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The Idiot

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    Master Thief

    I have 3 versions of this film. A region 2 release from Masters of Cinema, a region 4 release from Madman and a region 3 release from Shochiku.

    I have posted some screen shots of all 3 here.

    For my eyes on my PC screen, the Shochiku appears best in most scenes. In the second set of stills, it appears to be less cropped with the feet on the wall on the left fully visible and more of Mifune’s shoulder on the right. The sub-titles appear to be very similar on all three.

    I will reserve final judgment until I have compared them more fully on a television screen.

    But for now my money is on the Shochiku as the one to have to watch. The Masters of Cinema is the winner for packaging and extras.

    I Googled upon the Shochiku for sale in the Adult video section of CD Universe of all places. Don’t know how it ended up classified amongst the porn!


    Master Thief

    Here is where you can buy the Shochiku.

    Don’t worry, it arrives in a plain brown envelope!



    Hmm. Based on the screenshots you posted, I would still go with Masters of Cinema.

    Some fairly interesting places The Idiot turns up in! 😀


    Master Thief

    The Idiot was a Shochiku production so you would hope they have the best available sources. There is no indication (in English) on the DVD of the year it was released. However it is a single layer disc and has a small black border on both sides

    The Master of Cinema was released in 2005 and is a double layer disc. The booklet with it states:

    “All efforts have been made to use the best currently available source material. Shochiku provided us with an HD master from the best surviving film elements. Unfortunately, the negatives of Japanese films from this era were often overused for the process of striking new prints. Where negatives do still exist, they are often in poor shape.

    Various audio and visual problems including noise, interference, synchronization, and dirt have been addressed to increase viewing pleasure. nevertheless, some defects were impossible to remove.”

    Shochiku also produced Scandal (1951) and Rhapsody in August (1991) and both are listed on their website as available on DVD.

    I will post further on which Idiot I prefer after watching them on my television set. Just need to find a few free hours.


    Master Thief

    Having watched the first 10 minutes of all 3 versions over lunch, I have to conclude that the Masters of Cinema is the best of the 3. The Madman is not far behind. The Shochiku has significant amounts of dirt on the print which is very disappointing given it is their production.

    From the Alex Cox documentary on the Masters of Cinema release I have learned that when Kurosawa returned to Shochiku to make Rhapsody in August, he personally searched the Shochiku vaults for the missing 100 minutes they cut from the original film. Needless to say he didn’t find it. We live in hope it will be found one day.



    Thanks Master Thief for all the info



    Indeed, a great service you are providing us, Master Thief!

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