January 7 quietly saw the All Regions DVD release of Rashomon by a company called Triad Productions.
Based on the item description on the Amazon website, according to which the “product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media”, I assume (but may be mistaken) that the release is a small scale operation that makes on-demand prints of the film from copies that are considered to be in public domain. Again, this may be just my interpretation of things, but also the DVD cover (pictured here) would suggest a less comprehensive and professional (by which I mean a less “Criterion-like”) release.
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Perhaps a more interesting Rashomon release could be the Optimum Home Entertainment‘s Region 2 attempt on the movie, which will be out in the UK on February 25 (or March 24, according to Amazon).
Optimum has in the past put out very solid transfers (which also include one Kurosawa: Ran), even if the releases have perhaps lacked the quantity of extras that other houses like Criterion are known for. It is of course difficult to judge at this point what their Rashomon will be like, but if these images are anything to go by (and I am not sure if they are actual screenshots of the release), the image quality seems ok, although not fully remastered.
In the end, all we can do is wait until the release date, with the main question of course being whether the release tops the relatively poor BFI release that is currently the best English friendly Region 2 option available — and when I write poor, I mean when compared to the Criterion release, which in itself is not quite as good as Criterion’s recent standard.
For more in formation about the availability of Rashomon, see the sections on Kurosawa DVDs and Kurosawa Blu-rays.