Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r


(aka 'Kaidan" or "Ghost Stories" or "Ghost Story" or "Hoichi the Earless" or "Kwaidan" or "Weird Tales")

directed by Masaki Kobayashi
Japan 1964

Winner of the Special Jury Prize at Cannes, Kwaidan features four nightmarish tales adapted from Lafcadio Hearn's classic Japanese ghost stories. For this lavish, 'scope production, Kobayashi drew extensively on his own training as a student of painting and the fine arts. Indeed, the breadth of the film's poetic expression is unmatched in all of Japanese cinema: breathtakingly photographed on handpainted sets, the film is at once a miniature writ large, and an abstract wash of luminescent colors that seem to hail from another world. On the soundtrack, an electronic score by avant-garde composer Toru Takemitsu plays hauntingly with the natural sounds — crickets, rain, the cracking of wood, the loud silence of snow. This interaction of the film's plastic and aural textures with the simple, aching humanity of Hearn's tales serves to accentuate the power of the storytelling: four episodes about mortals caught up in forces beyond their comprehension — when the supernatural world intervenes in their lives. Perhaps the definitive adaptation of Hearn's work, Kwaidan also presents the author's most emblematic tale — "Hoichi, the Earless", in which a blind young monk journeys every night to an abandoned graveyard, compelled by the ghosts of a famous battle to retell their story, over and over again...

Starring Tatsuya Nakadai (Yojimbo, The Face of Another, Harakiri), this new Masters of Cinema complete print of Kwaidan — incorporating 21 minutes of footage never before released to Western audiences — also includes the uncut version of "The Snow Maiden", in which a woodcutter marries a woman whose true calling is to wander enveloped in swirling snowflakes, bringing death to mortals. The episode marks the apotheosis of the film's eerie atmosphere — anticipating, and arguably surpassing, Japanese cinema's recent excursions in the realm of "J-horror". Over forty years on, Kobayashi's film remains an unparalleled achievement.

Posters

Theatrical Release: December 24th, 1964 - Tokyo

Reviews    More Reviews    DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

AV Channel - Region 4 - PAL vs. Criterion - Region 1- NTSC vs. Eureka (Masters of Cinema # 29) - Region 2 - NTSC

(AV Channel - Region 4 - PAL LEFT vs. Criterion - Region 1- NTSC MIDDLE vs. Eureka (Masters of Cinema # 29) - Region 2 - NTSC RIGHT)

DVD Box Cover

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

 

 

Distribution AV Channel - (Madmen) Region 4 - PAL Criterion Collection - Spine # 90 - Region 1- NTSC Eureka - Masters of Cinema #29 - Region 2 - NTSC
Runtime 2:55:18 (4% PAL speedup) 2:41:15 3:03:22
Video 2.48:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.28 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s
2.28:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.25 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
2.48:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: ? mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
Audio Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Dolby) Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Dolby)  Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Dolby) 
Subtitles English, None English, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: AV Channel

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 2.48:1

Edition Details:

• Theatrical trailer (3:56)
• Production Gallery

• Madman Trailers

DVD Release Date: March 13th, 2006

Keep Case
Chapters: 7 + 7 + 10 + 4 = 28

 

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 2.28:1

Edition Details:

• Theatrical trailer (3:56)
• 6 page liner notes with photos 


DVD Release Date: October 10th, 2000

Keep Case
Chapters: 28

Release Information:
Studio: Eureka Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 2.48:1

Edition Details:

• Promotional material gallery

• 72-page illustrated book with reprints of Lafcadio Hearn's original ghost stories; a survey of the life and career of Masaki Kobayashi by Linda Hoaglund; and a wide-ranging interview with the filmmaker — the last he ever gave

DVD Release Date: May 22nd, 2006

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 28

 

 

Comments:

ADDITION: AV Channel - Region 4 - PAL - May 2006: The Australian release looks very good - the colors are very much on par with the Eureka confirming our suspicions of how far the Criterion has been manipulated. Good news is that it is also the long version, but bad news are the (awful) yellow subtitles and it has PAL speedup for those who are sensitive to it. The AV Channel is slightly less vibrant - marginally paler and it may be minutely sharper than the Eureka but it is negligible and I would still go for the Masters of Cinema edition for the superior subtitles and extras (72-page liner notes).  

