DVD Beaver, who we know for excellent technical reviews of DVD releases, has given Criterion’s new High and Low disc a look, and updated their High and Low page. It is well worth checking out.
Interestingly enough, it seems that the Madman and BFI releases of the film are in fact still wider than the new Criterion transfer, or in other words the new Criterion transfer is still somewhat more cropped horizontally. Yet, the new Criterion meanwhile shows more of the picture vertically than do either Madman or BFI. (Check the screenshots.)
Whatever oddity is going on with the cropping in different transfers, one thing is sure — the Criterion transfer looks much crispier than do the older ones. Considering also the wealth of extras on Criterion’s double disc release, I don’t think there is any question as for which release of the film one should currently go with.
Remember also that High and Low is the movie of the month at our Akira Kurosawa Film Club in September this year.