Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Tokyo monogatari" or "Tokyo Story")

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/ozu.htm
Japan 1953

 

 

Criterion Blu-ray compared to two other Blu-rays HERE

 

Yasujiro Ozu's most widely distributed and best-known film presents the story of an elderly couple in post World War II Japan who come to Tokyo to visit their various children and realise that the family has essentially fallen apart. The couple is received coldly by their two modernized children and only their widowed daughter-in-law seems glad to see them. The children shuttle their aging parents off to a health spa in an attempt to get them out of the way. They learn later that the mother has fallen ill upon her return and arrive too late to say their good-byes.

 

****

 

2003 marked the 100 year anniversary of the birth of Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu who died of cancer in 1963. Film fans around the world were treated to theatrical retrospectives of his major works. Critics note "Tokyo Story" as his masterwork achievement, and rightly so. 

 

****


What I personally noted about this film was Ozu's style of the 180 degree cuts when there is conversation. Unlike modern cinema pans and multiple cameras and angles, I found the flow of these dialogues took some getting used to. I can only assume these are "cuts" - individual takes which shows immense effort and choreography. I can appreciate his use of them for "allowing each character to impart his/her lines with adequate importance" without distraction - akin to not "cutting a person off" in mid-conversation. In repeat viewings although I was aware of this convention, it was far less noticeable to me. This type of strict adherence to a particular style is so wonderful to see. It signifies to me that the director was not influenced to manipulate his vision as we see so often in cinema today. This was Ozu's trademark and it works for the most important evaluation of any work of art - longevity. This film sits proudly in my collection - one I can revisit repeatedly for the rest of my life. out of

Gary W. Tooze

 Poster and Script Book

Theatrical Release: November 3rd, 1953 - Japan

Reviews                             More Reviews                         DVD Reviews  

 Comparison:

Tartan Region 2- PAL vs. Criterion -  Region 1 - NTSC vs. Oasis - Region 0 - NTSC vs. BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Shochiku - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Criterion Blu-ray compared to two other Blu-rays HERE

Big thanks to Pavel and Henrik Sylow for the Oasis captures!

1) Tartan - Region 2 - PAL  LEFT

2) Criterion -  Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) Oasis - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) BFI Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Shochiku Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

Thinking of buying from YesAsia? CLICK HERE and use THIS UPDATED BEAVER PAGE to source their very best...

 

Distribution

Tartan

Region 0 - PAL

Criterion Collection Spine # 217 - Region 1 - NTSC Oasis (Korea)
Region 0 - NTSC

BFI

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Shochiku

Region FREE - Blu-ray

Runtime

2:16:00 (taken from NTSC source)

2:15:56   2:16:08 2:15:53.145 2:16:46.406
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.79 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.12 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.4 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 - 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 37,801,791,143 bytes

Feature: 37,697,015,808 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1.33:1 - 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,207,132,778 bytes

Feature: 44,856,293,376 bytes

Video Bitrate: 37.98 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:

Tartan

 

 

Bitrate:

Criterion

 

Bitrate:

 

Oasis

 

Bitrate: BFI

 

Blu-ray

 

Bitrate: Shochiku

 

Blu-ray

 

Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital Japanese Japanese (Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono) 

Japanese (Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono) 

LPCM Audio Japanese 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit LPCM Audio Japanese 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
LPCM Audio Japanese 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Subtitles English, None English, None English, Korean and none English, None English, Japanese, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Tartan

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Trailer (4:14)
• Photo Gallery

DVD Release Date: December 6th, 2004

Transparent Keep Case (inbox with rest of  The Noriko Trilogy)
Chapters:  22

 

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion / Home Vision

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

Disc one:

  • Newly restored digital transfer of film with improved subtitle translation
  • Audio commentary by Ozu-scholar David Desser, editor of Ozu's Tokyo Story
  • Original trailer

Disc two:

  • I Lived, but...(1983), a two-hour documentary about the life and career of Ozu
  • Talking with Ozu: a 30-minute tribute to Yasujiro Ozu, featuring directors Stanley Kwan, Aki Kurasmaki, Claire Denis, Lindsay Anderson, Paul Schrader, Wim Wenders, and Hsiao-Hsien
  • New essay by David Bordwell, author of Ozu and the Poetics of Cinema
  • Number of discs: 2

DVD Release Date: October 28, 2003
Keep Case
Chapters: 27

Release Information:
Studio: Oasis (Korea)

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Theatrical Trailer

DVD Release Date: October 28, 2003

Keep Case
Chapters: 27

Release Information:
Studio: BFI

 

1.33:1 - 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 37,801,791,143 bytes

