Much earlier in this thread, I mentioned my concerns about the original stand-alone Criterion blu-ray of Summer Interlude — the original release suffered from severely reduced contrast compared to the many 35mm prints that I've seen — and my disappointment that the screencaps at DVD Beaver indicated that the new transfer for the box set did not seem to be an improvement.
I've now had a chance to spot check the new transfer of Summer Interlude, and it's better than I expected. The new restoration really cleaned up a lot of the damage that was visible on the original blu-ray. I'm normally pretty tolerant of dirt, scratches, and such, but the first blu-ray suffered from some really distracting density variations, and those are greatly minimized on the new release. Most of the scenes suffering from this problem had water or moving foliage in the background, and it's possible the problem may actually have resulted from in-camera flares resulting from the sun reflecting off of the moving water or shining through the moving leaves (although I don't remember this being an issue with the film prints). Regardless, the new release is a huge improvement in this respect. In general, the contrast is somewhat better than the original release, but disappointingly it's still too flat. Reducing the brightness setting on my Oppo player to -3, and boosting the contrast to +3 got things roughly into right ball park.
The other transfer I was very curious about was A Passion. The color grading of this film was badly messed up by MGM when they did their DVD release — the colorist was obviously unaware of Bergman's statements that he and Sven Nykvist had worked hard to eliminate as much blue as possible from the photography. The colorist's attempts to put back the missing blue made the film look overly saturated and made some of the lighting look weird and artificial. I'm happy to say that the transfer for the box set pretty well nails it, and looks very close to what I remember from the film prints. The look is somewhat desaturated, very earthy, extremely natural, the mood is very close to what I remember from seeing this theatrically. My only complaint is that the transfer may be a touch too bright in places, but really overall it's excellent.
Last, I took a quick look at some scenes in Cries and Whispers. Wow, is this transfer different from the original stand-alone Criterion blu-ray. As is well known by now, the first release was VERY warm, the red was really pumped up. The new transfer is much more natural, and if anything errs on the the side of being too cool. Which one is "correct"? I wish I knew. I saw Cries and Whispers several times theatrically in the late seventies/early eighties, and my memory is that the colors were rich and saturated. Having said that, the stand-alone blu-ray really does seem too red, there is also a slight green tint in some of the images that seems wrong, and a number of scenes seems lacking in contrast. The new transfer is more natural, has more contrast, but I think the skin tones are just to cool. The slightly bluish tinge makes sense for Agnes, who after all is dying of cancer, but doesn't seem right for the other characters. It also doesn't make sense in light of Bergman's comment that a starting point for the film was his feeling that red was the color of the soul.
I haven't seen the Criterion DVD, but judging by the DVD Beaver screencaps (always a slightly dangerous thing to do), it may well have had the best color grading - more saturated and warmer than the new Criterion transfer, but not as extreme as the first Criterion blu-ray release.