84 Good Morning

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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Michael Kerpan
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#26 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue Aug 02, 2005 2:55 pm

The neighbor grandmother (Eiko Miyoshi) is a hoot isn't she! I loved the way she dealt with the crooked panhandler. ;~} She was a fixture at Toho (and shows up in lots of Kurosawa films). She appears only rarely in Ozu's films -- she is quite chilling as an abortionist in his "Tokyo Twilight".

I think comparisons to "I Was Born But" are misleading. The focus is entirely different here. (I wonder who started the myth that "Good Morning" was a re-make" of IWBB -- Richie, maybe?)

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zedz
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#27 Post by zedz » Tue Aug 02, 2005 7:12 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:I think comparisons to "I Was Born But" are misleading. The focus is entirely different here. (I wonder who started the myth that "Good Morning" was a re-make" of IWBB -- Richie, maybe?)
I must admit that I'm mystified by this critical commonplace as well. The two films share motifs and plot elements (kids, childhood rituals, a hunger strike), but what Ozu films don't? The actual storylines are quite different. Nobody's seriously proposing that all Ozu films that revolve around a marriage are remakes of each other, so what's the deal with this pair?

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Michael Kerpan
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#28 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue Aug 02, 2005 7:27 pm

Nobody's seriously proposing that all Ozu films that revolve around marriage are remakes of each other
Actually, people HAVE said things just about as silly as this. ;~}

Most of what was written about Ozu in English, prior to Bordwell's book, was pretty specious.

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#29 Post by King of Kong » Tue Aug 02, 2005 9:51 pm

I might add that the Criterion disc is atrocious. No extras, liner notes that say nothing, and worst of all, an awful transfer - I could've sworn I saw the colours fluctuate from time to time. This is especially noticeable during the opening credits, when the colour of the burlap subtly wobbles from brown to yellow.

Thankfully, Criterion made up with their following Ozu releases. All 3 of them (hint hint).

I've posted a mini-review of the film on my blog. Come and visit.

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#30 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Jul 03, 2006 1:27 pm

The trailer for Ohayo can be found here There looks to be a couple of behind the scenes shots with Ozu in near the end.

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#31 Post by ellipsis7 » Mon Jul 03, 2006 2:54 pm

Most of what was written about Ozu in English, prior to Bordwell's book, was pretty specious.
Disagree, although Bordwell's book is by far the best for its exemplary thorough treatment and in emphasising Ozu's radicalism, modernism and uniqueness, as well as his playfulness... Still Schrader, Desser, Richie & Burch, have a lot of useful and interesting stuff, although they can fall in to the trap of labelling Ozu as conservative, and embodying traditional Japanese values, Zen culture or a Japanese cinema isolated from Western influences...

MK you really should read Yoshida Kiju's OZU'S ANTI-CINEMA, which is really good and original, generally reinforcing Bordwell's conclusions, but also looks on Ozu from the perspective of a fellow Japanese filmmaker who knew him briefly... Mentions the other 4 and what Kiju reckons is right and wrong in their treatment of the master...

Spent a day with Schrader last year - interesting guy... Much of 'Transcendental film' holds up, he has a very interesting take and the right influences, but it's not analysis of the depth of Bordwell's book, which has been seldom reproduced by any critic about any filmmaker...

For me Schrader's book led me to greater study of Ozu, Bresson & Dreyer, which I told him...

Oh and the new Tartan disc of OHAYO/GOOD MORNING is far better than the old Criterion...

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#32 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Jul 03, 2006 3:22 pm

I think Desser actually wrote on Ozu _after_ Bordwell.

I won't pass judgment on Schrader's insights on Dreyer and Bresson, but I find his perspective on Ozu essentially valueless (to me). Schrader's "Ozu" is simply not an Ozu I recognize.

Burch constructs an impressive-looking edifice on a foundation of sand. Many of his underlying assumptions are either wrong or at least highly questionable. So, one has to wonder how useful his insights may be.

Donald Richie provides a wealth of background information -- but his information often contains factual errors (meaning one needs to try to verify a lot of information elsewhere before one can really rely on it).

