F for Fake:
DVD vs. LD comparison
In the case of the Japanese DVD of F for Fake and the Criterion laserdisc, the screen captures on the previous page indicate a DVD aspect ratio of 1.81:1, slightly wider than the stated 1.66, which is given on the Criterion laserdisc. Interestingly, the Criterion LD does not have a full 1.66 picture, but is instead about 1.45:1. This is possibly/probably due to television overscan. The examples below should give some small indication as to what is present and missing from each. I apologize for the poor quality of the laser capture, but it's simply a picture from a digital camera. It serves its purpose though. ADDITIONAL: The Criterion Collection released Fake on DVD in April 2005, and I've added it to the comparison list below. Unsurprisingly, it easily trumps the other releases, in terms of image and extras.
ADDENDUM: Images from Brazilian Region 0 have been added as well.
ADDENDUM 2: Images from French Region 2 PAL DVD added as well (8 Dec 2003).
ADDENDUM 3: Image from Criterion DVD added (5 May 2005).
As you can see, the Japanese DVD frame shows more picture on the sides, and about the same on top (the LD appears to show a hair more here). On the bottom frame, the is slightly more picture on the LD, but as Welles is in the process of moving, it's slightly unclear exactly how much more picture there is. Either version is worth having, and neither compromises the composition of the film, in my opinion at least. The Brazilian DVD is clearly inferior in terms of image to the Japanese disc. The French DVD appears to have much the same framing as the other two DVDs, with picture quality that falls between the other two, as motion ghosting can be seen in the capture above (though the Japanese disc seems to have this at times also). If you look at the comparison between the French and Japanese DVDs here, however, you can see that the Japanese edition has a slightly more squeezed image; the French disc looks more natural in that regard. In the end, given that all three DVD editions feature somewhat hazy, non-anamorphic transfers, we can only wait and hope for a superior edition to come along in the future (paging the Criterion Collection...).