved his head for a role he was starring in at the time. Bad wig. Very bad wig.
(1) Andie and Blane's first date ends up at a party Steff (James Spader) is throwing for the rich kids. They find Steff in his bedroom with his girlfriend Benny (Kate Vernon). (2) The band Rave-Ups performs the song "Positively Lost Me." (3) Andie is upset because she didn't want Blane to find out where she lives. (4) Eventually, he drives her home and gives a good night kiss.
Paramount Presents continues its 4K remastering series without releasing a single 4K disc, sourced from the original camera negative. The HD physical disc is downconverted from the 4K master, while digital platforms get the full 4K Ultra HD presentation in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio.
Film grain abounds on the Blu-ray, while grain varies on the 4K streaming sites. Apple and iTunes continue to digitally reduce the grain on most 4K movies, which softens the overall picture. Vudu keeps the grain intact – which gives the 4K a more cinematic feel and increases the clarity. Its most evident with the sparing wide shots from cinematographer Tak Fujimoto – especially the opening shot of Meadowbrook High School, with two Honda Elite scooters parked in front of a BMW with excellent detail of the building's facade.
The HDR toning features HDR10 and the more robust Dolby Vision, which gives the students natural facial toning without any red or orange push. The contrast level has deeper blacks and the mid-tones and highlights provide more depth and sharper edges.
The Blu-ray features the uncompressed six-channel DTS-HD soundtrack, while digital gets the lesser compressed Dolby Digital. The dialogue never gets lost as The Rave-Ups play at the local hangout and the soundtrack includes ‘80s rock with The Psychedelic Furs, The Smiths, Suzanne Vega, and INXS.
The world just became a better place with “Pretty in Pink” being released in the formats it has deserved for years. With social distancing still in place during this pandemic COVID-19 debacle, it’s time to revisit – or watch for the first time – these Hughes’ movies that defined a generation. You’ll be glad you did.
— Toni Guagenti
(1&2) Andie tells her dad she's in love and accepted Blane's invitation to the prom. (3&4) Andie's co-worker Iona (Annie Potts), overdoses on nostalgia in her 1960s prom dress as they slow dance before giving Andie the dress. (5) Duckie all alone.