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Blu-Ray Review: Kino Lorber’s Making Mr. Right (KL Studio Classics) 

Making Mr Right

Director Susan Seidelman’s smart rom-com Making Mr. Right is a brilliant follow-up to her equally brilliant Desperately Seeking Susan.  Kino Lorber has given the title a wonderful Blu-Ray Special Edition.  

The Film 

Some films are classics in your mind because of the number of times that you’ve seen them.  Enter Making Mr. Right and its constant rotation on Showtime circa 1988-89ish.  The Rom-Com confirms that Susan Seidelman’s feature Desperately Seeking Susan, wasn’t a fluke.  The film is smart in all the right ways you want it to be – pun intended.  Making for a refreshing take on a genre that at its worse can be insufferable. 

Ulysses (John Malkovich) is an android that was specifically designed for space exploration by Dr. Jeff Peters (also Malkovich).  Created in the vacuum of a laboratory he doesn’t have the basic social skills of a small child. Why would he?  He is not going to interact with anyone.  The Company, funding the Ulysses Project doesn’t think so.  Enter Frankie Stone (Ann Magnuson) PR expert looking for a gig to distract her from the breakup with Client/Boyfriend Steve Marcus (Ben Masters).  What no one is ready for is Ulysses having feelings for Frankie and not just the friendly kind.  As Dr. Peters does everything in his powers to keep his Android/Progeny on track Frankie and her charming ways may be the one thing to railroad everything. 

Any Rom-Com’s success is based solely on the chemistry between the two leads.  The matching of John Malkovich (in dual roles) and Ann Magnuson at first thought is a ridiculous one.  That is unless you’ve seen the film.  Malkovich is both a compelling intelligent lead and a credible romantic lead.  His work with Magnuson is both funny and charming. Magnuson is an adeptly skilled performer herself with being able to find the right tone in her performance to make it believable to watch that she’s falling in love with a sentient robot. 

Seidelman’s film is clever in the way that it manages to toe the line between serious speculative fiction and matters of the heart.  Much like Desperately Seeking Susan, Seidelman’s work here is accomplished, refined, and skilled.  Rom-Com’s from a director’s perspective is always setting the right tone and bonus points for anything that shows some sort of visual competency.  Seidelman doesn’t just succeed with the tone of the piece, it’s a grand slam.  The visual collaboration with Cinematographer Edward Lachman is also a huge success giving us one of those rare Rom-Coms where the visual style is as important as the performances. 

Making Mr. Right isn’t just a forgotten piece of ‘80s nostalgia but a true-blue undiscovered gem of a Romantic Comedy.  One that deserves to be rediscovered if for nothing but seeing that John Malkovich can truly do anything, including play a romantic lead and an android … at the same time. 

The Transfer

The all-new HD Master – From a 2K Scan of the 35mm Interpositve, is another success from Kino Lorber.  The image is clean and free of blemishes producing a handsome image that feels like a well-cared-for 35mm print.  The transfer retains a beautiful patina of grain that gives it that filmic look that we so love in the best quality transfers.  Bravo to KL for taking such good care and consideration with Making Mr. Right‘s wonderful new Transfer. 

The Extras

They include the following;

  • Audio Commentary by Producer/Director Susan Seidelman and Star Ann Magnuson
  • Interview with Star Ann Magnuson
  • Interview with Director Susan Seidelman
  • Theatrical Trailer (Newly Mastered in 2K)

The all-new Audio Commentary by Producer/Director Susan Seidelman and Star Ann Magnuson begins without letting anything go by.  Some of the details from the commentary track include the “retro vibe” of the entire film – the extent of how far they went with the Space Age / Hopeful Future; the clothing and costume design; Ed Lachman’s visual advice he discussed with Seidelman before this film; a discussion of the feminist aspects of the film and how Seidelman’s approach was very different than a male director would have approached the material; how Seidelman approached the humorous aspects and tone of the piece; the work and casting of John Malkovich; the various casting “what if’s” of the Jeff/Ulysses role – including Rutger Hauer; Magnuson’s discussion of going after Trish (Glene Headly’s role) and eventually lead to her being cast as the lead/Frankie; Seidelman’s discussion of why she cast Magnuson in Frankie role; a great discussion of the some of the feminine products during the “purse” scene; a discussion about the motion control work and cameras that went into the process to allow Malkovich to play both Jeff and Ulysses; the work of John Malkovich here and a larger discussion of working with him on the film; the massive amount of wig work done for many of the cast members including Magnuson; working with Laurie Metcalf; working with Glene Headly; the satire of the film and how subtle it is – including a larger discussion about how the visuals/production design/costuming that coincide with the satire; a larger discussion of the work Ed Lachman and how different it is from his other work moving forward; and much more.  Seidelman and Magnuson deliver a wonderful, relaxed commentary track that delves into not just the making of the film but the themes and design of the film as a whole.  Fans and non-fans alike will find this track well worth their time.  

Modern Love: Interview with Star Ann Magnuson (14:45) – in this all-new interview with the star begins with how dark violent movies (which included PlatoonHenry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, and others) were released at the time were in stark contrast of Making Mr. Right in the era.  Some of the other talking points include her beginnings from childhood to University to moving to NYC and her running of a Theatre Company; how Magnuson and Malkovich during their younger years led similar tracks though very different; how much she wanted the Headly and Metcalf role – and how the main character was a challenge because the role was less flashy; her working with Polly Bergan and how great she was; the production itself and working with the various crew members including Ed Lachman, and others; working in Miami Florida; her love of the “retro-futurism” that Seidelman was working with visually and how it translated for her both personally outside the production and professional in the film; the reality that the film creates that’s not typically standard 1980s visual style; and much more.  

Pygmalion ’87: Interview with Producer/Director Susan Seidelman (15:44) – in this all-new interview with the producer/director begins with her discussion of inspirations for the film the likes of Pygmalion, Frankenstein, and more.  Some of the other talking points include how the success of Desperately Seeking Susan for Orion – and her three-picture deal that came out of it and how Making Mr. Right was the first of three; her want to make a feature with a female protagonist; the script and development – including the reasons why they moved the location to Florida; the visual design of a “retro-future” and The Jetsons being a huge reference; her love of the melting pot aspects of Miami and how that transitioned to visuals; her relationship with Ann Magnuson – and how she eventually cast her as the lead and the reasons why; the Steppenwolf Theatre and seeing performances by Laurie Metcalf and Glenne Headly – which eventually led to casting them but also meeting John Malkovich; the release of the film – the critical responses and box office fate; and much more.  

Rounding out the special features are trailers for Making Mr. Right [Newly Mastered in 2K] (2:08), Desperately Seeking Susan (2:01), Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills (2:05), All Night Long (1:41), Continental Divide(2:52) 

The Final Thought 

Making Mr. Right is a cult oddity of a Romantic Comedy that many will delight in its specific charms.  Kino Lorber has given it a great special edition. High Recommendations. 

Kino Lorber’s Blu-Ray edition of Making Mr. Right is out now

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