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Criterion Collection - Kurosawa movies


Juria
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A couple of sources said that the BFI versions of the Kurosawa movies are better than the Criterion versions so as a lot of the BFI ones were in the sale at HMV I have ordered them online..

I was just watching Throne of Blood looking for an analysis of the movie, when I see that the Criterion version has a feature length commentary that does just that... and quite a lot of the other Criterions have the same! Should I quickly cancel all the BFI ones?

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I know that the Criterion editions have commentaries and extras. The BFI ones all have fuck all on them. I don't know if the transfer is better or worse on Criterion, I want to know which versions I should go for...

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Criterion Editions of any film tend to have more of a quality feel running through them, from the packaging to the transfer, they are always a labour of love. The downside is that they cost far more than they should which was fine in the laserdisc days when no-one was presenting movies in this depth but now every man and his dog is doing two-disc 'special' editions they seem a bit of a rip-off. You'll never see a HBO making of special on a Criterion disc though ;)

I have a couple of the Criterion Kurosawa discs, Throne of Blood and Ran, and both are excellent quality. Some of the Crierion discs are a bit feature-lite though and you'd probably be better sticking to the cheaper, bfi discs, in those cases i.e. Seven Samurai. The transfer quality of this is comparable with the Criterion, the commentary bored my tits off (this is not the same commentary track as on the Criterion disc), but the film is, of course, magnificent.

If you only want the movies get the bfi discs or if you want to know as much about the man and his movies as is available on dvd at the mo' then bend your credit card for the more special criterion editions eg. Ran, Throne of Blood, Rashomon, Ikuru . BTW, the Criterion 4-pack box set containing Seven Samurai/Hidden Fortress/Yojimbo/Sanjuro is pretty good value at about £50 but is as sparse on extra material as their UK releases.

For completionists sake, I'd go for the Criterion discs.

On a related note, have you seen Kim Sung-Soo's swords and horses epic, The Warrior? It's very kurosawa-esque and also happens to be one of the best films I've seen in quite a while. It's available on a definitive 2-disc set from Premier Asia with a selection of high quality extras and is well recommended. Most expensive Korean movie ever too..

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IIRC, there are 2 versions of the Criterion Seven Samurai, something to do with the commentary being different in some way, but I'm not sure how. From what I've heard, the commentary on the BFI version isnt quite as good. The guy doing it is pretty knowledgeable, but it can be a bit boring at times. Apparently. I also hear that the transfers for both are pretty much the same.

I've a few Kurosawa Criterion editions - Yojimbo, Sanjuro, and High and Low. None of them have commentaris, and there are a few small extras on a couple.

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So this version of Seven Samurai isn't as good as the BFI one? How come?

http://www.dvdpacific.com/item.asp?ID=8480

The Warrior, do you mean Musa? I've got that yes.

No, that version is at least as good as the bfi version, the only difference is a different audio commentary to the bfi release. Other than that the transfers are from the same source so there's little to choose between them except the bfi disc will be a little cheaper if you shop around.

But, as I said, the bfi commentary track for seven samurai is a little dull, no idea of the quality of the Criterion so I'd get the Criterion edition if I were you. The cover's nicer and the commentary can't be much worse than on the bfi disc.

And yes, I was referring to Musa. Excellent isn't it?

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Who cares about extras, really? I used to, but then I figured I only watched them once. It's all about the films. Don't get me wrong: audio commentaries are a great idea, but I don't think they're worth the extra cost that they command.

I mean, HMV are selling those BFI editions for £9.99 just now. That's great value.

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I have the Criterion edition of Throne of Blood. Not only is the pakcaging much nicer to look at, the transfer is unbeatable. As for the commentary, it's some American with an annoying accent but he knows his stuff and it's enjoyable (apart from the accent).

Given the choice between Criterion and BFI, I would never even contemplate the latter, no matter what the movie.

I always get my Criterion discs from either CD Wow or MovieTyme.

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Yep, and it wasn't difficult either:

Red Beard

CD Wow: £17.99 - http://www2.cd-wow.com/detail_results_2.ph...oduct_code=2744

MovieTyme: £18.99 - http://www.movietyme.com/catalog/product_i...oducts_id=10331

Ikiru

CD Wow: £17.99 - http://www2.cd-wow.com/detail_results_2.ph...oduct_code=8604

MovieTyme - £20.99 - http://www.movietyme.com/catalog/product_i...oducts_id=18482

Just for the record, and slightly off topic, I'll be picking up this one later this month:

http://www2.cd-wow.com/detail_results_2.ph...duct_code=11137

Ingmar Bergman rocks!

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I don't need commentries, I saw the two part BBC documentry on Kurosawa. Two hours of interesting stuff, class.

you know kurosawa saw the damage done to hiroshima by the nuke?

his bro killed himself

he saw a dog get sliced in half as a young boy

and best of all, he was actually born into a samurai family, he had to spend hours holding his katana alone as training.

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Guru - this is only second hand info but I recall a letter in an old edition of Sight & Sound (you may know it, but if not its a bit like the Edge of the film world) slating the BFI version of Seven Samurai on the basis of the poor transfer quality of the print, apparantly it was a lot darker and lower quality. Thing is I can't recall what it was actually being compared to but logically could only have been the cinema print or the Criterion version.

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Guru - this is only second hand info but I recall a letter in an old edition of Sight & Sound (you may know it, but if not its a bit like the Edge of the film world) slating the BFI version of Seven Samurai on the basis of the poor transfer quality of the print, apparantly it was a lot darker and lower quality. Thing is I can't recall what it was actually being compared to but logically could only have been the cinema print or the Criterion version.

Well, the Throne of Blood dvd seems to be very low quality and has visible errors for 20 minutes near the end where they seem to have used paint shop pro scratch remover on a line running down the film. I was not impressed!!

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Seven Samurai £14

http://www.dvdpacific.com/item.asp?ID=8480

Ikiru Double Disk £14

http://www.dvdpacific.com/item.asp?ID=563030

Red Beard £14

http://www.dvdpacific.com/item.asp?ID=32178

best start doing your shopping elsewhere :D

How do you work that out? For me they come to £15.51, before you add P+P (the cheapest - and slowest - of which apprears to be £1.55).

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