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AK 100 25 Films

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    Smithcraft

    So, I was gonna check out the new comparisons at DVD Beaver, and I saw on the upcoming releases that there is a AK 100 25 Films bundle coming out. In theory, it appears to be coming from Criterion. It is listed to street on the 7th of December, which since it is so far out, I think that is why it’s not showing up at Criterion.

    Anyway, what interested me is that the bundle includes Men Who Tread On The Tigers Tail.

    Here is the description from DVD Beaver

    AK 100: 25 Films by Akira Kurosawa – The Bad Sleep Well (1960), Dodes’ka-den (1970), Drunken Angel (1948), The Hidden Fortress (1958), High and Low (1963), I Live in Fear (1955), The Idiot (1951), Ikiru (1952), Kagemusha (1980), The Lower Depths (1957), Madadayo (1993), The Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail (1945, The Most Beautiful (1944), No Regrets for Our Youth (1946), One Wonderful Sunday (1947), Rashomon (1951), Red Beard (1965), Sanjuro (1962), Sanshiro Sugata (1943), Sanshiro Sugata, Part II (1944), Scandal (1950), Seven Samurai (1954), Stray Dog (1949), Throne of Blood (1957), Yojimbo (1961) – Criterion Collection

    I looked around here for something about it, but all I found was the AK100 tour. Anyone hear about this set yet?

    SC

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    Vili Maunula

    Thanks for the heads-up, Smithcraft (and welcome to the non-lurking side)! I haven’t heard of this set before, but if the whole of it is indeed a Criterion release, it’s really good news since Tiger’s Tail and The Most Beautiful are the last films without any proper English friendly edition. And getting both Sanshiro Sugatas from Criterion would be absolutely brilliant as well.

    I’ll try to dig up more information, but unfortunately my experience with Criterion is that they don’t really reply to my emails or requests.

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    Jeremy

    All that is known appears here(very little):

    http://www.criterionforum.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=10002

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    Smithcraft

    Vili, that’s not very nice of them!

    I saw Tigers Tail way back at the Little Tokyo Cinema in Los Angeles, along with Uma and l’d love to see a decent DVD for Tigers Tail too!

    However, I’m still torqued that Criterion pillarboxed the newer Sanjuro and Yojimbo DVDs! 😡 👿 I hope they will give up that practice. Who has overscan these days? ❓

    SC

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    Smithcraft

    Jeremy Quintanilla wrote 19 minutes ago:

    All that is known appears here(very little):

    http://www.criterionforum.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=10002

    Not much more information. Plus quite a bit of useless vitriolic speculation.

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    Jeremy

    So you got to see Uma, in completion?

    You, I believe would be the only person here that has seen it.

    About the only thing that doesn’t exhibit a bit of over scan would be a LCD computer monitors on a computer. Modern TVs are still over scanning a bit, especially on ratios not proportioned to the TVs native resolution.

    One reason is the way HDTV is broadcast, often the original imagine is sent crop or magnified so to fit their logos and ticker bars. So TV makers try to counter any weird results that would happen if their TVs were perfectly setup.

    Or at least every TV I bought I have had to go into the service menu to make small corrections.

    But certainly on a properly adjusted TV, having the aspect bars from Criterion is rather annoying.

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    Smithcraft

    I saw Uma, and I presume it was a complete cut. Nobody else here has seen it? That almost makes me feel special…

    As for the pillar boxing, I just pulled up Yojimbo(newer version) in Handbrake. for an 853 by 352 pixel image, 16 pixels on each side are for the Pillar boxing. That leaves you with 815 pixels. Most DVDs only have a couple of pixels on each side for the overscan protection, not 16.

    However, I popped Yojimbo in my HD-A30 and it’s edge to edge.

    Pillar boxing or not, I’d still love to get any Criterion edition over any odd ball import. In the thread at Criterion Forum, they did mention that many places have regular Criterion sales with deep discounts so I think I might have to hold out for one of those sales. Amazons $100 off isn’t too bad though…

    The official page – http://www.criterion.com/boxsets/678

    SC

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    Jeremy

    I might be wrong, but I don’t recall anyone claiming to have of seen Uma. I think the film is only on 16mm reels, unless you know otherwise. If so, let me know.

    DVDPlanet.com often runs a bit cheaper then Amazon, they are also the more popular site for really good Criterion sales. I wouldn’t however expect too much better then Amazon in this case, and right now the title is not listed.

    Hopefully, the the box art is different for each film oppose to what is already out in Criterion and Eclispe, and this linen-bound box is really nice as well. Whatever the case, I will be getting this one.

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    Smithcraft

    Well the Little Tokyo Cinema wasn’t very big that was for certain! I just paid my money and sat in a seat, so I have no information as to what the film stock consisted of. I really wish I could give some insight into the movie but it was over 15 years ago that I saw it. The image quality was good, not great, but good. However I seem to recall that most of the movie was fairly dark. I don’t know if it was the print or the movie itself.

    The image quality on Tigers Tail was also good, if a bit bright. It really should have made for a good tape, or later DVD.

