11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars
Nice extras but poor transfer, 16 Aug 2007
We have the Criterion DVD version of Night Porter, but this version got such good reviews that we thought we'd rent it to compare. We've just watched selected bits of this one (Starz, but apparently Anchor Bay) side-by-side with the Criterion edition on a big projection system.
First off: the Anchor Bay version is anamorphic and the Criterion version isn't. BUT anamorphic is only worthwhile if the underlying quality justifies it. In this case the non-anamorphic Criterion transfer knocks spots off the anamorphic Anchor Bay transfer. And Anchor Bay seem to have messed with the contrast and color balance horribly. I know I'm sounding like a DVD geek here: I never realized such things could matter so much. But, viewed side-by-side, the Anchor Bay version is MUCH flatter: the all-important facial expressions and emotions come over much better on the Criterion version.
There is a flip side. The Anchor Bay version has interviews with Liliana Cavani and the producer (I forget his name) which are quite interesting. But also it has an interview with Charlotte Rampling which is absolutely fabulous: she tells how Dirk Bogarde had had the script for years, but looked at it again after he saw one of Cavani's other films; how he told Cavani he'd like to do it, but only with Rampling as his co-star; and how she felt about many of the film's most iconic moments. This is unmissable stuff.
So there are swings and roundabouts here. On the whole I'd recommend doing what we did: buy the Criterion version, but rent the Anchor Bay one just for the interviews.