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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Drama > Fashion > Publishing > The Devil Wears Prada (Widescreen DVD-Video)

The Devil Wears Prada (Widescreen DVD-Video)


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: B-     Film: B-



Despite what producer Wendy Finerman says, The Devil Wears Prada (2006) is not the first film ever made about the fashion industry.  Besides a cycle of films (and Music Videos) taking place on runways like the late Robert Altman’s underappreciated Ready To Wear (Pret-A-Porter), there was (even if it was restricted to a magazine photographer and models) Stanley Donen’s classic musical Funny Face (1957) with Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire.  To say this film is about the fashion industry is like saying Gone With The Wind is about The Civil War.


Sure, that industry is strongly represented in its background, but the real story focuses on a young lady (Anne Hathaway) anxious to get a new job and one in publishing surfaces that is more prestigious than she realizes since she is not a fan of fashion.  Arriving for her interview, she is warned by the boss’ personal secretary (Emily Blunt in a solid comic performance) that Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep in one of her best juicy roles ever) is no-nonsense and everyone in the building fears her.  This does not phase the new prospect, who marches in once Miranda arrives and has their interview.  Miranda is difficult as can be, making anyone wonder why anyone would want to work for her, but she knows the employment she offers is so sought that she can act anyway she wants.  Andy (Hathaway) as she is called gets the job simply because Miranda cannot believe anyone like Andy exists.  Then the fun begins.


A moderate hit in the U.S. doing the “women’s audience” business expected, the entire industry went into shock when this became a huge surprise blockbuster overseas.  Held up as an early awards contender, the film gets off to a great start with a montage set to K.T. Tunstall’s Suddenly I See from her terrific Eye To The Telescope album (reviewed elsewhere on this site).


The film has a great pace to match its energy and everyone in the cast is so good and well directed that few films have been so smooth this year throughout.  The only issues are the conclusion pushing believability and that the script is more interested in its comedy sometime than the world it inhabits.  The problem is that the film treats the industry with kid gloves too much throughout, whereas if it had not, an extra edge would have been introduced to Aline Brosh McKenna’s screenplay adaptation of the hit Lauren Weisberger book.  Otherwise, this is a solid film that people are talking about for good reason and Hathaway’s star continues to rise.  Stanley Tucci and Adrian Grenier also star.


The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image is not bad, as shot by cinematographer Florian Ballhaus, following interesting work on the Jodie Foster hit Flightplan.  It seems that only the DVD definition and some slight softness in the transfer is holding the look of the film back.  Detail is good, but is lacking here and there.  No wonder Fox plans on making this one of their first Blu-ray titles.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is not bad for a non-action, dialogue-based comedy with some wit.  The combination is just fine for this format.


Extras include a feature length audio commentary with Director David Frankel, Producer Wendy Finerman and Costume Designer Patricia Field, four featurettes ("Trip to the Big Screen" "NYC and Fashion" "Fashion Visionary Patricia Field" & "Getting Valentino"), 15 Deleted Scenes, the original theatrical trailer and a gag reel that shows the kind of energy behind the scenes that made this film work.  If you missed it then, catch it now.  If you like the humor and situations, you’ll find The Devil Wears Prada a pleasant surprise.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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