Discussing the Timeless Qualities of ‘Sleepless in Seattle’


One of the biggest comedies of the ‘90s, “Sleepless in Seattle” finally gets the DVD treatment with a charming special edition disc (Columbia TriStar, $28).

The digital version of the romantic film--about a writer (Meg Ryan) in Baltimore who falls for a widower (Tom Hanks) in Seattle when she hears him on a radio call-in show--features the wide-screen edition, talent files of the performers, the trailer, the music video of “When I Fall in Love” by Celine Dion and Clive Griffin, and a featurette, “Love in the Movies,” which explores how people’s perception of love is crafted by the movies, especially movies from our youth.

The audio commentary is supplied by director and co-writer Nora Ephron and her sister, Delia, who was also one of the film’s writers.


The Ephrons offer keen insight on how difficult it was to create such a magical, wispy romance. Nora Ephron was the third writer on the film and ultimately brought in her sister to make it funnier, but also to beef up Hanks’ character, who was a passive wimp. Hanks, say the Ephrons, was not happy with his role, and they knew it was important to please him.

Music is very important in the piece; the soundtrack spawned two best-selling CDs. Nora Ephron points out that she wanted the soundtrack filled with the type of standard songs that appeared on albums produced in the 1950s by the legendary Gordon Jenkins. In fact, the Nat King Cole version of “Stardust” heard in the film is from her favorite Jenkins’ album.

The director also wanted her “Seattle” to be timeless, so viewers 20 years from now would not be spending their time guessing when the film was made. Hence, Ryan’s costumes, especially the red velvet dress she wears at Christmas dinner, are traditional classic designs.


Nick Park’s beloved animated characters Wallace & Gromit are making their DVD debut on BBC Video’s delightful “Wallace & Gromit The First Three Adventures” ($35). Created by British animator Park of Aardman Animations, the befuddled inventor and his pet dog are the clay-animated stars of the Oscar-winning shorts “The Wrong Trousers” and “A Close Shave,” and of the Oscar-nominated “A Grand Day Out.”

This must-have for all “W & G” fans includes their three films, plus two never-before-seen early animated works by Park: “The Rat and the Beanstalk,” which he made when he was just 15, and the clay-animated “Walter Goes Fishing.”

The disc also offers an equally rare screen test of his film school work, including “Dog Test” and a test of “A Grand Day Out.” Other goodies include an informative excerpt from the behind-the-scenes documentary “Inside the Wrong Trousers,” and several cute Wallace & Gromit BBC Christmas promos.