|La Dolce Vita: Collectors Edition||R1|
In my review of the previous Region 4 release I recommended the Italian and US releases as the best. Now I would have thought that the honours would be about even. But I did not reckon on a new Region 1 release.
Koch Lorber's original Region 1 version is in the original aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced. As extras it contains:
By all accounts the film has been restored and has much the same video quality as the new Region 4. It also has a remixed 5.1 soundtrack as well as the original mono, which is no recommendation. I also think that the Schickel commentary is not much of an extra as it may seem, based on the commentaries of his that I have heard. Reviews of the disc tend to bear this out.
The UK Region 2 edition from Momentum seems to be in a wider aspect ratio than the original and is not 16x9 enhanced. It features a lot of film artefacts and has a poor soundtrack. The extras run to a filmography, synopsis and some production notes.
The second UK Region 2 release by Nouveaux Pictures is in the correct aspect ratio, with few film artefacts and is well cleaned up. There seem to be some flaws in the contrast and similar aliasing and moire issues to the original Region 4 release. The sole extra is an interview with Anita Ekberg. I don't think that this is the same interview as on the new Region 4.
The best Region 2 transfer seems to come from Medusa, an Italian distributor. This is a two disc set with the feature on one disc and extras on the other. Unfortunately, while the feature has English subtitles, the extras, apart from Cinema Forever (which I assume is the same featurette as on the new Region 4), do not. According to some reviews the video quality on the Medusa is superior to the Region 1.
Based on the available information I would suggest that the Medusa, the original Koch Lorber and the new Umbrella are all on a par with each other as regards the quality of the film transfer, so the choice comes down to extras and price. On the latter score the Umbrella will be hard to beat. However Koch Lorber are releasing a Deluxe Collector's Edition in November 2005, which will run to three discs and in addition to their previous edition will include the following extras:
It will also have a stereo soundtrack in addition to the mono and surround tracks. The catch is the recommended retail price of US$79.95, which may be a bit too much for most purchasers.