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Old 16-01-2002, 11:12   #1
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Kurosawa(Rashomon)

Folks,

Finally saw Rashomon at the NFT last night. Part of the NFT's Kurosawa 50 season(check out www.nft.org.uk). Wonderful. Go see the new excellent print of Theatre of Blood too if you get the chance.I've picked up a few Kurosawa discs(Seven Samurai, Theatre of Blood, Hidden Fortress) but was wondering if anyone has any recommendations, particularly of Yojimbo and Rashomon(I know the Criterion disc is due imminently), and the quality of the R2 BFI transfers. Any recommendations for other regions, any of the R3 discs, would be appreciated too.

I've seen Kurosawa threads previously but with the search mechanism disabled I've had to kick off another.

Anyway, thanks in advance,

Anthony.
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Old 16-01-2002, 12:03   #2
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Rashomon is a terrific film. I'm looking forward to the Criterion release. Other Kurosawa DVD releases that I have seen:

Seven Samurai
Yojimbo
Sanjuro

Are all pretty good versions whether you buy them from BFI or Criterion, but none are anamorphic (and Seven Samurai shouldn’t be). The only notable difference is the superior commentary track on the Criterion Seven Samurai. All great films and highly recommended.

High And Low
Only available from Criterion, but it is a good non-anamorphic disc and an excellent film

Hidden Fortress
The Criterion collection edition of this is superb. Great print, anamorphic and great film.

Dersu Uzala
R1 Kino release is not anamorphic, but has an English dub and optional English subtitles. Not Kurosawa’s best film, but still worth a look.

Ran
A lacklustre Fox Lorber is all that is/was available. The film is marvellous, but I wouldn’t go for this release. There are doubts about it being in the correct aspect ratio, but overall it is not really all that bad. There was talk of a new release long ago, but nothing seems to have materialised.

Rhapsody in August
R2 release of this was very poor. Pan and Scan, fixed subtitles. It’s a good latter Kurosawa film, but avoid this release.

Madadayo
Another Fox Lorber release, this one is actually very good quality, although it is not anamorphic. The film is best forgotten about though. There is not much trace of the master in this film and it is very very irritating.

R3 releases
Many of Kurosawa’s films are available from Hong Kong label Mei Ah, especially early films that are never distributed here. I have seen their Hidden Fortress, Record Of A Living Being, and Red Beard and they are all really terrible. Smeary prints with loads of artefacting and unintelligible subtitles. If I didn’t have Donald Ritchie’s book on Kurosawa to explain the plots, I wouldn’t know what was going on in these films. Avoid.

French releases
There are a number of French Kurosawa releases, which are reported to be of excellent quality. I haven’t seen any of them, but I believe they don’t have English subtitles.

Last edited by Noel M; 16-01-2002 at 12:06.
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Old 16-01-2002, 12:41   #3
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Ran
A lacklustre Fox Lorber is all that is/was available. The film is marvellous, but I wouldn’t go for this release. There are doubts about it being in the correct aspect ratio, but overall it is not really all that bad. There was talk of a new release long ago, but nothing seems to have materialised.


It is the correct aspect ratio (it should 100% definitely be 1.85:1 – the IMDB, not for the first time, is quite simply wrong), but it’s displayed in a somewhat peculiar fashion, with the non-anamorphic picture pushed to the top of the 4:3 frame and the subtitles in the large black bar below. This looks acceptable on a 4:3 set but horrible on a widescreen one – you either have to put up with a tiny picture or end up cropping part of the picture (or the subtitles!)
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Old 16-01-2002, 16:18   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Michael Brooke
It is the correct aspect ratio (it should 100% definitely be 1.85:1 – the IMDB, not for the first time, is quite simply wrong
I'm not quite as convinced of this as you are Michael, but we've had this discussion before. The reason I'm uncertain is because while the majority of the film is indeed displayed (somewhat strangely at the top of the screen) in 1:85:1, the opening title sequence of the boar-hunt is slightly wider - ie. there are still black lines visible when zoomed to 16:9. However, it is not wide enough to be 2:35:1, so I agree with you that IMDB is probably wrong about this. There is no argument that Fox Lorber made a mess of this release though.
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