This somehow almost slipped past my radar unnoticed. While we were all concentrated on Criterion’s Seven Samurai release, BCI/Ronin entertainment has meanwhile put out a DVD of The Quiet Duel. While the remastered Seven Samurai may have been an important addition to everyone’s collections, the DVD release of The Quiet Duel can be argued to be more important — it is the first time the film is available in any form in America (other than its theatrical release 30 years ago). Unless you count the Mei Ah Hong Kong releases, but I would rather not. For availability, see Kurosawa DVDs.
DVD Talk has got a review of the disc written by Stuart Galbraith IV (the man behind the book Emperor and the Wolf), and he brands the film “an interesting failure, a mess of a movie, admirably offbeat, with many fine components, much like Sergeant Rutledge was to John Ford, or Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia was to Sam Peckinpah. And BCI Eclipse/Ronin Entertainment’s release does the film justice.” I would tend to agree with DVD Talk here: The Quiet Duel is, with The Most Beautiful, the Kurosawa film I have watched the least number of times.
The video and the audio of the DVD are praised by Galbraith. Extras include a trailer that includes shots not used in the final film, a newsreel excerpt, and a 46-minute featurette called Testimony from “The Quiet Duel”, where Setsuo Kobayashi, who worked as an assistant director of photography on the film, talks about the film’s technical aspects. Included is also an interview with actress Miko Sanjo, as well as one with composer Akira Ifukube. The DVD also comes with a three-page essay written by Galbraith.