52-53 Yojimbo and Sanjuro

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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denti alligator
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#51 Post by denti alligator » Tue Oct 17, 2006 6:20 pm

Le Samouraï wrote:Nothing has ever been said about High and Low (though you can count me in among the people that would like it to happen).
Untrue.

From Forthcoming Criterion List (No Speculation!):

DISTINCT REMASTERS

HIGH AND LOW (Akira Kurosawa, 1963, Japan) - Announced as a possibility at AMMI talk (Nov 2004).

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CSM126
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#52 Post by CSM126 » Tue Oct 17, 2006 6:21 pm

Le Samouraï wrote:Not especially. While High and Low would be a perfect candidate for a remaster, these releases don't indicate anything in that direction.

Criterion officially announced the remasters of Yojimbo, Sanjuro, and Seven Samurai almost a year ago. Nothing has ever been said about High and Low (though you can count me in among the people that would like it to happen).
Actually, a long, long time ago, someone from CC mentioned, at a panel discussion, that they had plans to re-do H&L. Of course, Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, and Sanjuro were announced long after that and came to us first, so who knows what happened to H&L. But it's still a possibility.

EDIT: Beat me to it!

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denti alligator
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#53 Post by denti alligator » Tue Oct 17, 2006 6:34 pm

So are these movies any good? Seven Samurai bores me to tears. The Bad Sleep Well, however, is among my favorite films.

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Mr Sausage
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#54 Post by Mr Sausage » Tue Oct 17, 2006 6:56 pm

denti alligator wrote:So are these movies any good? Seven Samurai bores me to tears. The Bad Sleep Well, however, is among my favorite films.
Well, it's diffcult to know if a film is 'good' in the objective sense that your post begs, but for me, these are great fucking films. Will you like them? I can't say; Seven Samurai is a far more exciting film than the Bad Sleep Well, yet the one puts you asleep while the other rivets you. Makes it hard to judge what your sensibilities are concerning Kurosawa. There is however no doubt that they deserve their canonical status.

I guess the most important thing to mention is that both films are comedies--light, energetic, and full of the blackest humour. They are also deft parodies of the samurai/chambara genre. Watching them--especially Yojimbo--with this in mind should drastically improve any viewing experience.

Although it is impossible to say whether you will enjoy these movies, I cannot recommend them enough. If you're still uncertain, however, you could always make one a rental to test its quality.

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#55 Post by rlendog » Tue Oct 17, 2006 8:52 pm

Cinephrenic wrote:That said, I hope Donald Richie was busy on some Naruse or Mizoguchi commentaries.
As good as Richie is I think Prince is even better - IMO the best commentator Criterion uses. While it might have been nice to hear some variety between the two movies, the interrelationship between the two makes a single commentator covering both particularly appropriate.

susumu

#56 Post by susumu » Tue Oct 17, 2006 9:05 pm

rlendog wrote:As good as Richie is I think Prince is even better - IMO the best commentator Criterion uses.
couldn't agree more.

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Matt
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#57 Post by Matt » Tue Oct 17, 2006 9:55 pm

rlendog wrote:As good as Richie is I think Prince is even better
Image Image
Agreed!

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souvenir
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#58 Post by souvenir » Tue Oct 17, 2006 10:02 pm

Matt wrote:Agreed!
=D> =D> =D>

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#59 Post by artfilmfan » Tue Oct 17, 2006 11:01 pm

... or have both Richie and Prince doing a commentary together. One can imagine them saying something like this:

Prince: "They're going to party like it's 2099".

Richie: "All night long. All night".

Prince: "Little Red Covette".

Richie: "Three times a lady, ..."

That's funny, Matt!

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denti alligator
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#60 Post by denti alligator » Tue Oct 17, 2006 11:13 pm

Mr_sausage wrote: Seven Samurai is a far more exciting film than the Bad Sleep Well ...

Although it is impossible to say whether you will enjoy these movies, I cannot recommend them enough. If you're still uncertain, however, you could always make one a rental to test its quality.
Seven Samurai "far more exciting" than Bad Sleep Well? Really?
I guess I should give Seven Samurai another chance.

