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Another new Dersu Uzala DVD?

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    Vili Maunula

    Does anyone know anything about this Dersu Uzala release? I don’t think I’ve seen the cover before, and it says “Due for release”. The page just doesn’t mention by which company.

    Could of course be one of those online store ghosts that sometimes pop up for now particularly good reason other than to confuse us fans.

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    Master Thief

    It uses the same cover picture as the Artificial Eye release, just a bit cropped. I also recently got a Spanish release by Divisa Home Video which like the Artificial Eye is a repackaging of the 2001 Ruscico release. The picture quality is the same but the choice of dubbed languages and sub-titles is different on all of them. I suspect this new one is the same.

    I am still waiting for the French & Spectrum releases to arrive but am not hopeful that they will be any better.

    Anyway I feel that I need to check out everything that is available before we embark on our “Saving Dersu” project.

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    Master Thief

    I tried to bid on this Criterion laserdisc but the seller had not opened it up for New Zealand bidders despite me contacting him. I don’t have a laserdisc player, but I thought I should get this to check the quality. Anybody know what it is like?

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=140110104730&ssPageName=ADME:B:WNA:US:12

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    Master Thief

    I found a 1983 Laserdisc of Dersu Uzala on eBay and bought it. It is a Japanese pressing from Herald Enterprise and is spread over 3 sides. I am not sure if there is anything on the 4th side.

    As part of the same eBay purchase I also picked up 3 Toho Laserdiscs – Sanshiro Sugata I & II and Kagemusha along with the Criterion Seven Samurai Laserdisc.

    Now my only problem is I don’t have a Laserdisc player and they never real caught on in New Zealand so second hand ones are rare. I am making some enquiries to see if I can find somebody who has one so I can see if the Dersu Uzala and the Sanshiro Sugatas are any better than any of the DVDs I have.

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    Jeremy

    The pioneer CLD-D703, is among the best, they are hard to find here in the States so I wouldnt think you’ll have better luck, but its your best bet to give a good comparison between its DVD versions.

    I have a handful of LDs but have never seen any ones you have bought.

    I have a Pioneer CLD-D705 that I will pull from the closet to see if it still works, LD player tend to only last 10 years and die when not used. I wouldnt mind giving it to you, I have no use for it, just shipping to NZ would be pricey- that thing is heavy.

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    Master Thief

    Thanks Jeremy. The shipping to NZ would be expensive and it might get damaged on the way as well. I should be able to pick one up locally eventually or find somebody who has one. There is a Pioneer DVL-919e on our local auction site so I might bid on that.

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    Vili Maunula

    Did the Laserdisc ever actually really take off anywhere else than Japan? At least in (Northern?) Europe it never really even arrived.

    A bit like Minidisc, which was supposed to be the next thing, but turned out to be the “no-thing”.

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    Jeremy

    Laserdisc had its moment here in the US for a short time, although I dont know much, I was in elementary school around its arrival. My only experience with them was from the boring learning programs the school would use them for.

    The only one who bought them where the limited A/V gurus that had to have to newest stuff and schools, the general public never got into it and it died off quickly.

    I bought one long after the Laserdisc was replaced by the DVD, only to view some releases that at the time where only VHS and LD.

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    Vili Maunula

    Criterion used to do LDs, right?

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    Master Thief

    Yes here is the complete list from Wiki:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Criterion_Laserdisc_releases

    The Kurosawa films were:

    Rashomon

    Hidden Fortress

    Ikiru

    Seven Samurai

    Yojimbo

    Throne of Blood

    Red Beard

    Dodeskaden

    Dersu Uzala

    I only have the Seven Samurai and am searching for the 2 colour films of course. There was a copy of the Dersu Uzala on eBay USA recently but I couldn’t bid as it was restricted to US bidders. The person who bought it now has it for sale for US$49.99.

    There are copies of Ikiru and Throne of Blood currently open for bidding.

    . . and quite a few including Dodeskaden if you do a search. This person also has The Bad Sleep Well which doesn’t appear on the Wiki list

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    Master Thief

    Well my anxiety got the better of me and I bought both Dodeskaden & Dersu Uzala. Now I really need to find a player to check these 2 out along with the others I recently acquired.

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    Master Thief

    I just bought a Pioneer Laserdisc Player CLD-2950 for NZ$65 (about US$47.50). It has S-Video and optical digital outputs so I should be able to transfer the Kurosawa laserdiscs I have to DVD. I am hoping the Dodeskaden is a significant improvement on the MeiAh version. At least the subs should be better.

    I don’t hold great hopes that either of the Dersu Uzala laserdiscs will be any better than what is circulating on DVD, but at least it will add to our knowledge for the project.

    I’ll report further when the player and all the discs arrive.

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    Vili Maunula

    I am meanwhile trying to get hold of a Finnish DVD copy of Dersu. It was released as part of a “Russian Classics” collection of some sorts. I don’t expect it to be any better than the other releases, though.

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    Master Thief

    I just got back from a trip to find both the Criterion Dersu Uzala and Dodeska-den Laserdiscs I bought had arrived. As it is late and I am tired, I only had time to quickly scan them in the player. I haven’t hooked up audio to the laserdisc player yet, so I am making an intitial judgment just on the picture & sub-titles.

    The Dersu is probably as good as the Kino and better than the Artificial Eye and other releases based on the Ruscico version. The cover states:

    “Dersu Uzala was transferred from a 35mm anamorphic color reversal internegative in the Cinemascope aspect ratio of 2.35:1. Both the English and Russian soundtracks were created from separate 35mm optical soundtrack negatives. The intermittent film scratch on the left side of the screen is inherent in the source materials, which were the best available elements. The new English subtitles were created from an updated Russian-to-English translation”

    The Dodes’ka-den is a big improvement in colour richness & sub-titles. It is also 1.66:1 ratio. Both the Mei Ah and French versions I have are 4:3. I don’t know why they haven’t released this on DVD. On the cover it says:

    “Dodes’ka-den is presented in the aspect ration of 1.66:1. This new digital film-to-tape transfer was created from a new 35mm composite print.”

    It is copywrited 1995 The Voyager Company.

    When I find the time I will transfer both to DVD and then post some screen shots. It might be some time though.

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