(aka "Akahige" or "Red Beard")

 

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/kurosawa.htm
Japan 1965

 

A testament to the goodness of humankind, Akira Kurosawa’s Red Beard (Akahige) chronicles the tumultuous relationship between an arrogant young doctor, Noboru Yasumoto (Yuzo Kayama) and a compassionate clinic director. Toshiro Mifune, in his last role for Kurosawa, gives a powerhouse performance as the dignified yet empathic director who guides his pupil to maturity, teaching the embittered intern to appreciate the lives of his destitute patients. Perfectly capturing the look and feel of 19th-century Japan, Kurosawa weaves a fascinating tapestry of time, place, and emotion.

Posters

Theatrical Release: March 4th, 1965 - Japan

Reviews    More Reviews  DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

BFI - Region 2- PAL vs. Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC

Big Thanks to Charles Girdham for the BFI screen caps!

(BFI - Region 2 - PAL LEFT vs. Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

Distribution

BFI (British Film Institute)

Region 2- PAL

Mei Ah (Hong Kong)

Region 0  - NTSC

Criterion Collection Spine #159
Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 2:52:36 (4% PAL speedup) 1:29:36 + 1:30:36 = 3:01:12 3:05:06
Video

2.42:1 Slightly Cropped

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.34 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

2.49:1 Cropped
Average Bitrate: 4.30 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

2.30:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.29
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

BFI

 

Bitrate:

Mei Ah #1

Bitrate:

Mei Ah

Disc 2

Bitrate:

Criterion

 

Audio Japanese (Dolby Digital 5.0 Stereo) Japanese (Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono)

Japanese (Dolby Digital 4.0 Stereo)

Subtitles English, (non-removable) English, Chinese (Traditional), Chinese (Simplified) and none English, and none
Features Release Information:
Studio: BFI (British Film Institute)

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.42:1

Edition Details:
• Alex Cox video introduction (14:14) Dolby Digital 2.0
• Kurosawa biography (text + one photo)
• Mifune biography (text + one photo)
• Production Stills slideshow (1:40)
• Other Kurosawa films available from bfi

DVD Release Date: October 6th, 2003
Keep Case

Chapters 15

 

Release Information:
Studio: Mei Ah (HK)

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen  - 2.49:1

Edition Details:

• Cast Information

• Text Screens on Akira Kurosawa


DVD Release Date: October 2000
Blue Keep Case

Chapters 9+9 = 18

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion / Home Vision

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.30:1

Edition Details:
• New high-definition digital transfer, with restored image and sound and enhanced for widescreen televisions
• Audio commentary by Kurosawa film scholar Stephen Prince
• Notes by Japanese film historian Donald Richie
• Original theatrical trailer
• Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition

DVD Release Date: July 16th, 2002
Keep Case

Chapters 39

 

Comments:
ADDITIONAL INFO RE: BFI Release (Thanks Charles): 

To me the BFI release looks quite good. Perhaps slightly darker, but just as sharp as the magnificent Criterion. Charles tells me there is some print damage and speckling, but it is not intrusive. The BFI release has burnt in subs that suggest a different translation from the Criterion release. Although single lines appear outside the image area and double lines have one in and one on the image, they are 16X9 friendly. The BFI menu has a background loop of clips from the film with music from main theme with the option to play film with 5 min intervals. There is some very slight cropping in the BFI release, but I find it negligible. There are some short Extra features. Overall a very good release from BFI!

*****

Once again the Criterion is obviously superior in every way. The Mei Ah version is one of their better efforts probably the best Kurosawa from them that I have seen. The same can be said for the Criterion which may be their best Kurosawa DVD production. The biggest failing of the Mei Ah disc are the subtitles. Apparently the Japanese dialogue was translated into Chinese, then the Chinese translated into English - so there are flaws. Also the spelling is poor and the image is badly cropped on the top and bottom as well as contrast boosted. The Mei Ah is a DVD 10 - two sides/single layered.

The Criterion is a superb DVD. The film has barely a nick or scratch and has wonderful smooth contrast and shadow detail, often in a very muted, soft appearance while still maintaining sharpness. There is an appropriate intermission and the Extras include Donald Richie liner notes and commentary by Stephen Prince which goes into great detail about Kurosawa's visual technique. I'm very proud to own this one.

 - Gary W. Tooze


Recommended Reading for Japanese Film Fans (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

 

The Japan Journals : 1947-2004,

by  Donald Richie

The Midnight Eye Guide to New Japanese Film
by Tom Mes and Jasper Sharp

Kon Ichikawa (Cinematheque Ontario Monographs)

by James Quandt, Cinematheque Ontario

Shohei Imamura (Cinematheque Ontario Monographs, No. 1)
by James Quandt
Eros Plus Massacre: An Introduction to the Japanese New Wave Cinema (Midland Book, Mb 469)
by David Desser
The Films of Akira Kurosawa by Donald Ritchie

Tokyo Story

by Yasujiro Ozu, Kogo Noda, Donald Richie, Eric Klestadt

Ozu by Donald Richie

A Hundred Years of Japanese Film by Donald Richie

Check out more in "The Library"




DVD Menus


(BFI - Region 2 - PAL
LEFT vs. Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)


 


 

Subtitle Sample

(BFI - Region 2- PAL TOP vs. Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)


COMING SOON!

 


Screen Captures

(BFI - Region 2- PAL TOP vs. Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

NOTE: Damage on Mei Ah print

 

 


 

(BFI - Region 2- PAL TOP vs. Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(BFI - Region 2- PAL TOP vs. Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


 

(BFI - Region 2- PAL TOP vs. Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(BFI - Region 2- PAL TOP vs. Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


 

(BFI - Region 2- PAL TOP vs. Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


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Report Card:

Image:

Criterion

Sound:

Criterion

Extras: Criterion
Menu: Criterion

 


Recommended Reading for Kurosawa Fans (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

 

Check out more in "The Library"


DVD Box Covers

 

Distribution

BFI (British Film Institute)

Region 2- PAL

Mei Ah (Hong Kong)

Region 0  - NTSC

Criterion Collection Spine #159
Region 1 - NTSC

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Gary Tooze

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