Feature: 37,697,015,808 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• Extensive illustrated booklet featuring essays and film notes

Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family (DVD only)

 

Blu-ray Release Date: June 21st, 2010
Custom Blu-ray Case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio:
Shochiku

 

1.33:1 - 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,207,132,778 bytes

Feature: 44,856,293,376 bytes

Video Bitrate: 37.98 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• 
Commentary (Japanese only)

• 2 Trailers

• 106-page booklet (Japanese only)

 

Blu-ray Release Date: July 6th, 2013
Transparent Blu-ray Case inside thick slipcase with book

Chapters 17

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Criterion Blu-ray compared to two other Blu-rays HERE

ADDITION: Shochiku - Region FREE  Blu-ray - July 2013: Good friend, MW, who alerted me to this Shochiku Blu-ray says: "And it is quite stunning! The best it has looked on Video-- ever!
It has been almost 60 years since I saw an original print at UCLA, so I cannot rely on my memory as to how accurately it resembles that print, but it certainly isn't the dupey versions that have existed since the original release. And it is better than any other restoration I have seen. By far.

It is truly a restoration. The image is rock steady (it wove a lot in every version I've seen both on video and on the screen) and the contrast is right. (By my recollection -- remember this is after 60 years -- the image is a little bit darker than I remember. But is not a heavy image. )

The Audio track is very clean. And as far as I can tell it is region free.

There are a bunch of title cards on the end of the film, in Japanese, which seem to be about the restoration. All my Japanese neighbors have moved on, so it may be a while before I can recruit someone to translate.

At any rate, this is as close to a rave as I know how to write. And the subtitles are based on the original subtitle set which captured the emotional range of the film better than any other set I have seen.
"

Yes, in DVDBeaver-ville we feel comparative analysis is the best judge and this new Shochiku restoration is radically different from the BFI 1080P - which now looks brittle and thin beside the Japanese transfer. The Shochiku leans to a light sepia/tan/grey contrast (which may very well be more accurate!) where the BFI is more 'black and white' but it appears unnaturally boosted at times next to the restoration. The damage present on the region 'B' rendering is, incredibly, almost totally irradiated on the Shochiku. If you toggle back and forth between the large click-able screen grabs you can see that one of these is out of ratio. It could be a little of both but to my eye it looks like the British edition is more irregular with some vertical stretching. Technically the Shochiku is slightly more robust. I watched both, toggling back and forth on two Blu-ray players and the region FREE Shochiku is vastly superior in the image. It may also get a notch ahead in the audio - which sounds very clear and even. It offers both optional English or Japanese subtitles. Extras seem to include a Japanese language commentary, two trailers and the package has an extensive book with photos and posters (some in color) - see photo below. I was floored by the presentation and the fact it is region FREE should make it desirable for many. One of the greatest films of all time - in a definitive Blu-ray transfer!

***

ADDITION: BFI Dual-format package - July 2010: There are less scratches than Late Spring but I just don't feel this source has equivalent density. Regardless, once again Criterion supplied the graded master materials, however BFI did their own A/V transfer/restoration. Damage should therefore be duplicated with that region 1 DVD. The Criterion was done way back in 2003 - before they enacted the letterboxing policy. Detail is one of the areas that the new 1080P transfer notably improves over all the DVDs. It is tighter and has better contrast - overall the image presentation is much better in motion. This is dual-layered with a high bitrate. While there is not much depth - the Criterion (best of the DVDs) looks flatter by comparison.

BFI have the Japanese soundtrack in a lossless linear PCM 2.0 at 2304 kbps. It does sound cleaner and crisper to my ears.  I should note that I prefer the BFI subtitle font size to any of the others.

Extras have a separate DVD sharing both Tokyo Story and Ozu's The Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family reviewed HERE. It comes with a liner notes booklet with an essay by Professor Joan Mellen and Ozu biographer Tony Rayns.

An easy purchase to own what is often regarded as Ozu's greatest film in the best possible digital presentation. In repeat viewings it remains emotionally shattering. Absolutely recommended!

***

ADDITION - Tartan (Dec -04) - Tartan are using the more economical route to sell these DVDs. For the price of 1 1/2 of the Stellar Criterions, you can have three Ozu films. The image is undeniably weaker using the NTSC masters and not converting to PAL. The rest of the Noriko Trilogy (also includes Early Summer and Late Spring) is the same but an improvement over the Panorama editions. We have also compared now and they are, but still fall short for the more expensive and extra-laden Criterions. Stick with your Criterions folks, these Tartans were done on the cheap, and it shows!