The real problem though is NOT the writings of any of these individuals themselves, but the brainless recycling of poorly-digested bits and pieces of these people's work as commonplaces of American Ozu movie criticism. ;~}

I still have not tracked down the Yoshida book (alas, the Boston Public Library never got a copy).

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#33 Post by ellipsis7 » Mon Jul 03, 2006 3:44 pm

Who are we to say which is the real Ozu, and that we know him well? A point made by Yoshida Kiju...

That's why I like to read a range of criticism on any filmmaker...

OZU'S ANTI CINEMA can be bought directly from the Center for Japanese Studies, University Of Michigan, here...

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#34 Post by kinjitsu » Mon Jul 03, 2006 4:45 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:I still have not tracked down the Yoshida book (alas, the Boston Public Library never got a copy).

I have been trying to do the same rather than blind buy but did manage to locate a copy at U of Riverside library, so you might want to check one of the college or university libraries in your area, of which there are many. :wink:

Here is that link, ellipsis: Ozu's Anti-Cinema

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#35 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Jul 03, 2006 4:57 pm

kinjitsu wrote:I have been trying to do the same rather than blind buy but did manage to locate a copy at U of Riverside library, so you might want to check one of the college or university libraries in your area, of which there are many.
I have checked this -- and some of the university libraries do have copies -- but not any library I have access to. ;~{

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#36 Post by ellipsis7 » Mon Jul 03, 2006 5:28 pm

It's only $22 plus postage then from UMich...

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#37 Post by milkcan » Tue Jul 04, 2006 12:57 pm

Good Morning is a pleasant viewing experience, and I would certainly rank it as one of the best films I've seen (having only seen a limited number of Ozu's films, I won't say it is his best, though). The story is very smart, with so much going on, and Ozu weaves his themes together successfully; I never found any fault, everything is wrapped up nicely, and, in recollection, never disappoints.

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#38 Post by malcolm1980 » Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:31 pm

zedz wrote:What bunch of schoolkids wouldn't enjoy a film with so many fart jokes?
I knew this was a comedy but I was surprised by the fart jokes. Ozu and fart jokes? I wouldn't have thought for a million years.

But this is still a great film. I think Good Morning is a good way to start on the cinema of Ozu. It's lighter than his usual fare (and accessble).

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#39 Post by Mr Pixies » Mon Jul 16, 2007 4:59 pm

malcolm1980 wrote:
zedz wrote:What bunch of schoolkids wouldn't enjoy a film with so many fart jokes?
I knew this was a comedy but I was surprised by the fart jokes. Ozu and fart jokes? I wouldn't have thought for a million years.
Maybe I'm recalling more than I really saw, but doesn't he have a lot of this kind of thing in his films? Like kids scratching their crotches and butts, I recall this in A Story of Floating Weeds, if not in all his films where there's kids, which is all that I've seen so far.

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#40 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Jul 16, 2007 8:14 pm

Mr Pixies wrote:Maybe I'm recalling more than I really saw, but doesn't he have a lot of this kind of thing in his films? Like kids scratching their crotches and butts, I recall this in A Story of Floating Weeds, if not in all his films where there's kids, which is all that I've seen so far.
It is not uncommon -- and even adults can do a lot of scratching etc (viz. Takeshi Sakamoto in Passing Fancy). There's also all the bed wetting humor in "Tenement Gentleman"

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#41 Post by Matango » Fri Jul 20, 2007 3:20 am

It's hard to picture a fart sounding off at any point in any of his other films really. While Setsuko Hara is losing at the end of Tokyo Story perhaps? Now that would be an ending and a half.

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#42 Post by Matt » Sat Aug 25, 2007 7:39 pm

I wonder if Criterion has plans to rerelease this. I know, despite its appalling transfer, that it's probably not a high priority for them: they've probably used up just about all the relevant-to-this-film Ozu extras they have access to and it's not a widescreen film needing anamorphic enhancement. I wonder why they just didn't take this disc out of print and issue the film with a new transfer in the Late Ozu Eclipse set. Are spine numbers really that sacred?

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#43 Post by kinjitsu » Sat Aug 25, 2007 8:21 pm

I had the same thought as well since it would have fit perfectly into Late Ozu set and its exclusion left something of a gap in the chronology of the set.

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#44 Post by justeleblanc » Sun Aug 26, 2007 12:44 am

Why not pair it (like FLOATING WEEDS) with I WAS BORN BUT...