    As for this set – I’m leaning towards getting it. My Kurosawa library is woefully inadequate. However I really hate double dipping, as the industry calls it, if I’m gonna get some of the more deluxe Criterion discs for the commentaries and booklets. Maybe I can pick up some cheap on eBay. I can’t quite imagine finding them on Craigslist…

    I did check at DVDPlanet, as they seem to always be running a Criterion sale. As you noted it’s not even on their release schedule, and they aren’t currently running a Criterion sale!

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    Smithcraft

    I just recalled that the next week after seeing Uma and Tigers Tale, they were going to show a movie (translated title) Player of 24 hours.

    My Google-fu is weak, but if you can find that movie, that would be round about the time I saw the two Kurosawa films.

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    cocoskyavitch

    Ah, here it is! Criterion releases 25 Kurosawa films on DVD (including some of those pesky hard-to-find early films!): YAHOOO!!!!!! http://www.criterion.com/boxsets/678

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    Ugetsu

    Oh my…. that is so tempting… but as I haven’t got my multi region player yet I’ll keep my credit card on hold for now….

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    Vili Maunula

    Stay tuned for a review, people. 🙂 My review discs should be crossing the Atlantic as we speak…

    Now I only need to find the time to sit down and watch them, which seems to be increasingly more difficult these days!

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    Lewis Saul

    It certainly looks like a fine must-have purchase — even for kooks like me who have all 30 in some form or another … but alas, only 25!! … no Duel, Dersu, Ran, Dreams, or Rhapsody.

    The good thing (obviously) is (hopefully) good prints and translations of Sugata II and Most Beautiful which we’ve all been waiting for. I simply cannot imagine Criterion using the currently available prints with those awful Chinese translations … so if those two films are all new and spiffy, I suppose it’ll be worth shelling out the $300 for that, and then sell EVERYTHING else I own on e-bay!! Hi, Vili, et al! Lew Saul

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    Jeremy

    It’s been a long time since we heard from you.

    25, was my thoughts as well, they could of really made it special and done all 30.

    Another disappoint largely due to the price, is they are going to give the old version of Seven Samurai, oppose the newer 2 disc version. (I base that on some pretty good evidence, but not 100%) I too wonder what version of the other movies Criterion has re-remastered will be included if the Seven Samurai case is true-which again I’m nearly positive it is.

    Then another bit of info I’m fairly positive it is true, none of the disc will include any extras, nor the booklets of the individual copies already released.

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    cocoskyavitch

    Jeremy, do you think they are re-mastering Sugata II and Most Beautiful?

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    Vili Maunula

    do you think they are re-mastering Sugata II and Most Beautiful?

    As I have the discs here, I can say that the answer to that one is “no”. The picture quality is perfectly watchable, but nowhere near the quality of Criterion’s “proper” releases. Dust and scratch marks are everywhere, and there are brightness changes from one scene to another. The sound hasn’t been remastered, either.

    Still much better than the Chinese releases though, and as I said, perfectly fine for the purpose of watching the films. Unfortunately, I don’t have the Australian releases to compare these with, so I can’t say how the AK100 discs compare to those.

    I’m trying to get a full review up later this week.

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    cocoskyavitch

    Way to make me jealous, Vili! Thanks for the information. As the owner of a Bo-Ying Yojimbo, I know just how much better Criterion’s versions can be. One last question: are the translations redone, and if not, are they tolerable? (Bo-Ying is some sort of Japanese-to-Chinese-to-English mashup that is inscrutable).

    I look forward to your review!

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    Jeremy

    Whatever Vili says; I did not get a chance to play the new disc. I await his review.

    You would say less then Eclispe quailty Vili?

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    Vili Maunula

    Jeremy: You would say less then Eclispe quailty Vili?

    The four films that I am talking about — the two Sugatas, The Most Beautiful and Tiger’s Tail — are, I would say, of slightly lower quality than the No Regrets for Our Youth and One Wonderful Sunday prints in Eclipse’s Postwar Kurosawa set (which I think are the worst two of the set).

    I assume that this is because the sources of the four films are older, and the wartime film stock was worse, so we simply don’t have proper prints out there, and Criterion doesn’t feel that it is commercially viable to do a full digital restoration of these early films.

    However, and I think that I must stress this is in my final review (which I can soon just copy-paste from this thread 😛 ), these films are much better than the Chinese releases and the subtitles are very good, so the quality of the print will not really come between you and your enjoyment of the films.

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    Master Thief

    Hi Vili. Can you have a look at the screenshots I posted of the Japanese Toho release of The Most Beautiful and let us know what you think of these compared to the new Criterion version. Although very tempted, my financial position at the moment would make it hard to buy this new box set just to get good english sub-titles for TMB & Tiger’s Tale. I also have the Toho release of Tiger’s Tale which is also pretty good for its age.

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

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    Vili Maunula

    Master Thief, that’s a good question, I’ll try to do a proper comparison soon. I’ll do my best to find the time tomorrow, as I won’t be home for a week from Saturday onwards.

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    Vili Maunula

    I did a Most Beautiful comparison, and posted my opinion here.

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