Welcome to Akira Kurosawa info!  Log in

Criterion swaps your old DVDs for Blu-Ray releases

Criterion logoWith Blu-ray having won the “high definition format war” last spring, and Criterion now finally starting to put out their Blu-ray releases, there has been discussion whether it makes any sense to buy the current Kurosawa DVD releases from the company. After all, it seems fairly obvious that Criterion will sooner or later release these films as superior Blu-ray discs.

For those suffering sleepless nights over this issue, there is now something of a remedy available. This comes in the form of Criterion’s FAQ, for an answer to a recent question added to the list notes that they are now running what they call the “Blu-ray upgrade program”. In short, you can swap your old DVD release with a new Blu-ray release by sending in the disc and 20 US dollars (plus tax and shipping). They will then send you the Blu-ray disc. You won’t get the Blu-ray packaging, but this should not be an issue since the packaging for releases will be identical.

Note, however, that the program is only available for those in North America. And, of course, that no Kurosawa release on Blu-ray has yet been announced.

For more information about Criterion’s Blu-ray upgrade program, see their FAQ, more specifically the question Why should I buy regular DVDs when I don’t know if Criterion will release a Blu-ray version six months from now? and the questions that follow it.




Jeremy Quintanilla

While it largely done to protect Criterion’s sales, it’s still are rather nice gesture. Criterion more or less is admitting a Hi-Def version to a old film is not all that great, but for the sake of future proofing, here’s a upgrade for cheap.

What is a surprise, is they claim to have the rights for most of their movies to do Blu-ray editions, however they still warn you only movies they deem will be successful on Blu-Ray are to be done.

Leads me to believe not to expect any Kurosawa Blu-rays or any older movies on Blu-ray for a long time.
I get the feeling they will deal with movies that can take full advantage of a Hi-Def format- I’d say movies done on high grade film during the late 70s at the earliest. Not to say some older movies couldn’t benefit.

Never-the-less another great reason to love the folks at Criterion. 😆



Ah, you know, Jeremy, there was some earlier discussion on the Criterion site about upgrades for high-def, but back when I read the posting, it seemed as if those of us with big libraries would be outta luck.
This is good news, indeed! Dontcha think that Seven Samurai at least, might get a blu-ray update? After all, it’s another $20 for Criterion, and many of us are geeky enough…I already have two Criterion versions of it! I could trade in the older version!


Jeremy Quintanilla

Well, to my knowledge the latest Seven Samurai, sold really well. I would think, if we were to see any Blu-ray Kurosawa, it would that movie.

I have no clue, what their plans are, just I would guess if you’re going to have to pay rights for Blu-ray, it would make sense to do so on films that can take advantage of the work. I’m quite sure most films will in time be Blu-ray, just for now, it seems in their wording, they are looking at only specific films-those I would assume more modern classics.

I think this upgrade plan is really neat, but I rather like having different editions of the same movie, I would likely just buy the Blu-ray version, and keep the old ones. The exception would be a handful of movies, I really like, but no real interest in the director, those I would upgrade.

Kurosawa, I just like have everything.



Ok, gotcha Jeremy. I guess I actually feel similarly, if push comes to shove I probably couldn’t give up any copies of my favorite dvd’s. Even my Bo-Ying copies have some sentimental value.

Check this out:
Two prewar (Osaka Elegy, Sisters of the Gion), two postwar (Women of the Night, Street of Shame) classics from Mizoguchi now are available on Criterion’s Eclipse series as a boxed set. They are taking pre-orders now. I am sorely tempted! http://www.criterion.com/asp/boxed_set.asp?id=2001300


martin chan

Please, consider some Kurosawa films for blu-ray release!

I have seen some spectacular transfers on the now defunct
Kung-Fu Channel HD (VOOM/Dishnetwork) and am drooling
at the opportunity to get my hands on some blu-ray versions.

Best Regards, -mc



20 dollars to upgrade? Man, that seems pretty damn steep considering most people have already spent around 40 bucks for the DVD editions in the first place and what with Criterion supposedly “taking price out of the equation” with equal pricing for DVD and blu-ray. This smells like a rip off to me. For that much I want a new case too, otherwise I think I’ll just download an HD rip and stick with the DVD edition I already paid 40 bloody dollars for.

5-10 bucks for an upgrade would be more in line and less of a case of raping the fans so to speak.


Vili Maunula

Thanks for your comment, Sweetooth0. A 20 dollar swap actually sounds pretty ok to me, if the alternative is paying the full price for a new Blu-ray and ending up with two copies taking space on my shelf. You must remember that Blu-rays are also typically somewhat more expensive to manufacture than DVDs because of higher licensing fees, and obviously Criterion will also need to pay for the people and equipment that handle the swap.

But as it’s money we are talking about, it’s of course highly relative. How much you are ready to pay depends on how much cash you have and how much you value the product, and so on. I’m sure that the people responsible for pricing at Criterion have researched this and come up with the answer that 20 dollars per disc is more or less the best option for their business.



October 19…Seven Samurai! Whooohoo!

Leave a comment

Log in or to post a comment!