Last Friday (7.30) in a piece called “Dressed To Lose Weight, Turn Greenish-Yellow,” I voiced surprise that screen captures of Criterion’s new Dressed To Kill Bluray (due on 8.18) indicated the film has been horizontally compressed — faces thinner, circles changed to ovals, etc. A review by DVD Beaver‘s Gary W. Tooze provided the screen captures and observed that the Criterion Bluray “seems vertically stretched,” which makes “the faces thinner and taller…the Bluray is also more faded-looking and has a yellow/green tinge to it.” Some HE commenters argued that the distortion was in my head or that I was misunderstanding anamorphic photography or jumping the gun by saying it looked wrong.
Well, today Criterion announced that the Dressed To Kill Bluray is indeed wrong, and for a reason that boggles the mind and makes no sense at all — i.e., director Brian DePalma had asked for the geometry of the scan to be corrected — not to be widened or fattened, as some commenters had surmised, but to normalize the image — and yet “unfortunately that change was never carried over in the final product, and the resulting discs are wrong.” Understand that this is a direct quote from the Criterion website.
Let’s re-read it: a change requested by DePalma “was never carried over in the final product, and the resulting discs are wrong.” Because…what, the guy in charge of implementing DePalma’s wishes was drunk? Because he was grappling at the time with a self-destructive streak? Because he was worried about his kid or some outside-the-workplace concern and forgot to do his job? Does this make any sense to anyone?
When MGM Home Video screwed up the overture sequence in their West Side Story Bluray in late 2011, everyone said “well, the MGM guys are jerks…what can you expect?” But Criterion is the gold standard. Their work is top of the line every time. How could a Criterion employee (or employees) have possibly ignored what should have been done per the director’s request and allowed a gross error in the look of a film to be mass-produced? This is an expensive thing, having to recall all those discs and replace them.