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Ultra HD : Highly Recommended
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Release Date: May 28th, 2024 Movie Release Year: 1990

Cry-Baby - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Overview -

4K UHD Review By: Matthew Hartman
The Squares and the Drapes face off in John Water’s classic throwback to counterculture delinquent youth epics - Cry-Baby. Now on 4K Ultra HD from Kino Lorber Studio Classics, all those pretty faces in Theatrical Cut shine with a splendid Dolby Vision transfer, with the Director’s Cut picking up an excellent new HD upgrade, both versions feature clear audio options, and one hell of a collection of new and archival extra features. Highly Recommended

Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray
Video Resolution/Codec:
2160p HEVC/H.265, Dolby Vision HDR / HDR10
Aspect Ratio(s):
Audio Formats:
English: DTS-HD MA 2.0
English SDH
Release Date:
May 28th, 2024

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


Embrace the weird and love life. John Waters may have had a storied career, but he brought some wildly eccentric and incredibly entertaining features to the screen. From his earliest days with the Dreamlanders like Multiple ManiacsDesperate Living (where's the 4K for that one?), and Pink Flamingos, Waters has always pushed an irreverent sense of humor against “normal” culture. Now those films could take some wild extremes, but even when he was at his softest and most “accessible,” he was giving a pretty stiff middle finger to the establishment. 

After the surprise breakout success of Hairspray and the acceptance of good wholesome theater-goers, John Waters delivered his first true “studio” film with 1990's Cry-Baby. Fresh from his tenure serving Jump Street, Johnny Depp’s star was on the rise making him the perfect candidate to headline this counter-culture classic as our bad-boy lead. But every bad boy needs an innocent lady to corrupt, and that duty falls to the fresh-faced Amy Locane as the Drape in Square clothing Allison Vernon-Williams. But as this juvenile delinquent with a tortured past woos the cleanest girl in town, the Squares aren’t willing to go down without a fight. 

As much as I owe my dad for renting some great classics back in the day, I owe a lot of my early cinematic education to my big sister. While we didn’t always love the same flicks, we enjoyed enough of the same things that I never felt completely tortured when I had to go to the movies with her. After Hairspray became a hit (by Waters standards), I ended up following my sister to Cry-Baby so she could ogle Johnny Depp. I don’t remember a lot of that day, but I did enjoy it, enough so that we actually owned a legit tape (not one where we dupped the rental) and it’s maintained a place in my collection for over thirty years. 

As I got older I discovered the hilarious raunchy debauchery of Waters’ earlier films. After the insanity of Multiple ManiacsFemale Trouble, and Pink Flamingos (all on Blu-ray from the Criterion Collection), this late 80s, early 90s era for Waters is decidedly tame. That isn’t to say Cry-Baby is bad or isn’t just as salacious, but with age and some measure of maturity, Waters had whetted his satirical blade to a razor’s edge to the point that I don’t think many people fully get what this movie has going for it. 

A tribute to the spate of Delinquent Youth films of our conforist bygone era, Cry-Baby is a hoot of a musical comedy. It’s as much Elvis’ King Creole as it is Pat Boone’s April Love. It’s also got the blood of classics like Dick Contino’s Daddy-O, and the Mamie Van Doren classic Girls Town that joyfully made the rounds on MST3K. I love these kinds of movies because while the straights were clutching pearls using these kinds of movies to highlight the dangers of “wild society” they inadvertently just made those people look cool and happy. And that’s the aim Waters takes with his counter-culture epic of Cry-Baby. These people might be weird, but they’re happy, living life, not hurting anyone, and more often they’re not the ones starting the fight. 

Performances are terrific all across the board. Even though he was a newcomer to the crew, Depp was a perfect fit with Waters Dreamlanders. Ricki Lake isn’t the star this time but she’s hilarious. Iggy Pop and Susan Tyrrell as Belvedere and Ramona Rickettes are delightful. Kim McGuire certainly stands out as Hatchet-Face with Traci Lords and Polly Bergen turning in great performances all their own. As a first-timer and certainly a fish out of water, Amy Locane proved she could keep up with the insanity while maintaining that fresh-faced innocence of a Square in transition. I certainly don’t hold this as Waters’ best by any stretch, but it’s damned hilarious and I love that it’s held up so well over the years. 

Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray 
If three turns from Criterion weren’t enough to legitimize John Waters, Kino Lorber Studio Classics delivers the first 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with Cry-Baby. A two-disc release, the theatrical cut arrives on a BD-66 disc with a Region A BD-50 running the Director’s Cut and bonus features. The two discs are housed in a standard black case with identical slipcover. Each disc loads to a standard static-image main menu with traditional navigation options along the bottom of the screen.  

Video Review


The last time I picked up Cry-Baby on disc was for the 2014 Blu-ray from Universal. While a VC-1 encode, it actually was surprisingly solid without a lot of the issues that came packed with so many early Universal Blu-rays of the time. But a fresh 4K scan and restoration has done wonders for this visually arresting flick. They say the devil’s in the details and well, now you can see and appreciate more of them! The opening credits inoculation sequence has always been hilarious but you can now gaze upon the gauge of that gargantuan needle they’re jabbing into kids’ arms! Facial features, the terrific costumes and textures, and the amazing production design between the Squares and the Drapes are all on screen. Film grain retains a natural appearance, perhaps a tad noisy for some viewers' tastes, but it fits with Waters’ other recent releases delivering a healthy cinematic appearance. 

