Reviewed by Glenn Erickson
Criterion came out with a grand special edition DVD of
last year, which Savant
reviewed here. Now Image also has a DVD
version available, and it's not bad either.
Content-wise, the film is identical to the earlier release. For quality,
the Image disc hasn't quite the polish of the Criterion.
Overall, the Image disc has more 'digital grain' than the Criterion, perhaps indicative of a lower bit rate,
but it only becomes apparent on a very large monitor or projection television. Although not
digitally scrubbed, the Image disc is reasonably free of scratches and dirt. It does have
considerably more white flecking at the beginning and at reel changes. Some splices
ride a bit, but this flaw I noticed on the Criterion disc as well.
Also, the Image disc appeared to be more tightly framed, at least at a few places. The man who guides
the cars to the first
nighttime visit to the 'spaceship' set, is half-offscreen on the Image disc, and not on the Criterion.
The subtitles are easy to read, and removable. For extras, there's a short selecton of stills and
pages from a Kino pressbook.
If there weren't the slightly better-looking Criterion available, Image's disc of
8 1/2 would get an excellent rating. It's a fine
alternative to the expensive deluxe set. The handsomely-designed packaging lists a running time
one minute longer than Criterion's, but I didn't see any additional footage.
Review Date 10.26.02