Steel Magnolias

Steel Magnolias (1989)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cast: Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Julia Roberts, Shirley MacLane, Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis
Extras: Commentary Track, Isolated Score, Featurette, Deleted Scenes, Trailers, and more

’Steel Magnolias’ is the touching and funny story of a group of women in a Louisiana small town. Over a period of time we become part of their lives and share their hopes, dreams and miseries with them, as their stories unfolds in the local beauty shop.

This Special Edition of the movie, released on DVD by Columbia TriStar Home Video, features a very clean widescreen presentation in a transfer that is enhanced for 16×9 television sets. The image is highly detailed on the transfer and colors are lively and vibrant. Especially the daylight outdoor scenes feature lush colors and a great contrast that give the image a very natural and pleasing look. Blacks are deep and solid and shadow definition is high, never losing detail even in the darker sections of the image. Using a high bitrate on this dual-layer disc, the compression is also flawless and no artifacts, such as pixelation, are evident in the presentation. The result is a movie quality that is beautiful and rich, and always highly detailed.

The disc contains a Dolby Surround track that is well produced and without distortion. Dialogues are balanced and always understandable. Given the movie’s subject matter, no one would expect a frantically active surround track, and as such, ’Steel Magnolias’ features a tastefully done surround track that emphasizes ambient sound effects over aggressive surround usage. Nonetheless, the track is always active and engaging.

The disc also contains the movie’s isolated score. Most interestingly, this isolated score is presented in a full 5.1 mix! You will also find an entertaining and informative commentary track by director Herbert Ross on the disc. Without major breaks, Ross has a lot of information to share and no matter how technical, it always comes across as understandable and entertaining.

A 15-minute featurette called ’In Full Bloom’ can also be found on the release, featuring cast and crew interviews which relay a wealth of information about the movie’s production and the actual background of the film. A series of deleted scenes nicely complements this featurette, as well as talent files, trailers and other extras.

Gloriously presented on this DVD, a heartwarming in its story, ’Steel Magnolias’ is a film that is oftentimes overlooked as a sentimental melodrama, when in fact it is a very humorous and human film with honest emotions.