This film won two awards for lush cinematography, among the best I have ever viewed, and for that alone it is worth seeing.
The reason this film, and others out of China such as "Hero," are so gorgeous are, again, due to America tossing it's economic ability onto the global scrapheap. Hollywood decided that the lustrous Technicolor process was too costly - as no new low in quality product is too low for an American corporation to stoop. Chinese filmmakers snapped up all the remaining cameraworks ... and went to work mastering the technique. The rest is economic history; China has now and wholly owns the ability to make the lushest, most colorful cinematography.
Tthere are two versions in DVD release. If you get the MGM World Films version, you are good to go. Not as good as the Orion VHS release, but very nice. If, however, you get the release from a company called Razor, you have the DVD that wins the award for worst transfer ever on planet Earth.
A real piece of garbage, yielding more catscratch, snow and grain then I have ever seen in any DVD - it constantly fills the screen to the point of total distraction. The beautiful reds throughout the original movie are washed out with excessive brightness. There are even places where the sound/score is warped/distorted.
The English subtitles in the Razor release are riddled with spelling errors including such difficult words as "bad," "then," and "servant" (spelled "savant"). The translation includes quite a few odd idiom choices as well. You would think this sort of thing would have been easily avoided with an earlier translation/subtitling already available apparently Razor couldn't be bothered to employ/review it.
It looks like Razor just did a direct transfer of a copy of the film that was rotting in a can somewhere. [The Razor release has "A Tale of Beauty and Passion" in script across the front of the case/artwork at bottom.]
"Raise The Red Lantern" was banned in China due to its symbolic references to the power wielded by Bejing, so that may explain why it took so long for a legitimate company such as MGM to obtain permission to release.
RECOMMENDATION: If you get the MGM World Films version, watch and enjoy. If you get the Razor version, it's better used as a beer coaster.