DVD Savant (a.k.a. Glenn Erickson) is saying that the Deliverance deluxe DVD that comes out on Tuesday, 9.18, “replaces a much older release with an improved enhanced transfer that flatters the camerawork of Vilmos Zsigmond.” [9.16 shocker: Erickson’s assessment is now suspect. See fire-alarm update at end of this article.]

“I remember the stunning 70mm six-track audio during the film’s exclusive run at the Cinerama Dome, and the disc’s 5.1 audio recreates the same dynamics.

John Boorman and all four leading actors add their anecdotes and opinions to Laurent Bouzereau‘s multi-part 35th Anniversary retrospective docu,” Erickson adds, “which covers every aspect of the film including the story behind that amazing dueling banjos scene. Boorman also provides his thoughts on a full commentary.”

Nothing gets me interested in a new DVD version of an older film like the words “improved enhanced transfer,” even knowing that the real way to see much-better looking versions of old films is to watch them via Blu Ray or HD-DVD. But I don’t own a Blu Ray or HD DVD player, much less a high-definition flat-panel TV of any size (an investment that would set me back a good two grand or so…no?), so I’m really kind of a Luddite.

Fire-alarm update: Either Erickson deliberately softballed, or he’s color-blind, or he was blind drunk when he wrote that the new Deliverance DVD represents “an improved enhanced transfer.” The proof can be found on this DVD Beaver page in which Gary Tooze compares frame-capture stills between the new Deliverance DVD and the ’01 version.

Just click on the link and compare. The apparent degradation by way of the less-sharply-focused, coffee-and-muddy-water images on the new DVD aren’t just obvious — they’re glaring. Warner Bros. Home Video technicians have some answering to do

Tooze says he’s “somewhat disappointed by the new Deluxe SD transfer…what looks odd to me are the colors and detail. It can look very green at times but skin tones are less red than in the original.”

The key visual element in the original release prints was a detailed but desaturated (almost flirting with monochrome) color. I would say the new DVD (based on the DVD Beaver captures) looks murkier and browner. The stills seem to also prove that the older version had much sharper detail — the dirt smudges on poor Ned Beatty‘s back in one of the shots were obviously rendered with more detail in the ’01 DVD.