I saw this film when it first came out in the theaters and I can say that the eastmancolor film stock that Columbia and a few others were using during that time was not very good. I wouldn't expect we will ever see any transfer much better than what is out now. Even HD will not get rid of the grain. The colors in the film were also rather muted( probably by design). Still this film stands out as a classic.
I got an early copy. It doesn't look like a new transfer to me, and yes, the film has always looked grainy, especially to opening, which has multiple opticals going on. It's definitely sharper, has a DTS track, but I don't know that that's sufficient reason to upgrade, given the original release has the extras.
The two superbits I own (LOA and Das Boot) appear to me to have new transfers. In fact it was a major topic of debate around here about the LOA superbits. I have a 100" diagonal CRT front-projection system so differences really show up for me.
Dennis - it's definitely not a new transfer, but it's noticibly sharper on my 56inch TV. If you're not happy with the other transfer's grain or color, this won't make you happy either. If you're looking for a sharper-looking version of the same transfer, it might be worth it for you.
Colin Jacobson at dvdmg.com has a review of Guns of Navarone up now. He said the picture seems identical to the first release. I was dissatisfied with the PQ of that release, so I'll be skipping this one.
I think that the current PQ of "Navarone" is about as good as anyone could have done on the original negative, barring a cost-prohibitive complete restoration. From what I heard, the negative really went through hell since 1962 (I saw a 16 mm print of it on TV once, and it had some really scratchy moments, especially when the group first leaves in the fishing boat), and UCLA's Robert Gitt saved the movie from being lost forever with a last-second lab restoration in 1985.
Perhaps Mr. Harris has some more definitive inside information, but as far as I know the DVDs of The Guns of Navarone, while entirely watchable on a 4:3 screen, serve as a reminder to widescreen TV owners what neglect of a film negative will result in.
I don't know why people act surprised when a Superbit title offers the same transfer as the prior DVD. VERY few Superbits provide new transfers - the vast majority use the same ones as the earlier discs. It's the rule - new transfers are the exception.
Agree with Colin here. The Superbits do not, for the most part, utilize new transfers. They are redos at a higher bit rate and usually look sharper and better. That is the case with Guns of Navarone. It is clearly sharper than the normal DVD, but the transfer, with all its blemishes, is the same.
LAWRENCE OF ARABIA definitely is NOT a "new transfer"- Robert Harris has confirmed this. What they DID do was take the existing HD transfer and do a tape-to-tape color correction in HD to match the intended color scheme of the film prints. Thus, it might LOOK like a "new transfer", but it in fact utilized the same 65mm film-to-HD transfer as the original DVD release, albeit with additional tape-tp-tape color correction applied.