Those of you who have copies of The Criterion Collection edition of Jigoku may wish to know that replacement copies are now available.
Due to an authoring error on the first printing of Criterion’s Jigoku, 2m08s of footage is missing from the film where the layer change occurs.
Immediately following the layer change at 65:45 (the beginning of Ch. 16) is a very noticeable jump cut where two characters suddenly "pop" into existence onscreen.
For viewers unfamiliar with the film, this jump cut will likely appear to have been done on purpose (as an inexpensive special effect method), especially within the context of the film and the specific setting of this sequence.
In actuality, there is no jump cut during this section of the film -- the beginning of this sequence is missing from the film, after which the two aforementioned characters slowly fade up into existence onscreen. But because of the authoring error, those characters instead appear instantly onscreen.
The Scene Details (SPOILER WARNING):
If one examines the actual VOB file, you'll discover that this entire sequence IS included on the disc -- however it cannot be accessed or viewed on your standard DVD player. What happened was this:
The DVD's layer change was set to occur at a point at the very beginning of the sequence in question -- a perfect spot, because there was no movement in the film for several seconds. However, the timeline in-point to the second layer was programmed incorrectly -- instead of the timeline continuing from 0:00, it was set to begin at 2:08 in the file, thereby skipping over a couple minutes of footage. And because the DVD timeline sees that point as the "absolute beginning" of the second layer file (i.e., 2:08 = 0:00, not 2:08), you cannot skip or scan backwards to see the footage, since the player cannot access a negative or non-existent timecode. So although the footage exists within the file, it does not "exist" within in the timeline and thus cannot be accessed.
Or -- in the most basic of terms -- 2m08s of footage is missing from the film following the layer change
(I hope that all made sense -- it's just a little hard to explain in quick precise terms, and is far simpler than it sounds. Hmmm… I almost make this seem like theoretical physics or somesuch rather than a simple editing timeline.)
Replacing Your Disc:
After having received my copy of Jigoku, I immediately noticed the footage discrepancy and thoroughly checked out the disc and the files. Following that, I contacted Criterion to report the authoring error. Although they had just discovered the problem themselves, I was able to give them additional details from my own findings.
Thankfully, the always-reliable folks at Criterion stick by their products, and wish to provide consumers with top-quality DVD releases. I spoke with my contact at Criterion today regarding Jigoku, and he informed me that the title had been completely reauthored and repressed -- he promised that the film was absolutely 100% intact now! Even better, the corrected discs were received earlier today (and my own copy is already on its way to me). Just as an FYI, the rest of the disc is exactly the same as before…
As the corrected discs have only just been received, Criterion has not yet "officially" acknowledged this issue on the Known Problems section of their website, nor was it mentioned in their newsletter that was sent out via email today.
I also was not informed about how they will be handling the disc replacements -- although I'm sure this will be some sort of exchange program where you will be required to send in the original disc first.
In the meantime, should you wish to obtain the corrected pressing of Jigoku, I recommend contacting Criterion via their Support & Feedback section, report the problem, and request a replacement. I'm sure they'll know how to handle it from there…
Lastly, please note that it is only the disc itself that will be replaced, not the DVD case or booklet, so be sure to hang onto those.
I hope this information proves useful to those of you with copies of the DVD!