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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Drama > Thriller > Romance > Supernatural > Ghost – Special Collector’s Edition (DVD-Video)

Ghost – Special Collector’s Edition (1990/Paramount DVD-Video)


Picture: C+     Sound: B-     Extras: C     Film: C



NOTE: This film has now been issued on Blu-ray and you can read more about that upgraded version at this link:





In the lame movie summer of 1990, when Dick Tracy and Days Of Thunder were both huge surprise bombs, the film that took advantage of their failure was Jerry Zucker’s Ghost.  Known only for his comedy work, many wondered what the film would be about and with a cast that included Patrick Swayze looking for another hit long after Dirty Dancing, Demi Moore in a strange A-list cycle of contract films at paramount that were not working out and Whoopi Goldberg looking for a hit years The Color Purple and burning out her female-Eddie Murphy attempts, none of them had anything to loose.


The result was a huge surprise hit that shocked the industry and played so well that Paramount barely had enough film prints to go around.  Swayze and Moore play a couple just moving in to a new place and getting helped out by a good friend (Tony Goldwyn) as they start a new life.  They are in love and we see this expressed credibly early on.  One night coming home, they are mugged and he is shot to death, but his spirit is still in the mortal world.  As he wonders about, he finds out the death was a set-up and the love of his life is next.


Enter a “psychic” (Goldberg) trying to make a living when Sam (Swayze) finds ways to haunt her.  The idea is to get her to help him, but less willing to help is a mysterious figure in the subways (the late, great character actor Vincent Schiavelli, who in some ways saves the credibility of the film) who just wants Sam to go away.  Bruce Joel Rubin’s script is full of infantilized mall-movie humor and smug, condescending moments, but the audience was distracted by the genre mix of comedy, murder, love, melodrama and supernatural enough not to notice.  Post 9/11, this is much more obvious.


Goldberg made a temporary comeback thanks to this film and got her Academy Award, while Moore is better here than she got credit for.  Swayze extended his career as well, but hardly anyone in front of the camera saw this kind of success again.  The film ironically serves as a coda to commercial 1980s filmmaking, the likes of which we will never see again.  I can live with that.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 x 1 image is a bit of a disappointment considering how good Adam Greenberg’s cinematography looked at the time, not to mention an interesting commercial turn for the brilliant editor Walter Murch, two more reasons this was a surprise hit.  The source should be much cleaner and clearer, with more detail and depth like the 35mm prints.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is also problematic, with some good surround activity, but missing the punch of the original analog SR mix that it tries to upgrade.  The 2.0 Dolby with Pro Logic surrounds also does not cut it, both missing the naturalness and flow of the PCM 2.0 Stereo tracks from the old 12” LaserDisc.


Extras include stills, the original theatrical trailer, four featurettes (including a making of piece) and audio commentary by Zucker and Rubin.  All in all, fans will be happy, but I doubt any new ones will be made with this edition.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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