The problem with renting (in the case of all threee films) is that I'm going to end up with the shitty old transfers. If I'm going to give these films my fullest attention, I ought to see them in all their remastered glory.

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Mr Sausage
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#61 Post by Mr Sausage » Tue Oct 17, 2006 11:40 pm

Denti Alligator wrote:
Mr_sausage wrote:Seven Samurai is a far more exciting film than the Bad Sleep Well ...

Although it is impossible to say whether you will enjoy these movies, I cannot recommend them enough. If you're still uncertain, however, you could always make one a rental to test its quality.
I guess I should give Seven Samurai another chance.

The problem with renting (in the case of all threee films) is that I'm going to end up with the shitty old transfers. If I'm going to give these films my fullest attention, I ought to see them in all their remastered glory.
Fair enough, but I've only ever seen those movies on the "shitty old transfers," which to be honest are not horrible and hardly marr their viewing. They're nowhere near as bad as the original Seven Samurai disc.
Denti Alligator wrote: Seven Samurai "far more exciting" than Bad Sleep Well? Really?
Most certainly. The Bad Sleep Well is an inventive film and full of life, but Seven Samurai rivets me to the screen like no other film. Even though it's three and a half hours I can honestly say that everytime it ends I wish it were longer. It's just perfectly edited into a fluid, economical whole. I'm actually rather surprised you were bored. The Bad Sleep Well, for all of its visual energy, is not as quickly paced as Seven Samurai--obviously because one is an adventure film and the other is a drama; and its social message is not, I think, wholly successful. There is also an intimacy, a closeness to Seven Samurai that I did not feel in The Bad Sleep Well. Actually the latter insists on a theatrical distance from the opening scene onward, keeping our main players in the background and revealing them through a chorus.

I think I've derailed things long enough--back to Yojimbo/Sanjuro.

Side Note: I accidently hit "edit" instead of "quote" on your post, Denti, and did not notice until after I hit "submit." I believe I fully reconstructed your post, but if something is slightly different, you know why. Sorry.

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Gregory
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#62 Post by Gregory » Wed Oct 18, 2006 12:10 am

I would definitely say that the existing Criterion releases of these two are horrible, especially (but not only) in contrast to the high standard they've set since they were released. The image is soft on both and they're severely cropped. I sold mine a couple of years ago for these reasons, and because I was pretty sure they would re-release them.
----
Side note, about how definite a reissue of High and Low is: I remember this having been mentioned at the talk in question as a film that would benefit from an anamorphic reissue -- not mentioned as something they necessarily had any plans to do. Still, I would say it's a good possibility, unless they can't correct the haloing* effect visible on the existing DVD and are worried this the persistence of this would be a dissappointment to double-dippers. I don't think this should prevent them from re-releasing it but it did cross my mind.

*...or whatever the term is for age-related presence of darker areas around people and objects standing in front of light backgrounds.
Last edited by Gregory on Wed Oct 18, 2006 4:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#63 Post by analoguezombie » Wed Oct 18, 2006 3:30 am

Ok, just sold my old copies of Yojimbo and Sanjuro in preperation.

I would imagine that High and Low will get a remaster. Brazil, Playtime, Seven Samurai and others are all getting re-released these days. Why not High and Low? I would think that any Kurosawa dvd is a good seller for Criterion, and while it may not happen in the near future I consider a new dvd of H&L an almost certainty. I just hope that they'll put out Drunken Angel and Record of a Living Being first.

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Le Samouraï
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#64 Post by Le Samouraï » Wed Oct 18, 2006 5:19 am

denti alligator wrote:DISTINCT REMASTERS

HIGH AND LOW (Akira Kurosawa, 1963, Japan) - Announced as a possibility at AMMI talk (Nov 2004).
Ah. I stand corrected. Thanks.

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#65 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Oct 18, 2006 9:28 am

Gregory wrote:I would definitely say that the existing Criterion releases of these two are horrible, especially (but not only) in contrast to the high standard they've set since they were released. The image is soft on both and they're severely cropped.
Not to mention the first Criterion release of Yojimbo having English opening titles rather than the Japanese originals as could be found on the BFI disc.