Dolby Vision grading is top notch highlighting those bright colors, crisp whites, and deep black levels. One thing I instantly noticed on 4K and the included 1080p Director’s Cut disc was how much better skin tones looked compared to the old 2014 disc. The cast actually looks healthy - the ones that are supposed to anyway. Black levels are nice and deep, dark jackets and outfits don’t get lost in the shadows, and I didn’t notice any crush issues. Whites are brilliantly crisp without blooming issues. A few optical effects like Johnny Depp's head popping up over the other Squares in Allison's fantasy certainly stand out, but that's to be expected. 

The reason the Director’s Cut isn’t in 4K is that the extra materials are pulled from a variety of sources. The new 35mm negative scan, a 4K scan of the interpositive, and some sections from SD tape masters all conform to give Waters’ preferred cut its due. Overall it looks great, the footage discrepancies are a little more obvious in some spots, but I’m glad they were able to include it. Following suit with the 4K disc, I felt like fine details are much sharper (when applicable) and more appreciable over the 2014 disc. And again, color saturation is much more appealing. So win/win all around there.

Audio Review


On the audio front, both versions of Cry-Baby come in with respectable and upstanding DTS-HD MA 5.1 and 2.0 audio tracks. The 5.1 mix in general is a solid presentation even if it largely keeps to the front/center channel spread. Only for bigger more active sequences like the drag race and the music numbers did the mix sound like it filled out the surrounds. With that in mind, it didn’t sound thin or too spaced out, it just fills the main channels with drifts into sides and surrounds. Now the 2.0 track is also a great option, it’s actually the default for both discs. Compared to the 2014 disc’s 2.0 track, the two sounded very similar in terms of spread and spacing, this one doesn’t sound like a mixdown, but this 2.0 track did sound a little louder and more present. Either way you rock, you’ve got two solid audio mixes to choose from.

Special Features


On the frontline of moral upstanding bonus features, KLSC doesn’t skimp for a terrific mix of brand-new extras and archival materials. At the top of the pile are two John Waters Commentary Tracks. The one for the Director’s Cut is the excellent archival track (you can tell because he mentions SARS like it’s new) and it’s a must-listen. But then we come to his brand-new commentary. You can tell it’s new because he makes COVID references. (It's funny how both tracks reference deadly respiratory viruses.) It’s a little more freewheeling and stream-of-consciousness than the archival track but it’s lively and just as entertaining with its share of anecdotes. As moderator, Buckley pipes in occasionally to ask a specific question but otherwise, it’s John let loose, as it should be! The new featurette with Waters and his fellow Dreamlanders is a nice piece but I think fans are really going to enjoy all of the new cast interviews. Amy Locane and Traci Lords are especially candid about the film. Locane is a very interesting one, more so since she’s obviously doing the interview from prison. Lords discusses this being her first legitimate role and what it was like having the FBI trying to find her while she was on set filming. And then you can’t go wrong with a brief but fun interview with Iggy Pop! 

4K UHD Disc

  • NEW Audio Commentary featuring John Waters and moderated by Heather Buckley

Blu-ray Disc

  • Cry-Baby Director’s Cut (HD 1:31:39)
  • Audio Commentary featuring John Waters
  • Bringing Up Baby - Featurette with John Waters, Pat Moran, Mink Stole, and David Insley (HD 38:10)
  • Pop Icons - Interview with Amy Locane (HD 14:13)
  • Part of a Collection - Interview with Traci Lords (HD 19:23)
  • A Few Yucks - Interview with Iggy Pop (HD 9:17)
  • All These Misfits - Interview with Ricki Lake (HD 8:17)
  • So Tired of Being Good - interview with Patricia Hearst (HD 8:42)
  • In the Sandbox - Interview with Darren E. Burrows (HD 10:12)
  • Hip to Be Square - Interview with Stephen Mailer (HD 9:16)
  • Talking Hair - Interview with Barber Howard “Hep” Preston (HD 10:04)
  • It Came from… Baltimore!! (SD 47:39)
  • 5 Deleted Scene (SD 7:02)
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD 1:58)

Cry-Baby is John Waters at his most unusually well-behaved best. Even aimed at a friendlier wide audience, his first true studio feature still gives the establishment a nice sharp poke in the eye. A delightful sendup of classic ‘50s Juvenile Delinquent films, Waters’ little opus features a range of great performances from up-and-coming talent with a few surprise appearances. A damn fun flick through and through, Kino Lorber Studio Classics delivers one hell of a fine 4K UHD release. The Theatrical Cut with Dolby Vision is a splendid improvement over previous discs and the included Director’s Cut has never looked better thanks to a new HD master. Throw in hours of excellent new and archival bonus features and you’ve got plenty to enjoy after the show’s over. Highly Recommended 

Order Your Copy of Cry-Baby on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray