Dirty Dancing: Limited Keepsake Edition Blu-ray Review
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX
- Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
- Region: A
- Rating: PG-13
- Discs: 2
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Blu-ray Release Date: May 4, 2010
- List Price: $34.99
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
In 1987, Dirty Dancing became a phenomenon. It’s not necessarily a noteworthy musical that stands out for anything in particular, but it does have a certain period charm that draws you in to its schmaltzy big dance productions.
Set in 1963 to the backdrop of an Upstate New York resort, the film is the coming of age story of Frances “Baby” Houseman (Jennifer Grey) as she summers with her family. Quickly growing weary of her family’s boring daily rituals, Baby begins to explore the resort and the lives of it employees. This is when she comes across Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze), the sexy bad boy dance instructor and the others “dirty dancing” at a late night party — grinding their bodies together suggestively to some way-cool r&b music.
A tossed in side story about Johnny’s dance partner and old girlfriend getting “knocked up” and needing to get an illegal abortion leads to Baby becoming Johnny’s stand-in dance partner. As Johnny gives Baby a crash course in ballroom dance, their relationship blooms into a summer romance that neither Baby’s father nor Johnny’s boss would approve of.
The film is surely flawed; firstly in its odd mix of classic early-60′s rock ‘n’ roll and 80′s overproduced pop. The eighties tunes pull viewers out of the period. Secondly, there is an obvious cliché feeling when watching Dirty Dancing; good girl meets dangerous, bad boy, summer fling ensues, etc., etc. Still, the dance segments are sexy and Swayze and Grey are at their peaks. This is an 80′s date night classic, guys.
The packaging says “newly remastered” and I will assume that this edition of Dirty Dancing must be, given all the well known problems the original Blu-ray release of the film had. This 1.78:1 AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encoding still has that soft, grainy look that many films from the 1980′s suffer from and given Dirty Dancing’s low budget, it probably suffered even more so. Flesh tones, however, look natural and consistent, shadow detail is nicely extended and there is no evidence of edge enhancement. This film will never become a go to reference release, but this seems to be a solid effort for a twenty-three-year-old film.
I am sometimes perplexed by the reasoning behind what films are chosen to be given the 7.1 lossless treatment. A film from 1987 with very little in the way of explosive sound effects, etc. would seem to make an odd choice to be given a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack, but this release of Dirty Dancing has been given just that. I’m not sure exactly how much it benefits from it, given that the surround channels are used mainly for ambience, but the soundtrack sounds well enough given its age and the dated production of the musical soundtrack. Dialogue is mostly clean, although I did notice some very mild crackle here and there. High frequencies are smooth and easy on the ears, lows are deep, and the dynamic range is wide. The numerous dance sequences offer the most activity and they bring a lively, wide soundstage.
The new “Keepsake Edition” of Dirty Dancing on Blu-ray is a windfall of supplemental materials that will keep fans of the film and its stars busy for hours. Particularly of interest will be the many interview segments with Patrick Swayze as well as the tribute to the late actor. Unfortunately, viewers will have to settle for standard definition for all of the video extras offered up on this release except the original theatrical trailer. Additionally, the set is packaged in a keepsake box with a hardcover book that contains full color production stills and cast and filmmaker bios.
The supplements provided on this release are:
- Commentary with writer/co-producer Eleanor Bergstein
- Commentary with Filmmakers
- Trivia Track
- Kellerman’s: Reliving the Locations of the Film (1.78:1; 480i/60; 0:12.24)
- The Dirty Dancing Phenomenon (1.78:1; 480i/60; 0:13.43)
- In Memoriam
- A Tribute to Patrick Swayze
- Emile Ardolino Tribute
- Tribute to Jerry Orbach
- The Rhythm of the Dancing (1.78:1; 480i/60; 0:04.08)
- For the Fans:
- Fan Reel
- James and Julia Derbyshire: Dancing Across the Pond
- Dancing to the Music (1.78:1; 480i/60; 0:16.32)
- Theatrical Trailer (1.78:1; 1080p/24)
- Dirty Dancing with Patrick Swayze (1.78:1; 480i/60; 0:12.28)
- Eleanor Bergstein Script
- Outtakes (1.78:1; 480i/60; 0:00.38)
- Music Videos:
- “Hungry Eyes”
- “She’s Like the Wind”
- “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life”
- Multi-Angle Dance Sequences:
- The Lift
- Everybody Dance
- Interviews (1.78:1; 480i/60):
- Jennifer Grey
- Eleanor Bergstein
- Miranda Garrison
- Kenny Ortega
- Original Screen Tests (1.78:1; 480i/60):
- Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey Screen Test Montage
- Jennifer Grey Screen Test Comparisons
- Deleted, Alternate, and Extended Scenes (1.78:1; 480i/60)
- Vintage Featurette (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:06.45)
- Photo Gallery (1080p)
- Dirty Dancing Live in Concert (1.33:1; 480i/60; 1.22:56)
- Digital Copy
The Definitive Word
Lionsgate has righted the wrongs on their original release of this film to Blu-ray and added in an abundance of supplements making this a great value for anyone who enjoys this enduring musical and dance phenomenon.
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