 

***

 

ADDITION: Eureka - MoC (April 06'): As well as being two different films with the addition of the missing 20 odd minutes from the Criterion - the new Eureka DVD's colors are dramatically different at times. Pictures will speak louder than words here and the Criterion has had manipulations marring the original colors to a totally unique state. On top of that the Criterion is severely cropped on all edges... and, as already stated, is the shorter version. Masters of Cinema have proven themselves again and there really is no contest here. This is a film I ALWAYS wanted in a sterling transfer, and the complete edition - and now thanks to Eureka I can have it.

***

This is not Criterions best disc by a long shot. The anamorphic image has a thick border (not maximizing the available horizontal resolution), there are many instances of scratches running down the screen, I found the subtitles uncharacteristically bloated and if I am not mistaken there was mention to me of another Kwaidan version (Japanese?) that looked quite stunning in comparison. This film, unfortunately, relies heavily upon its glorious and often haunting and dark imagery - and you want as detailed a picture with superb black levels as possible. Now by any other DVD production companies standards this is not that bad, and lets take into account the DVD was made way back in 2000. The extras are only a trailer and some interesting liner notes about the film's history. All-in-all I would have expected better from Criterion.  out of    

Gary W. Tooze

 





DVD Menus

 

AV Channel - Region 4 - PAL

 



(Criterion - Region 1- NTSC LEFT vs. Eureka (Masters of Cinema # 29) - Region 2 - NTSC RIGHT)

 

Scene not present on the Criterion edition

 

(AV Channel - Region 4 - PAL TOP vs. Eureka (Masters of Cinema # 29) - Region 2 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 


Subtitle Sample

 

(AV Channel - Region 4- PAL TOP vs. Criterion - Region 1- NTSC MIDDLE vs. Eureka (Masters of Cinema # 29) - Region 2 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

(AV Channel - Region 4- PAL TOP vs. Criterion - Region 1- NTSC MIDDLE vs. Eureka (Masters of Cinema # 29) - Region 2 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


(AV Channel - Region 4- PAL TOP vs. Criterion - Region 1- NTSC MIDDLE vs. Eureka (Masters of Cinema # 29) - Region 2 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


(AV Channel - Region 4- PAL TOP vs. Criterion - Region 1- NTSC MIDDLE vs. Eureka (Masters of Cinema # 29) - Region 2 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


(AV Channel - Region 4- PAL TOP vs. Criterion - Region 1- NTSC MIDDLE vs. Eureka (Masters of Cinema # 29) - Region 2 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

 


(AV Channel - Region 4- PAL TOP vs. Criterion - Region 1- NTSC MIDDLE vs. Eureka (Masters of Cinema # 29) - Region 2 - NTSC BOTTOM)
 

 


(AV Channel - Region 4- PAL TOP vs. Criterion - Region 1- NTSC MIDDLE vs. Eureka (Masters of Cinema # 29) - Region 2 - NTSC BOTTOM)
 

 


(AV Channel - Region 4- PAL TOP vs. Criterion - Region 1- NTSC MIDDLE vs. Eureka (Masters of Cinema # 29) - Region 2 - NTSC BOTTOM)
 

 


(AV Channel - Region 4- PAL TOP vs. Criterion - Region 1- NTSC MIDDLE vs. Eureka (Masters of Cinema # 29) - Region 2 - NTSC BOTTOM)
 

Suggested Reading  (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

Check out more in "The Library"


Report Card

 

Image:

Eureka / AV Channel

Sound:

-

Extras:Eureka
Menu:?

 

 

DVD Box Cover

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

 

 

Distribution AV Channel - (Madmen) Region 4 - PAL Criterion Collection - Spine # 90 - Region 1- NTSC Eureka - Masters of Cinema #29 - Region 2 - NTSC

 


 



Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r


 

Hit Counter

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

Mail cheques, money orders, cash to:    or CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze