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PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 10:43 am 

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Branded to Kill

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When Japanese New Wave bad boy Seijun Suzuki delivered this brutal, hilarious, and visually inspired masterpiece to the executives at his studio, he was promptly fired. Branded to Kill tells the ecstatically bent story of a yakuza assassin (chipmunk-cheeked superstar Joe Shishido) with a fetish for sniffing boiled rice who botches a job and ends up a target himself. This is Suzuki at his most extreme—the flabbergasting pinnacle of his sixties pop-art aesthetic.

Disc Features

- New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
- Video piece featuring new interviews with director Seijun Suzuki and assistant director Masami Kuzuu
- Interview with Suzuki from 1997
- New interview with actor Joe Shishido
- Original theatrical trailer
- New and improved English subtitle translation
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic and historian Tony Rayns, author of Branded to Thrill: The Delirious Cinema of Suzuki Seijun, and a state­ment by the film’s art director, Sukezo Kawahara

DVD:
Criterionforum.org user rating averages


2011 DVD:
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Blu-ray:
Criterionforum.org user rating averages



Tokyo Drifter

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IIn this jazzy gangster film, reformed killer Phoenix Tetsu’s attempt to go straight is squashed when his former cohorts call him back to Tokyo to help battle a rival gang. This onslaught of stylized violence and trippy colors got director Seijun Suzuki in trouble with Nikkatsu studio heads, who were put off by his anything-goes, in-your-face aesthetic, equal parts Russ Meyer, Samuel Fuller, and Nagisa Oshima. Tokyo Drifter is a delirious highlight of the brilliantly excessive Japanese cinema of the sixties.

Disc Features

- New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
- Video piece featuring new interviews with director Seijun Suzuki and assistant director Masami Kuzuu
- Interview with Suzuki from 1997
- Original theatrical trailer
- New and improved English subtitle translation
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Howard Hampton

DVD:
Criterionforum.org user rating averages


2011 DVD:
Criterionforum.org user rating averages


Blu-ray:
Criterionforum.org user rating averages



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 Post subject: 39 Tokyo Drifter
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2004 4:17 pm 
監督
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Tokyo Drifter has to be one of Criterion's absolute worst transfers (we should rank them!). I've been leaving this film on in the background while I work, and this dvd is really just awash with digital artifacting. It's a shame, since I really enjoy the film (I'm mostly just listening to it).

I think Seijun Suzuki, more than any other director, except perhaps Ozu, makes the idea of filmmaking seem easy. As though you just film a bunch of shots of people fighting, women running and falling, women looking forlorn, close-ups of guns, etc., and then construct a story later, in the editing room. Obviously there is much more going on than that, but the end result seems so. . . doable. . . that it gets my head spinning about how I should be making films. I feel this for 東京流れ者 (Tokyo Drifter) more than for 殺しの烙印 (Branded to Kill) (which is a fantastic film in its own right). I'm really looking forward seeing more of his films.


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 Post subject: 39 Tokyo Drifter
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2004 6:20 pm 
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Jun-Dai wrote:
I feel this for (Tokyo Drifter) more than for (Branded to Kill)

Love the kanji, dude.
Suzuki is one of my favorite "discoveries" of recent years, due entirely to the CC releases (which then spurred me to watch the HVe DVDs and seek out the HVe VHS releases), which are still my two favorites of his work. My third favorite is the upcoming Youth of the Beast, which I think most closely matches the first two CCs for style, theme, humor, and visual chaos. Plus it has Jo Shishido, as a cotton-mouthed Yojimbo-like Yakuza infiltrator, dealing out and taking savage beatings implacably. The colors are washed out on the VHS, so I'm excited to see the vivid color-coded playfulness of this film in all its garish glory.


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 Post subject: 39 Tokyo Drifter
PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2004 2:49 am 
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I am very glad that Suzuki is comparatively well represented on DVD in the states! I'm really looking forward to Fighting Elegy and Youth of the Beast but I wish they would also bring out Gate of Flesh and Story of a Prostitute both of which were available on VHS before the takeover.


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 Post subject: 39 Tokyo Drifter
PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2004 2:27 am 
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Something's been bothering me about the film.

Does Nikkatsu scope slightly strech the image to make people look taller, or is that just the transfer? On most shots the characters look taller than they actualy are, or maybe it's me.


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 Post subject: 39 Tokyo Drifter
PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2004 2:37 am 
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I've never seen the Criterion transfer (which is known not to be a good one) but it seems the UK disc looks the same way... On the contrary, the French disc looks perfectly "normal" to me. Here's my comparison between UK and French discs.


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 Post subject: 39 Tokyo Drifter
PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2004 8:14 am 

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:27 pm
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The UK disc seems to have been compressed at either side to create that "windowbox" effect. How unusual.


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 Post subject: 39 Tokyo Drifter
PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2004 1:42 pm 
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The French disc looks so ridiculously better than the British disc. Crazy. I wish those HK Video releases had had English subtitles. That would've been pretty definitive for me.


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 Post subject: 38 Branded to Kill
PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 11:23 am 
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Quote:
Branded to Kill

in a pristine transfer from the original Nikkatsu-scope master.

I mentioned this on the old forum, but I find this disk hard to watch because the image is so lousy. Am I alone here? It's not just that it's non-anamorphic. The image is full of artifacts, first of all. The whole thing is very dark; there's little contrast. Is this the best Criterion could do? Are there other video versions out there to compare it to?


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 Post subject: 38 Branded to Kill
PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 11:39 am 
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I agree. I watched it the other night and the image sucks. Great movie though.


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 Post subject: 38 Branded to Kill
PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 11:44 am 
"Without obsession, life is nothing"
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Quote:
Are there other video versions out there to compare it to?

Yes. This one. Amazing A/V quality! But French subs only. I have since it came out and I haven't found any reason to replace it for now...


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 Post subject: 38 Branded to Kill
PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 12:00 pm 
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Can you make some captures for comparison with the Criterion, Annie?


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 Post subject: Branded To Kill
PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 12:08 pm 
"Without obsession, life is nothing"
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denti alligator wrote:
Can you make some captures for comparison with the Criterion, Annie?

Unfortunately not (I haven't the know-how, anyway...) but I guess those images speak from themselves.

Ask Gary, he might do them for you, if you need any more convincing. I bet he has some friends over in France that can do them (the captures from the french edition) for him.


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 Post subject: 38 Branded to Kill
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2005 4:47 pm 
Here's a comparison of Branded to Kill from DVD Rama:

ImageImage
ImageImage


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 Post subject: Branded to Kill
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2005 5:29 pm 
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Quote:
Here's a comparison of Branded to Kill from DVD Rama

Wow, the Criterion is disgustingly cropped. They really should reissue this as an anamorphic remaster.


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 Post subject: Branded to Kill
PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2005 1:17 pm 
Bringing Out El Duende
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Quote:
Here's a comparison of Branded to Kill from DVD Rama

Thanks for that. I also have the HK Video version. Guess I'll stick with it.


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 Post subject: 38 Branded to Kill
PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2005 2:16 pm 
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Tokyo Drifter's transfer is bad as well. The image is streched, compared with other versions of the DVD.

Criterion should really look into these DVDs, doubt it will happen though.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 8:43 pm 
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I really can't tell what the deal is with Criterion and Suzuki. For years now after those two releases we've been hearing Mulvaney insist that there are no further Suzuki plans, and then two of the Homevision video-tape-only films arrive as bare-bones Criterion discs. Nice transfers, all told, with some nice writing in the inside brochures on the films (though I don't really agree with the writing on Youth of the Beast, or the writer's approach to the material). Now Homevision has their wonderful DVDs of earlier Suzuki movies out. Will they stop there? I hope they continue. I'd love to see these movies in really high quality. Branded and Tokyo Drifter definitely need a revisit, which they can have now--there are better materials available, including HK Video's and Nikkatsu's nice DVD transfers. But I heard it said that Branded and Tokyo Drifter are some of the lowest-selling discs in the Criterion Collection. It's all very perplexing to me. You wonder what they'll do next with this stuff!


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 10:16 pm 
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How expensive can it be for Criterion to re-do these discs? They'll at least sell a few hundred copies to Criterion geeks like us and then a few hundred more to libraries and a few hundred more to the curious. So why not do it. What's stopping them?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 10:39 pm 
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denti alligator wrote:
How expensive can it be for Criterion to re-do these discs? They'll at least sell a few hundred copies to Criterion geeks like us and then a few hundred more to libraries and a few hundred more to the curious. So why not do it. What's stopping them?

Who knows? That Suzuki retrospective a few years back showed both of these movies. I'm sure the higher quality asian releases were probably sourced from the print used at that festival. How likely would it be that can use these companies print? It aint Janus or Rialto so it could be a small chance.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 12:20 am 
No. 33 Killer
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Hell, I'll buy a few hundred copies myself if it will get them made!


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 Post subject: Branded to Kill
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 4:43 am 
"Without obsession, life is nothing"
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Haven't they lost the rights to Branded to Kill or am I mistaken?


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 5:21 am 
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Maybe the french disk's are better, but "bad" is the wrong word for the disks in my opinion. "Not perfect" suites better, I think. I mean they still beat out the UK disks, which where released nearly three years later.

And to be honest, the comparison posted above with the french disk shows black levels from the criterion which aren't that faded out at all.
I watched branded to kill yesterday and to me the black looks black (and not that gray), like in the comparison from 10kbullets.
Though, I wouldn't mind rereleases.


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 Post subject: 39 Tokyo Drifter
PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2006 11:01 am 
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Tokyo Drifter played on TCM late last night and it seemed to look very good and sharp, better than the Criterion dvd. I don't own the dvd and have only seen it once so I hope someone else watched the TCM showing and can confirm.


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 Post subject: 39 Tokyo Drifter
PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2006 2:16 pm 
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souvenir wrote:
Tokyo Drifter played on TCM late last night and it seemed to look very good and sharp, better than the Criterion dvd.

It was definitely a different transfer. Better detail, better contrast, more vivid colors, less print damage, and it was much closer to the full 'Scope image than the cropped (or horizontally compressed, I'm not sure) Criterion DVD. I've only seen the R2 Metropolitan release through screen captures (the ones linked above, actually), but it looked better than that, too. I wish I'd known TCM was showing a different transfer -- I would've DVR'ed it.


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