Posted: 02/28/2011

 

Moonstruck on Blu-ray

(1987)

by Jef Burnham



Now available from MGM Home Entertainment.


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John Patrick Shanley (Doubt) won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Moonstruck in 1987, and deservedly so. It is easily one of the best scripts crafted for a traditional romantic comedy in the past 60 years, with a wealth of richly developed characters extending all the way down to the most minor of supporting players. Cher and Olympia Dukakis also won Oscars for their roles in the film, and are supported by Nicolas Cage in one of his best performances, as well as Vincent Gardenia, Danny Aiello, and John Mahoney.

Moonstruck is a beautiful and charming picture about love, family, and most of all, fidelity, not only to one’s lover but to one’s self. The central storyline (which is but one of many) follows Loretta Castorini (Cher), a widow who becomes engaged to Johnny Cammareri (Aiello), only to fall in love with his estranged, one-handed brother, Ronny (Cage), while Johnny is in Sicily. Moonstruck is endlessly rewatchable, and it has become one of my very favorite films over the years. After all, in addition to the skillful script-work by Shanley and the stupendous performances on the part of the entire cast, the film is subtly and expertly directed by Norman Jewison, who had previously directed In the Heat of the Night (1967) and The Cincinnati Kid (1965)— two of my other favorites, in fact.

Although the Moonstruck Blu-ray may not be able to boast the best HD transfer, it is certainly an improvement over the 2006 Deluxe Edition DVD. The image is sharp, the colors are vibrant, and the film has been cleaned up considerably for this transfer. This is not to say, however, that the picture is spotless. There is an excess of noticeable debris throughout the opening titles, BUT there is only the sporadic blemish thereafter. The audio is definitely enhanced, but given the relative simplicity of the soundtrack, there is nothing particularly special about the audio I can think to make note of here.

One minor drawback to this disc is that, once the disc loads, it goes straight into the film. This can be a pain if your BD player, like mine, takes a few minutes to load and you get a drink or a snack before settling in, only to find that the picture is already underway. Special features on the BD release mirror those on the Deluxe Edition DVD, including

-Audio commentary with Cher, Norman Jewison, and John Patrick Shanley
-“Moonstruck: At the Heart of an Italian Family” Documentary
-“Music of Moonstruck” featurette
-“Pasta to Pastries: The Art of Fine Italian Food,” an interactive map of Little Italy
and
-the theatrical trailer.

Jef Burnham is a writer and educator living in Chicago, Illinois. While waging war on mankind from a glass booth in the parking lot of a grocery store, Jef managed to earn a degree in Film & Video from Columbia College Chicago, and is now the Editor-in-Chief of FilmMonthly.com.



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