Gary Tooze

The Tartan image is slightly cropped, aprx 1% right, versus Criterion, suggesting different source, not overscan. The Tartan, based upon the restored Shochiku masters, is basically spotless, but soft and dark, especially details in long shots are obscured by the soft image. The Criterion image is almost the exact opposite, lots of contrast, lots of details, but also lots of cracks and dirt. If I were to chose based on this alone, by vote would go to Tartan, because the Criterion, while most detailed, simply is below their usual standard and of poor quality. Compare Criterion “Tokyo Story” vs. “Early Summer” and you see the difference.

But sadly, Tartan’s presentation notes on production blunders and a messy production. Originally the first box was to contain “Late Spring”, “The Flavour of Green Tea over Rice” and “Tokyo Story”, but was late autumn changed to the Noriko Trilogy, replacing Green Tea with “Early Summer”. Fair enough, this happens a lot, press releases are only notes, so lets move on to the real problems.

The first and major blunder is a NTSC to PAL transfer. One thing is that Shochiku only makes NTSC masters and really push the envelope when negotiating rights, but Tartan could for instance have chosen to have released the set as Region 0 NTSC instead, rather than PAL. This causes ghosting, most of the time not noticeable at all, unless one goes forward with single frame, but once its in your head, you notice it. This is a critical element and thus Criterion gets away with the better picture, as I have to compare.

The minor blunder is that the box notes on commentaries not present. While due to conflicting deadlines, it is still an element, where Tartan has to excuse.

When one releases something as central in film history as the “Noriko Trilogy”, everyone's eyes targets it, and people will be more critical than usual, because of the legacy of the films. As such, the production simply has too many excuses to be acceptable. Granted, we critics often take a production for granted, never realizing the problems involved, and they probably had a deadline for Christmas sales and some boss said no to postponing it, but there are too many hiccups production wise here, too many excuses, and regardless of a, what I personally think is, beautiful image and presentation, this is too flawed a product.

Henrik Sylow

***

Not much needs to be said here - again we have a question s to whether Criterion "sold" the rights and image to a Korean company or they simply bootlegged. The image quality is poorer on the Oasis with excessive contrast boosting. They have the same menus. It has AWFUL yellow subtitles and virtually no extras. I hate seeing things like this, but I guess it is a factor of $'s. Buy the Criterion!  

 - Gary W. Tooze

 


Shochiku Blu-ray Package

 

 

Menus

(Tartan - Region 2 - PAL  LEFT vs. Criterion -  Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT vs. Oasis - Region 0 - NTSC - copy of the Criterion menus)


 

 

BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

Shochiku - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Tartan - Region 2 - PAL  TOP

2) Criterion -  Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) Oasis - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) BFI Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Shochiku Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 



1) Tartan - Region 2 - PAL  TOP

2) Criterion -  Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) Oasis - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) BFI Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Shochiku Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Tartan - Region 2 - PAL  TOP

2) Criterion -  Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) Oasis - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) BFI Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Shochiku Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Tartan - Region 2 - PAL  TOP

2) Criterion -  Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) Oasis - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) BFI Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Shochiku Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Tartan - Region 2 - PAL  TOP

2) Criterion -  Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) Oasis - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) BFI Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Shochiku Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Tartan - Region 2 - PAL  TOP

2) Criterion -  Region 1 - NTSC SECOND

3) Oasis - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) BFI Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Shochiku Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray captures

1) BFI Region 'B' - Blu-ray   TOP

2) Shochiku Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) BFI Region 'B' - Blu-ray   TOP

2) Shochiku Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) BFI Region 'B' - Blu-ray   TOP

2) Shochiku Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) BFI Region 'B' - Blu-ray   TOP

2) Shochiku Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) BFI Region 'B' - Blu-ray   TOP

2) Shochiku Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


Recommended Reading in Japanese Cinema (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

Ozu and the Poetics of Cinema
by David Bordwell

Eros Plus Massacre: An Introduction to the Japanese New Wave Cinema (Midland Book, Mb 469)
by David Desser

Transcendental Style in Film : Ozu, Bresson, Dreyer
by Paul Schrader

Tokyo Story

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

Ozu by Donald Ritchie

A Hundred Years of Japanese Film by Donald Richie

Check out more in "The Library"


Box Covers

 

Thinking of buying from YesAsia? CLICK HERE and use THIS UPDATED BEAVER PAGE to source their very best...

 

Distribution

Tartan

Region 0 - PAL

Criterion Collection Spine # 217 - Region 1 - NTSC Oasis (Korea)
Region 0 - NTSC

BFI

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Shochiku

Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


Hit Counter


Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-rays

Sound:

Blu-rays

Extras: Criterion



 


 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...