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#45 Post by kinjitsu » Sun Aug 26, 2007 12:46 am

Not necessarily a new idea, and there seems to be some disagreement about the logic of pairing of these two.
Michael Kerpan wrote: "I Was Born But" and "Good Morning" have nothing in common beyond the motif of children going on strike aginst their parents (for totally different reasons -- and using totally different methods)

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#46 Post by zedz » Sun Aug 26, 2007 5:36 pm

kinjitsu wrote:Not necessarily a new idea, and there seems to be some disagreement about the logic of pairing of these two.
Michael Kerpan wrote: "I Was Born But" and "Good Morning" have nothing in common beyond the motif of children going on strike aginst their parents (for totally different reasons -- and using totally different methods)
Yes, we've been around that racecourse before, but I'd be prepared to sacrifice logic and principle for a decent DVD of I Was Born, But. . .. This 'remake' idea is a case of a piece of received wisdom that got entrenched a long time ago (presumably when whoever originated it had not seen both films, or had only very faint memories of one or other or both of them), but I think it's regurgitated in the liner notes of Criterion's Good Morning, so it's not unlikely.

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#47 Post by Steven H » Sun Aug 26, 2007 8:02 pm

Even if the connection has been blown slightly out of proportion (as in it's "hardly a remake"), the two have quite a bit in common, especially compared to the rest of Ozu's films. Its hard to think about Ozu making Good Morning and *not* heavily considering his earlier movie, and seeing them back to back would make an impression larger than each individually, so it would make for a nice package. Besides, the likelihood of getting I Was Born But... quadruples (at least in my imagination) if its relegated to "extra feature" status, rather than a stand alone release (Criterion doesn't seem terribly interested in silent film, with one out of the canon every year or so.) That still leaves about half a dozen extremely rewatchable silent, or just "early", films to throw in an Eclipse set.

But this is one of their worst looking DVDs, overpriced (especially with a noticeable lack of features), from a very important director, so it should get some attention. I'm really hoping someone tags Yoshida Kiju's documentary series about Ozu on a set at some point. I haven't seen any of it (so I don't know if it can be broken up like the Kurosawa "Wonderful to Create" series), but its available on DVD in Japan without subs. I can't imagine Yoshida, one of my favorite directors, not having something interesting to say about Ozu (his book was a great read, even if I didn't necessarily agree with every word.)

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#48 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue Aug 28, 2007 7:32 pm

If Criterion were to re-do "Good Morning" (getting it right), it could make a nice partner for "I Was Born But" -- even though it isn't a "re-make". On the other hand, IWBB could just as easily be paired with any of the other films involving young children -- like "Passing Fancy" or "Tokyo Inn".

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#49 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Apr 29, 2008 11:47 am

The Criterion Contraption on Good Morning.

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Re: 84 Good Morning

#50 Post by dad1153 » Sat May 09, 2009 5:18 pm

My fourth Ozu film (first in color after watching three Ozu movies in B&W). For years I'd see the "Good Morning" Criterion DVD and felt tempted to rent it or buy it. I was wise to do neither until I was more familiar with Ozu's body of work. Had this been my first taste of Ozu it's unlikely I would have taken a chance on "Tokyo Story" or "Late Spring."

Basically this comedy left me a little cold despite being nothing more than a harmless return to the young kids/comedic undertones that were present in Ozu's earlier work (or so I've read). The modernization of Japanese life and the havoc it plays on relationships (between friends, siblings, families, neighbors, etc.) would be ideal material for humor if Ozu weren't so attached to flatulence as a gag worth repeating (38 years before "South Park") or gossip between housewives as the means to advance the story. The music is also too cute by half and disconnected from the movie's handful of serious points/motifs made in-between the farting gags. Loved the little kid saying 'I Love You' though (a payoff to the long stretch he and his older brother went without speaking), and anybody old enough to remember when getting a new TV set was a really big deal won't be able to repress a smile. "Good Morning" is no masterpiece and could use a better DVD transfer (color fluctuation is minimal but distracting). As part of Ozu's filmography it's a slightly-amusing, lighthearted entry into a body of work better known for emotion and pathos than laughter.

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