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#66 Post by soma » Tue Oct 31, 2006 9:48 pm

Today is a good day. Brand new stainless steel fridge arrived. Made plans with girlfriend to head down the coast for the long weekend (4 days of sun, swimming, good food, booze, films and reading) and I read the news on the Criterion re-masters of Yojimbo and Sanjuro and their final release dates.

Couple this with the fact that later today a friend of a friend is purchasing my old copies of Ran Masterworks (upgraded to Criterion), Seven Samurai Criterion (upgraded to new Criterion), M Criterion (upgraded to new Criterion) and a couple of others at not far off what I originally paid for them - and knowing full well that I can now sell my old Yojimbo and Sanjuro DVDs - means I've had copies of these films on DVD to watch in the interim and have/will be upgrading to definitive releases at practically no difference of cost.

Good show Criterion, look forward to January.

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#67 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Nov 04, 2006 2:13 pm

A nice discussion of Yojimbo and Sanjuro.

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#68 Post by barnyard078 » Sat Jan 06, 2007 10:52 pm

The new 35mm print of Sanjuro is playing through Wednesday in Portland, OR at the Clinton St. Theater. This will be my first time seeing Kurosawa on the big screen. I missed out when Seven Samurai played at Cinema 21 here in Portland. Woo-hoo!

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#69 Post by mogwai » Sun Jan 14, 2007 6:09 pm


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#70 Post by Matango » Mon Jan 15, 2007 6:45 am

Picked up the Collectors Set today, but gonna finish off the Naruse box before I get busy with these. Regarding Richie, yes he makes a few errors here and there, but the guy is 82 and won't be around forever. He's a living treasure and I say get him on as many commentaries as possible while he's still going.

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#71 Post by Brianruns10 » Wed Jan 17, 2007 8:59 pm

They aren't on the mainpage, but i was looking around, and found the new comparisons for Yojimbo and Sanjuro.

Here are the DVDBeaver links: Yojimbo & Sanjuro

They have not written comments yet, but on first appearance, there are some problems with Sanjuro. Still seems cropped when compared to the BFI. The only thing I can think of is that AK intended to crop it somewhat, and the BFI does not show this, but that is just my initial appraisal.

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#72 Post by davebert » Wed Jan 17, 2007 10:41 pm

That comparison makes me all the more excited about spending the money I've been holding back on spending for over a year, knowing these remasters were in the works. Combined into one mega-movie they would probably get my nod as my favorite Kurosawa film, since it's so darn hard to choose between the two. Others may be more technically interesting or canonically famous (if only slightly, and that would really only apply to Seven Samurai and Rashomon), but these have just the right mix of sharp direction and entertainment.

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#73 Post by Gofter » Thu Jan 18, 2007 12:19 pm

Yojimbo is also cropped. Screenshot from the Eastern Eye DVD

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#74 Post by Napoleon » Fri Jan 19, 2007 6:13 am

Assuming that 2.35:1 is the preferred ratio. The Eastern Eye is around 2.5:1. If the additional information on the left and right of the EE is supposed to be there, then the EE must be cropped on the top and bottom (also meaning that the cc must be cropped top and bottom as well as left and right). So either:
a) Eastern Eye is wrong and the CC is even more wrong.
b) Eastern Eye is wrong

Of course if these films are supposed to be in 2.5:1 and not 2.35:1 then the cc's are definitely incorrect. Can anyone confirm what ratio these were intended to be in? I've skimmed through the cc Yojimbo and Sanjuro and to my eyes the compositions look good.

Based on this (flimsy evidence I know) and their recent record (they've gone over a year without cropping a film) I think that the criterion is correct and the additional info on the left and right that the Eastern Eye displays is not supposed to be in the frame.

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Der Müde Tod
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#75 Post by Der Müde Tod » Fri Jan 19, 2007 10:09 am

In the Beaver comparison of the two Criterion Yojimbos, the old one looks horizontally stretched compared to the new one. Either the captures aren't right, or something is very fishy here.

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