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Above titles - Criterion - original release TOP  vs. Criterion REISSUE BOTTOM

(aka 'Yojimbo" or "Yojinbo" "the Bodyguard"')

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/kurosawa.htm
USA 1961

 

The incomparable Toshiro Mifune stars in Akira Kurosawa’s visually stunning and darkly comic Yojimbo (The Bodyguard). In order to rid a village of corruption, masterless samurai Sanjuro turns a range war between two evil clans to his own advantage. Remade both as A Fistful of Dollars and, more recently, Last Man Standing, this exhilarating gangster-Western remains one of the most influential and entertaining genre-twisters ever produced.

Posters

Theatrical Release: April 25th, 1961

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Comparison:

Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Criterion - REISSUE - Region 1- NTSC vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

1) Criterion (original release)- Region 1 - NTSC LEFT

2) Criterion - REISSUE - Region 1- NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Cover

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 52 - Region 1 - NTSC Criterion Collection - REISSUE - Spine # 52 - Region 1 - NTSC Criterion Collection - Spine # 52 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Criterion's DVD REISSUEs and Blu-rays of Sanjuro also comes in a package with Yojimbo!

           

         

Runtime 1:50:28  1:50:40  1:50:51.895 
Video 2.16:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.96 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
2.31:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.55 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 48,558,069,845 bytes

Feature Size: 36,736,069,632 bytes

Average Bitrate: 34.98 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate:  Original release

Bitrate: REISSUE

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio Japanese (Dolby Digital 1.0)  Japanese (Dolby Digital 1.0), Japanese (Dolby Digital 3.0) DTS-HD Master Audio Japanese 2307 kbps 3.0 / 48 kHz / 2307 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 3.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
LPCM Audio Japanese 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles English, None English, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion / Home Vision

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 2.16:1

Edition Details:

• Original theatrical trailer
• 6-page liner notes with essay by Alexander Sesonske

DVD Release Date: September 28th, 1999

Keep Case
Chapters: 20

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 2.31:1

Edition Details:

• Audio commentary by film historian and Kurosawa scholar Stephen Prince
• A 45-minute documentary on the making of Yojimbo, created as part of the Toho Masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create
• Theatrical trailer and teaser
• Stills gallery of behind-the-scenes photos
• Liner notes booklet featuring an essay by critic Alexander Sesonske and notes from Kurosawa and his cast and crew

DVD Release Date: January 23rd, 2007

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 27

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Disc Size: 48,558,069,845 bytes

Feature Size: 36,736,069,632 bytes

Average Bitrate: 34.98 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:

• Audio commentary by film historian and Kurosawa scholar Stephen Prince
• A 45-minute documentary on the making of Yojimbo, created as part of the Toho Masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create
• Theatrical trailer and teaser
• Stills gallery of behind-the-scenes photos
• Liner notes booklet featuring an essay by critic Alexander Sesonske and notes from Kurosawa and his cast and crew

Blu-ray Release Date: March 23rd, 2010
Thick Transparent Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 26

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION- Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray  February 2010: The improvement can seem subtle at times and dramatic at others. Rendered at 1080P the contrast seems the biggest beneficiary looking to have finer levels of blacks and grey tones. Grain is more visible and looks extremely consistent. The final result of the move to Blu-ray are highly impressive visuals more fully respecting the theatrical appearance. This no longer looks video-y... but like film - showing some real depth of field. Once again I suspect some black boosting but I can't argue with the final result - the image transfer is nothing short of a revelation - especially in comparison to the original release - it is a different film experience now.

Criterion have kept the 3.0 channel Perspecta audio preserving the original simulated-stereo effects in lossless DTS HD Master track. It has some definite buoyancy and tightens up equally as the video portion does. I also noticed some depth in the bass of opening credit drums. The mono track has also been kept as a linear PCM offering. There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

Extras duplicate the 2007 DVD with the fine Prince commentary and 45-minute documentary (see expanded descriptions below) although in HD.

I don't see any point in messing around here - this is a Kurosawa masterpiece looking as pristine as it has ever looked or your home theater. We encourage the savings of the two-pack with Sanjuro on Blu-ray. Essential stuff here folks.

****

ADDITION: Criterion - REISSUE - January 07': The initial release represented Criterion's worst ever DVD transfer, and it had a vast expanse to improve - which it, thankfully, has. The REISSUE is sharper, cleaner and, although there is some movement in the frame, it does show more information. Although anamorphic, progressive and obviously from a different source (the Japanese title, as opposed to western, is used) it does show some artifacts. The black levels have been boosted, perhaps, a shade more than my own personal taste. Overall, fans of the film will be quite pleased with the REISSUE in regards to image.

As with their new Sanjuro release, Criterion have given the option of the 3.0 Perspecta track preserving the original simulated-stereo effects. I did notice on two occasions that it did exhibit a more dynamic range than the old mono (which is still an option).

Stephen Prince, who has a presence on many other Kurosawa Criterion DVD commentaries or liner notes (RAN, Seven Samurai, Rashomom, Kagemusha, Ikiru and Red Beard) does an excellent job with his discussion of Yojimbo. As one might have anticipated - he is well-prepared, brimming with information and totally professional - if in a somewhat lighter tone than, say, a Tony Rayns. Commentaries like these make the DVD worth every penny - it really separates Criterion from their counterparts. There is also a 45-minute documentary on the making of Yojimbo, created as part of the Toho Masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create and some extensive liner notes featuring an essay by critic Alexander Sesonske and notes from Kurosawa and his cast and crew.

Overall, Criterion, has taken this problematic DVD production and turned it into a thorough and complete digital release.

****

ON THE ORIGINAL DVD: I guess you never know what you will get from Toho Studios in terms of a print. Obviously Criterion opted for the domestic print master of the original American art house release (see title.)

Many consider this one of Criterion's worst DVDs. Non-anamorphic, cropped on all sides and the image quality is quite poor. Often hazy with poor contrast this DVD package has no digital extras save a trailer. Sanjuro may be equally cropped but it is sharper than their Yojimbo. Audio has a decided prominent 'hiss'. Quite an early effort by Criterion but we all hope this will be re-issued by them soon. I know BFI will re-release their edition sooner. Again we hope for improvement. out of  

Gary W. Tooze



DVD Menus

(Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. Criterion - REISSUE - Region 1- NTSC RIGHT)

 

 
 
 
 

 

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 


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

 

Subtitle Sample

 

1) Criterion (original release)- Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - REISSUE - Region 1- NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

1) Criterion (original release)- Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - REISSUE - Region 1- NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Criterion (original release)- Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - REISSUE - Region 1- NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Criterion (original release)- Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - REISSUE - Region 1- NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Criterion (original release)- Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - REISSUE - Region 1- NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Criterion (original release)- Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - REISSUE - Region 1- NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Criterion (original release)- Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - REISSUE - Region 1- NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray captures

 

 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras:  Blu-ray / Criterion - REISSUE

 

DVD Box Cover

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 52 - Region 1 - NTSC Criterion Collection - REISSUE - Spine # 52 - Region 1 - NTSC Criterion Collection - Spine # 52 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Criterion's DVD REISSUEs and Blu-rays of Sanjuro also comes in a package with Yojimbo!

           

         


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

 

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