Warner Archive has decided to release the 1977 romantic comedy The Goodbye Girl on Blu-ray. In case you aren’t an old man like me then you might think that this is a prequel to Gone Girl. Well, it’s not. In fact this is written by Neil Simon. He is a playwright known for such things as the Odd Couple and Murder by Death. And it is directed by Herbert Ross who is probably mostly known for Footloose and Steel Magnolias.
The film stars Richard Dreyfuss. The plot centers around a dumped unemployed dancer and her 10-year-old daughter that are reluctantly forced to live with a struggling off-Broadway actor. If the plot of “two people thrown together that aren’t alike” sounds vaguely familiar it is because it is basically replicating the Odd Couple story line. Well except for the romance part, as far as I am aware of.
Richard Dreyfuss won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance here. It had 5 nominations total including Best Picture. The film was one of the earliest co-produced by two Hollywood studios with Warner Brothers and MGM backing it. It eventually went on to become the 4th highest grossing film of 1977.
Typically I am not a fan of romance movies, much less romantic comedies. I typically find them uninteresting and the characters poorly (or unrealistically) written. I’m happy to report surprisingly that I quite liked The Goodbye Girl. Granted, it’s not a perfect movie and it does show it’s age. It does have a lot of heart and great performances by its three lead characters.
It’s an excuse to get to know them over the course of the entire film but the characters feel like they existed previous to the movie and there is still story left to tell even as the credits roll. It shows what a passion project this was both for the writer and actors and that just comes across on the screen. It seems like the viewers fall in love with the characters at the same pace as they do in the film. That is skillful and not easy to pull off.
The picture quality of the film is very good. Warner had a new 2K scan done and it shows. There are lots of nice little details and depth in the picture. The color palette is typical of 70’s films with realistic hues. The location shots of New York give it a nice aesthetic as well. There is also a lot of nice natural lighting prevalent from films of this era. There are some softer scenes and it’s not a very cinematic film but that has nothing to do with the quality of the transfer.
The audio is DTS-HD 2.0 and sounds about like what you would expect a romantic comedy from the 1970’s to sound. It is mostly dialogue heavy with a light score. There are a few times where dubbing issues arise but that is from the original film and not the transfer from Warner Archive. All in all a solid but unspectacular release. English subtitles are also included.
There are no extras but the trailer (in HD) is included.
The Goodbye Girl Final Thoughts:
The style is not necessarily cinematic and the look may be dated but the concepts underlying the story and characters are timeless. There are more genuine laughs in this film than in quite a few modern comedies. There is a reason why so many viewers fell in love with these performances. Those who are already fans will appreciate the quality of this release and I think anyone with a passing interest in this genre should pick it up. Even without all the bells and whistles and special features I recommend picking it up on Amazon or other fine retailers.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process