A local merchant received a couple copies of MGM's upcoming 2-disc special edition of the WWII classic, The Great Escape, today and I was fortunate enough to get my hands on one. Well, if "fortunate" is the right word. I'll get to a bit more detail, but there is really one thing that is immediately clear with this new disc. The Great Escape as a film is in dire need of restoration. Unfortunately, it is in the hands of a studio that is, perhaps, the least capable of doing so (relative to the other majors). As a long-time fan of this film, I have been through just about every video version that was worth anything. The terribly expensive Criterion laserdisc, the poorly framed and otherwise weaker version on LD from MGM, then the previous DVD that used the same master as the MGM laserdisc. For one reason or another, none of these transfers have been completely satisfying and fans of this film have had to tolerate mediocre presentation for far too long. Then MGM announces a new 2-disc special edition on DVD and there is true anticipation amongst fans who have been confined to the cooler for too long. From the moment the film began to unspool on my TV, my heart began to sink as I soon realized that fans of The Great Escape were to be jilted once again. To be sure, the framing is noticabley improved and looks as it should for an anamorphic Panavision show. The transfer is also enhanced for 16:9 so it should, in theory, look its best on the many HDTVs out there now. Instead, what you will find is a grainy, mushy, poorly color corrected attempt at separating film fans from their money. Colors often verge on oversaturation, something one rarely finds in DVD. Indeed, in some respects, this transfer looks more like the old analog video of laserdisc days than the clean, sharp digital video that we have come to expect from DVD. Detail is lacking and there is even the "strobing" and color shifting in light colored backgrounds, such as a pale blue sky, that I have not seen in a major label transfer in many years. I am sorry to say that this disc has every appearance of something MGM wanted to toss out to try to generate some sales while putting minimal effort into it. The wait for a proper version of The Great Escape continues. Bah, MGM. P.S. No comment on supplements. I am still fuming over the transfer.