'Pink,' Almost Perfect on DVD

By Jen Chaney
washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 29, 2006 12:00 AM

"Pretty in Pink: Everything's Duckie Edition" (List Price: $14.99)
Release Date: Aug. 29

Blane or Duckie?

It's a question that has nagged avid fans of the John-Hughes-teen-movie genre for two decades, ever since his New Wave Cinderella story, "Pretty in Pink," was released in theaters. As any self-respecting Molly Ringwald scholar knows, the original conclusion to the film had Ringwald's character Andie accompany quirky best friend Duckie (Jon Cryer) to the senior prom, choosing him over sensitive richie Blane (Andrew McCarthy). But when test audiences balked, the filmmakers scrapped that option and shot a new ending in which Andie and Blane live happily ever after. Among the '80s-obsessed, the switch still sparks debate on a variety of topics: true love, selling out, the social class structure in American society and why McCarthy's hair looks so hideous in the final prom scene.

A new DVD of the movie seemed poised to finally resolve the matter. The DVD case for the "Pretty in Pink: Everything's Duckie Edition" boasts the inclusion of the original ending in bold, unmissable letters; even the title suggests that, finally, Duckie will get to have his day. But in one of the most disappointing DVD bait-and-switches ever, the original finale does not appear. Instead the single disc delivers a featurette called "The Lost Dance" that delves into much detail about how and why the new closer came to pass, but never shows the first version of the famous prom scene. Sure, it explains why McCarthy looks like he has a bad case of bed head -- apparently he had shaved his head for a play, so he had to wear a cheap wig for the reshoot -- but without the Duckie version, the whole thing feels like a rip-off.

It's a notable misstep on what otherwise stands as a simply fab tribute to one of the most enduring high school romances from the Me Decade. Until now, "Pretty in Pink" was never been released on DVD with any extras, so the eight featurettes included here provide a most welcome look at the film's creation, from costumes to casting.  It seems almost every part in this film was up for grabs; Robert Downey, Jr. almost got cast as Duckie, Charlie Sheen was a strong candidate for the role of Blane and Tracey Ullmann might have won the part of Iona -- ultimately played by Annie Potts -- but, as Ringwald explains, "her American accent wasn't there at the time."

The featurettes are filled with these sorts of juicy tidbits, all conveyed through recent interviews with Ringwald, McCarthy, Cryer and director Howard Deutch, among others. Notably absent are writer John Hughes (who appears only in archival footage) and James Spader, who portrayed the evil Steff with such delicious smarminess. Cryer recalls that Spader told him on-set: "Yeah, I figure I got a lock on this teenage ---hole thing." Truer words were never spoken.

The "Pink" DVD might have risen to perfection with the addition of a documentary about its stellar soundtrack, some deleted scenes and, of course, a glimpse of that original ending.

Best Bonus Point Gossip: Deutch says -- and Ringwald basically confirms -- that she had a huge crush on her leading man. "I thought he was dreamy," she says of McCarthy, who might not have been cast if Ringwald hadn't talked Deutch and Hughes into it. The pair, who later co-starred in the flop "Fresh Horses," never officially dated. "We actually were supposed to go out once and he stood me up," Ringwald confesses during the "All About Molly" featurette. "I think that was the only time I was ever stood up." Shocking! Blane would never do such a thing.

Best Bonus Point Confession: "The Lost Dance" shares some interesting details about the controversial reshoot, including the fact that Ringwald was opposed to the Duckie ending, too. "Once they cast Jon and we started working together, I thought 'There's no way this ending will work,'" she says. "It seemed like I was ending up with my brother."

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