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Question about Boying DVDs

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    Jon Hooper

    Hi all,

    A couple of questions about Boying DVDs.

    First, can anyone tell me if the Boying versions of No Regrets for our Youth and One Wonderful Sunday (available on ebay) are the same as the old Mei Ah versions.

    Second, and this follows on from the first question, if they are not the same versions, can anyone tell me precisely how good (or bad) the subtitles are.

    I’m trying to decide whether it will be worth my while getting the forthcoming Criterion Postwar Kurosawa set. Since all the films included with the exception of the above two are available on Region 2 DVD, my decision will be based on the quality of the subtitles in the Boying versions. I am no connoisseur when it comes to having the best picture quality (watchable is fine) but I do want subtitles that in some way resemble intelligible English, something the old Mei Ah DVDs certainly did not have.

    Appreciate any help you can offer,

    Jon

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    Jeremy

    I assume your referring to Bo-Ying DVDs, a cheap Chinese DVD company whose translation would be on the same level of Mei Ah’s at best, if they are the exact same as Mei Ah’s I couldn’t tell you for sure although I do believe they are.

    If translation accuracy is important, then you should avoid anything coming from China, as its merely word for word dictionary translation which in the case of many languages doesn’t turn out too well.

    However their cheap price gives them some consideration, the translation although poor, are often enough to convey the message, just keep in mind most of the impact of the dialog is lost, especially in some movies where what and how the speech is said is important.

    Personally when all possible I dont consider anything else other then Criterion, the value thats added to the movie, from their hard work more then justifies their higher cost.

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    Jon Hooper

    Disappointing if true, and yet the DVD reviews on this very site suggest that Boying (or indeed Bo-Ying) have done a better job with the translation. I quote:

    “Those preferring a region-free release may also consider a release by Boying. The picture and sound quality is not brilliant, but at least the subtitles are (almost) real English, and not something you get with Mei Ah.”

    (This from the section on Scandal).

    If, as you say, Bo-Ying’s efforts are “on the same level of Mei Ah’s” at best, then I shudder to think what they might be at their worst. I have a couple of Mei Ah DVDs and they are simply horrible.

    I, too, generally go for the Criterion. However, as I indicated above three of the films on the Postwar Kurosawa box set have been available on Region 2 DVD for some time, and it’s difficult for me to justify buying the set just for the two rare movies.

    By the way, I’ve noticed that on ebay searches the DVDs that carry the Boying label have covers that are suspiciously similar to the old Mei Ah ones. Is there anyone who has seen No Regrets… or OWS on Bo-Ying?

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    Vili Maunula

    The quality of both Mei Ah and Boying vary. Boying’s “Scandal” is bearable (although not perfect), and some say that the now totally unavailable Mei Ah’s Dodesukaden actually has good English subtitles.

    It has always been a bit of a mystery to me what Boying (Bo Ying) actually is. At least some of their releases seem to be exact copies of Mei Ah’s DVDs. Neither do I really know what the legal status of either company’s catalogue is outside of China.

    Personally, I would avoid both companies unless there are no other options available. On the other hand, their DVDs are so cheap on eBay that it doesn’t cost all that much to get them in case you are interested. Like Jeremy I would, however, rather get the Criterion box set.

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    BMWRider

    Vili Maunula wrote 6 hours earlier  » 

    The quality of both Mei Ah and Boying vary. Boying’s “Scandal” is bearable (although not perfect), and some say that the now totally unavailable Mei Ah’s Dodesukaden actually has good English subtitles.

    I have the Mei Ah Dodeskaden and the subtitles are head and shoulders above their older stuff. I also accidentally purchased their version of Madadyo and found the same to be true. I am looking forward to replacing my Boying versions of No Regrets and One Wonderful Sunday with the Criterion versions, there is no way these will not be superior in every way. I realize Eclipse is a “budget” operation, but my other Eclipse purchases are very well done.

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    Jon Hooper

    BMW Rider, it seems that you could answer my question about No Regrets and One Wonderful Sunday. Would you care to be specific about the quality of the subtitles? I’d appreciate it because I’d rather avoid paying the fifty or sixty dollars for the whole Criterion set, at least at this time. Thanks for the tips about Dodeskaden, I haven’t seen it and I’ve been waiting for a decent version, having sworn off the Mei Ah.

