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News from BFI

Thanks to Master Thief, I have corrected an error on the Akira Kurosawa DVDs page — the BFI release of High and Low is 2.35:1, not 2.55:1 as I had claimed following the research I did when writing the page. I don’t personally have a copy of the BFI disc, so I based my assumptions on various reviews that all claimed the film to be in 2.55:1, but following Master Thief’s remark I asked BFI about it, and they confirmed that it is indeed 2.35:1, which is also the original “Toho-Scope” aspect ratio.

The contact at BFI had something else to tell us as well, namely that “It’s my understanding that there are a small number of early Kurosawa titles to see release, but I can’t confirm titles or release dates at this time.” Time will tell which movies BFI is planning to release, and whether the rumoured “Early Kurosawa” box set that someone mentioned last autumn might indeed see the light of day.


Discussion

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Master Thief

Well the Reviews were right and BFI are wrong!

Check out these screen shots comparing the BFI with the Criterion:

http://kurosawa.jokerman.net/highlow.html

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Vili Maunula

Wow! Interesting. The horizontal cropping that’s happening in the Criterion release is about as bad as was the case with the original Sanjuro release. Note, however, that the Criterion displays slightly more of the film vertically.

Yet, BFI may actually still be right, and Criterion wrong. Based on the images that you posted, the BFI counts as 2.46:1, while the Criterion comes out as 2.21:1. If you count in the slight vertical cropping in the BFI release, it is not difficult to think of the BFI as almost 2.35:1. Crucially, all the information that I can find about the film also points to the fact that “High and Low” was originally released in TohoScope, which I believe is 2.35:1.

The Criterion, meanwhile, probably shouldn’t really be sold as 2.35:1. Or what do you think?

In any case, thanks a bunch for this! It would actually be really helpful if we could create a gallery of comparisons like yours somewhere (for example on this website).

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Master Thief

I just checked the Madman (Region 4) release and this particular frame is the same as in the BFI – same width and same vertical cropping. The Madman is also sold as a 2.35:1 ratio. It’s sub-titles are positioned partly across the film whereas the BFI’s are all on the bottom black border. I may post some more screen shots when I have some more time.

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Master Thief

I am happy to provide whatever screen shots you want from my collection of DVDs. Just let me know what frames you want from what version. My collection is at:

http://kurosawa.jokerman.net/dvd.html

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Vili Maunula

Wow, you have quite a collection there, Master Thief!

Basically, any shots that you could and would make would be great to have. I didn’t take my Kurosawa DVDs with me to Finland, so I can’t really do anything myself at the moment, and in any case my Kurosawa DVD collection is much less extensive.

Don’t go out of your way with it, though.

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