For the anniversary of Orson Welles’ 100th birthday, Studio Canal has pulled something special out of the magic hat – a new restoration of The Third Man, this time in 4K made from a fine-grain positive copy of the original negative, done by Deluxe Digital in England. The new restoration has reportedly already been shown at the Cannes Film Festival and will be released in cinemas in both the UK and US on June 26 and “this summer” also here in Germany – but more importantly, new DVD and Blu-Ray editions are already coming on July 20th in the UK and on June 16th in Germany.
A 2-Disc DVD set contains the movie with the same great extras including an audio commentary and the Shadowing the Third Man documentary as the earlier StudioCanal editions, the Single Blu-Ray contains the same extras and there is also a slightly expensive Limited Edition Blu-Ray/DVD-Combo with the three separately available discs plus a soundtrack CD and some print material. The German editions seem to be identical, but only the 2-Disc-Set and the Blu-Ray are being released by StudioCanal’s Arthaus label. The prices are actually quite decent especially in Germany and if you haven’t bought the movie recently, this set is really recommended and is also a good replacement for the unfortunately out-of-print Criterion edition from a few years ago.
[Update & Warning 15.7: I received the German DVD edition today and it’s worthless because the 1.33:1 image has been encoded in 16:9 with thick black bars at the sides, making it virtually unwatchable on 4:3 displays and wasting almost half the resolution of the DVD! DO NOT BUY THE DVD EDITION OF THIS DISC – the authoring is messed up either on purpose or by accident. It’s also false packaging, because the rear cover says “1.33:1 (4:3 Full Screen)”! This concerns all European editions of the DVD, since the disc has English, French and German menus. Highly disappointing of Studio Canal! I’m trying to contact the German and English offices with a complaint, but I have no great hopes that this will properly be re-authored. Unfortunately I will not be reviewing this disc now in this shape.]