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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'Kagemusha (The Shadow Warrior)" or "Kagemusha the Shadow Warrior" or "Shadow Warrior" or "The Double')

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/kurosawa.htm
Japan 1980

 

In his late color masterpiece Kagemusha (The Shadow Warrior), director Akira Kurosawa returned to the samurai film and to a primary theme of his celebrated career—the play between illusion and reality. Sumptuously reconstructing the splendor of feudal Japan and the pageantry of war, Kurosawa creates a soaring historical epic that is also a somber meditation on the nature of power.

***

When a warlord dies, a peasant thief is called upon to impersonate him, and then finds himself haunted by the warlord’s spirit as well as his own ambitions. In his late, color masterpiece Kagemusha, Akira Kurosawa returns to the samurai film and to a primary theme of his career—the play between illusion and reality. Sumptuously reconstructing the splendor of feudal Japan and the pageantry of war, Kurosawa creates a historical epic that is also a meditation on the nature of power.

Posters

Theatrical Release: April 26th, 1980 - Japan

Reviews         More Reviews         DVD Reviews

Big thanks to Jacek Macias for the DVD screen captures !

Comparison:

Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT
Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

DVD Box Cover

   

Coming out on Blu-ray in 2014 from 20th Century Fox:

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 267 - Region 1 - NTSC Criterion Collection - Spine # 267
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray
Runtime 3:00:23  3:00:36.867
Video 1.81:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: unknown mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,708,896,608 bytes

Feature: 34,499,653,632 bytes

Video Bitrate: 21.27 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Bitrate Blu-ray
Audio Japanese (Dolby Digital 4.0)  DTS-HD Master Audio Japanese 2586 kbps 4.0 / 48 kHz / 2586 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 4.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz /
192 kbps / Dolby Surround
Subtitles English, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.81:1

Edition Details:

• Audio commentary by Kurosawa scholar Stephen Prince (The Warrior’s Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa)
• A 40-minute documentary on the making of Kagemusha, part of the Toho Masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create
• Helping a Master: Coppola, Lucas, and Kagemusha, new video interviews with executive producers Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas
• mage: Kurosawa’s Continuity, a new video piece that reconstructs Kagemusha through Kurosawa’s paintings and sketches
• A booklet featuring new essays by scholars Darrell Davis and Peter Grilli and biographical sketches by Japanese film historian Donald Richie
 

DVD Release Date: March 29th, 2005
Keep Case
Chapters: 32

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,708,896,608 bytes

Feature: 34,499,653,632 bytes

Video Bitrate: 21.27 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:

• Audio commentary by Kurosawa scholar Stephen Prince (The Warrior’s Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa)
• A 40-minute documentary on the making of Kagemusha, part of the Toho Masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create (41:01 in HD!)
• Helping a Master: Coppola, Lucas, and Kagemusha, new video interviews with executive producers Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas  (19:21 in HD!)
• Image: Kurosawa’s Continuity, a new video piece that reconstructs Kagemusha through Kurosawa’s paintings and sketches (43:44 in HD!)
• 36-page booklet featuring new essays by scholars Darrell Davis and Peter Grilli
 

Blu-ray Release Date: August 18th, 2009
Thicker, transparent
Blu-ray case
Chapters
32
 

 

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

Addition: Criterion Blu-ray - July 09': Probably the most telling pair of captures are the second set below with the resting men in their battle dress. The DVD is less capable of resolving the color red and it tends to look more orange than on the Blu-ray. It's quite possible that the DVD was boosted as images that include the sun, fire or the rainbow effect tend to look unnaturally brighter compared to the 1080P transfer. The Blu-ray shows both more detail (compare any item in the background of both captures) infused with abundant, and even, grain. While we endorsed the initial DVD it is apparent that the Blu-ray is much tighter - appearing far more film-like (and less like video). I'd say in this release - colors are the most prominent standout in differences between the two. The 3-hour film transfer was straining on 9 Gig but the hi-def, dual-layered, rendering has the feature filling almost 35 Gig. BIG difference.  

 



 

Criterion have kept the 4-channel audio but bumped it to a DTS-HD Master at 2586 kbps. It's pretty sweet - it seems to have much more depth that the older DVD track. The range exhibits a different set of parameters than your typical 5.1 but in general is quite flawless in a lossless rendering. Well, I had no complaints and could certainly hear and improvement on my system. Of course, Criterion supply excellent optional English subtitles for both editions. My Momitsu informs me that this, like all Criterion Blu-rays to date, is region-locked to 'A'.

 

Supplements are exactly duplicated from the DVD with the exception of video material being in 1080P in this new edition and on only one disc. Stephen Prince ('go-to guy' for a few other Kurosawa title discussions or liner notes - see RAN, Yojimbo, Seven Samurai, Rashomom, Ikiru and Red Beard) does his scholarly best but revisiting this after so many years I found that it can be a bit dry or, perhaps, rather more academic than some may appreciate. Although I don't always concur with his summations I don't think anyone can fault his professionalism or the breadth of detail he relates. We get some other goodies that Kurosawa fans should genuinely appreciate - first off a 40-minute documentary on the making of Kagemusha, part of the Toho Masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create. I enjoyed the 20-minute Helping a Master: Coppola, Lucas, and Kagemusha; video interviews with executive producers Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas . Image: Kurosawa’s Continuity, is a 44-minute video piece that reconstructs Kagemusha through Kurosawa’s beautiful paintings and sketches. Lastly we also get a 36-page booklet featuring essays by scholars Darrell Davis and Peter Grilli (but lose Donald Richie's biographical sketches! on the Blu-ray package).

 

Criterion's original DVD of Kagemusha was one of their most anticipated and lauded at the time of release over 4 years ago. I recall us all being quite excited to see it on the versatile disc format. Well, this Blu-ray should be, likewise, a talked-about event. It produces a highly memorable and impressive presentation for your home theater - one that lends itself to the kind of 'awe' one associates with the cinema of Kurosawa. Oh yes, Criterion's Blu-ray is strongly recommended! 

Gary W. Tooze

 


DVD Menus


 

Disc 2

 


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

 

Subtitle Sample

 

Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
BOTTOM

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
BOTTOM

 

 


Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
BOTTOM

 


Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
BOTTOM

 


Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
BOTTOM

 


Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
BOTTOM

 


Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
BOTTOM

 


More Blu-ray Captures

 


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

 

Check out more in "The Library"


DVD Box Cover

   

Coming out on Blu-ray in 2014 from 20th Century Fox:

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 267 - Region 1 - NTSC Criterion Collection - Spine # 267
Region 'A' -
Blu-ray

 




 

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Gary Tooze

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