Press Notes: Jules Dassin’s Rififi

Rififi Header Framed

“Press Notes” is an ongoing collection of quotes and links to reviews of Criterion Collection releases from around the Internet.

On January 14th, 2014, the Criterion Collection will release their two-disc Dual-Format release of Jules Dassin’s Rififi. Three years ago, Arrow Films released their Blu-ray (read James’ review here), and we all began speculating as to when Criterion would upgrade their 2001 DVD release.

Reviews of the new Blu-ray are going up online, and I’ll collect links and quotes here.

Order the Rififi Dual-Format release on Amazon.


Their 1080P is slightly darker and more technically robust than the Arrow (with a max’ed out video bitrate) – it also shows quite a bit more information in the frame – on all 4 sides – than any of the other digital editions. While I have no proof – I suspect it is the most theatrically accurate – the contrast shows a richer, texture-filled image that just reeks of ‘dark cinema’.

Criterion’s release of this classic French gangster film uses a high-definition transfer that is not identical to the one Arrow Films used for their release of the film in the United Kingdom. In addition to the different framing, brightness levels appear to have been slightly toned down (compare screencapture #15 with screencapture #16 from our review of the Arrow Films release). Contrast levels are also slightly toned down, but it is actually not that easy to tell while viewing the film. Image depth and clarity are excellent. Sequences with plenty of natural light, in particular, can look very impressive (see screencapture #6). There are absolutely no traces of problematic degraining corrections. Compromising sharpening adjustments also have not been applied. Additionally, overall image stability is very good. There are only a couple of shaky frame transitions, but they are clearly inherited. Finally, debris, cuts, scratches, flecks, and stains have been removed as best as possible. The encoding is also excellent.

Ryan Gallagher

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