- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit)
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
- Subtitles Color: White
- Region: ABC (Region-Free)
- Rating: PG
- Run Time: 124 Mins.
- Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
- Studio: Touchstone Home Entertainment
- Blu-ray Release Date: August 7, 2012
- List Price: $20.00
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(All Blu-rayDefinition.com screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
Christmas films seem to be required to be lightweight and sugary, The Preacher’s Wife is no exception to the rule. The 1996 film, based on the 1947 film The Bishop’s Wife starring Cary Grant and Loretta Young, is most memorable for starring Denzel Washington as an angel and featuring the now late Whitney Houston as the titular preacher’s wife in a role that allowed her to flex her singing muscles while showing off her gospel roots. Directed by Penny Marshall (TV’s United States of Tara; A League of Their Own; Big), the story follows the benevolent Reverend Henry Biggs (Final Destination 5; The Tuskegee Airmen) whose leadership of a struggling church in a poor New York City neighborhood and extra attention to the needs of his members has left his marriage to his choir-leader wife Julia (Whitney Houston; The Bodyguard) in a little bit of trouble. Adding to his problems, there is an exploitative real estate developer (Gregory Hines; White Nights; The Cotton Club) who wants the land his rundown church sits on to put up condominiums. A desperate prayer to God for help sends Henry the help of Dudley (Denzel Washington; Unstoppable; The Book of Eli; Malcolm X), an actual guardian angel. Henry doesn’t really believe Dudley is an angel, and his family and friends just think Dudley is a helper from the church council. Dudley gets involved in Henry’s life nonetheless, in some rather unexpected ways. Although he was sent down to Earth to help Henry out, Dudley finds himself growing closer to Julia in a romantic way. This serves to expose the problems in Henry and Julia’s marriage that were already bubbling up under the surface. Set against the backdrop of the Christmas holiday season with a few gospel performances featuring Houston intermingling with the family-friendly, feel-good atmosphere, The Preacher’s Wife is non-offensive and family-ready for the holidays.
The Preacher’s Wife doesn’t look like Touchstone has done much extensive work at all in restoring this film for Blu-ray. In fact the film at times looks downright murky in this AVC/MPEG-4 encodement. Although it does look somewhat film-like, the image is a bit too grainy and soft, mid-range shots are rather soft and contrast is on the dim, narrow side. Textures on skin at times look a bit waxy as well.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack is straightforward most of the time with little activity, but it really opens up during the gospel performance sequences and Whitney Houston’s performance in Jazzie’s Jazz club, with lots of ambience and good dynamics. Dialogue is weighted to the center channel throughout the film and is clean and intelligible.
This is another barebones Touchstone release that contains nothing more than a ported over promotional featurette and the original theatrical trailer, both in standard definition.
- Featurette (1.33:1; SD; 00:04:26)
- Trailer (1.33:1; SD; 00:00:55)
The Definitive Word
Don’t expect the high quality of The Bishop’s Wife going into this, but for what it is, The Preacher’s Wife is pleasant family fare that will not rub you the wrong way. It’s neither too bland nor offensive and features charming performances from Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston that help make it a better than average holiday film.
Additional Screen Captures