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    Vili Maunula

    Dodesukaden is something of a Holy Grail of Kurosawa DVDs. It’s practically unavailable, or at least was the last time I checked.

    Unless you know French, of course, in which case you can go with the very fine French edition of the film.

    I think a Danish and a Finnish release are also available. But at least the Finnish DVD is of sub-standard quality and has no English subtitles, of course. There are probably others floating around as well.

    I by the way totally understand your budget concerns, Sanjuro. Criterion discs are — let’s face it — expensive (even if worth their money), and when you add to that postage and possible import taxes, you really end up paying quite a bit.

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    BMWRider

    Sanjuro,

    I think what I will do when I get the Eclipse versions is watch No Regrets and One Wonderful Sunday first, and let you know how much better they are then the Chinese versions. I find both of these films to be putrid in their Chinese release. It starts with the character’s names which are Chinese, the dialog is poorly translated and hard to follow, it almost looks like they used BabelFish to translate from Japanese to English. I would rather have the Chinese versions over nothing, but barely. I cannot wait until Eclipse releases the Kurosawa wartime films as well. These are in even more need of help. Be patient with me and in the new year I will give a full report.

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    Jon Hooper

    Thanks, BMW Rider, for the offer of a more detailed comparison. However, if the dialogue is remotely as bad as you describe I think we are back in Mei Ah territory once again, and a more in-depth report will not be necessary. I’ve been meaning to sell off (or perhaps throw away) my old Mei Ah discs and I certainly don’t want anything of the same ilk clogging up the shelves. My dilemma now is whether to buy the Region 1 set for the abovementioned two movies or wait for decent region 2 releases. Somehow I think the wait will be a long one.

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    Vili Maunula

    There have been rumours that BFI might be considering releasing a set of older Kurosawa titles, but those are still just rumours. I’m sure something English-friendly will be released in R2 at some point, but how long a wait that will be is another question.

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    Fabien

    It will probably not be very useful but I bought some weeks ago the BoYing edition of The Men Who Tread On The Tiger’s Tail and, though I was happy to discover that movie at last, the english subtitles seemed to me sometimes comical.

    As for your dilemma, Sanjuro, if I were you, I would wait for the second half of january to see whether some Criterion boxes appear on eBay.

    Recently, I bought the Samuel Fuller Eclipse Criterion set this way, from a londonian folk, for a fair price and a negligible shipping cost (well, cheaper than from US, for sure).

    (And about this one, I realized – like BMWRider, it seems – that the Eclipse collection was not a high-end one, contrarily to my beliefs, although I am very satisfied with this set.)

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    Lewis Saul

    BMW Rider>>>have the Mei Ah Dodeskaden and the subtitles are head and shoulders above their older stuff.

    Here’s where I stand with Dodesukaden:

    In 1999, I stumbled across a Kurosawa marathon on Turner Classic Movies and stayed up for 14 hours sticking a new VHS tape in my machine every two hours.

    Months later, I was thrilled to realize that my dub of this film was the ONLY way I would be able to see it…

    Months after that, I found the Mei Ah DVD.

    Now while it may be true that the subtitles are marginally better than TMB or Sug.II — compared to the TCM version, they are horrible!

    The mysterious question:

    Where did this TCM version come from? The subs were Criterion-quality (I’m not fluent, but I could certainly tell the difference between these and the Mei Ah).

    I’m hoping someone knows. There is no excuse why this film hasn’t been given a proper release. Any Criterion experts know?

    Lewis Saul

    http://www.lewissaul.blogspot.com

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    BMWRider

    Lewis,

    There was a Criterion version of Dodesukaden released, on Laserdisc. There must be something with the rights that has not allowed it to be released on DVD. It is possible you saw a print of that Criterion on TCM. Also, there are 35 mm prints out there that were produced for the American market, they are shown at film festivals from time to time. So there are much better quality dubs out there. I also am sure it was released on VHS years ago with proper subs.

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    Vili Maunula

    TCM also does some in-house translation. My significant other is actually currently contemplating on whether she’d like to work for the local TCM in Hungary to translate a whole bunch of films.

    But it is of course also possible that they licensed the Criterion or the VHS subs.

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