With Columbia's track record of crummy picture quality of classics on DVD (as of late), the only glimmer of hope I have for the eventual release of this title, is that, apparently, Columbia paid for an exspensive restoration for this film.
From the Criterion chat in October 2001: If this film were controlled by Universal, there might be a chance, since Criterion has had a working relationship with them. But if it's controlled by Columbia/Tristar, it makes it much less likely.
Yes, please don't call it *that* - leave that title to Led Zeppelin.
I'm a devoted Powell-Pressburger fan. A Matter of Life and Death is one of my most favourite films. This is great news.
It's still sad that the Criterion edition of The Tales of Hoffman is in limbo because of the elements. It isn't available in any country, I don't have it on VHS and it never shows up on TV anymore. It's an astonishing film. It's George Romero's (!) favourite film, so it would be great if Criterion could get him to record an introduction/commentary in addition to Scorsese's commentary.
A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH is available from Movies Unlimited. It is from Nostalgia Family and is a fair--but "watery" in spots-- transfer. It is the American version running 4 minutes shorter than the original version release (and the Columbia tape) and there is supposedly a scene involving a nude sheperd boy that has been omitted. The dvd bears an FBI warning, thus it is not a pirate. Last I heard was that there was a rights issue. (At one point, I recall Universal owned the rights back in the 80s with the notion of remaking it as a John Travolta film!) I recall that a couple of years ago a special edition (maybe even a 2-disc) was released in England with an audio commentary by Jack Cardiff.
I strongly recommend a gorgeous transfer of Powell's GONE TO EARTH (1950)--Powell's original version of THE WILD HEART (1952) with Jennifer Jones, which was disasterously recut by David Selznick and redirected by Rouben Mamoulian. It is available NTSC all regions from koreandvds.com. Just kill the subtitles. it's essential for Powell & Pressburger completists.