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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Akai tenshi" or "The Red Angel" or "Red Angel")

 

Directed by Yasuzo Masumura
Japan 1966

 

Directed by Yasuzo Masumura (Giants and Toys, Blind Beast), Red Angel takes an unflinching look at the horror and futility of war through the eyes of a dedicated and selfless young military nurse.

When Sakura Nishi is dispatched in 1939 to a ramshackle field hospital in Tientsin, the frontline of Japan’s war with China, she and her colleagues find themselves fighting a losing battle tending to the war-wounded and emotionally shell-shocked soldiers while assisting head surgeon Dr. Okabe conduct an unending series of amputations. As the Chinese troops close in, she finds herself increasingly drawn to Okabe who, impotent to stall the mounting piles of cadavers, has retreated into his own private hell of morphine addiction.

Adapted from the novel by Yorichika Arima, Masumura’s harrowing portrait of women and war is considered the finest of his collaborations with Ayako Wakao (A Wife Confesses, Irezumi) and features startling monochrome scope cinematography by Setsuo Kobayashi (Fires on the Plain, An Actor’s Revenge).

***

A shocking and controversial masterpiece, Yasuzo Masumura’s no-bullshit antiwar film tells of an army nurse (Mizoguchi discovery and Masumura regular Ayako Wakao) in the Sino-Japanese war who sexually services an amputee and falls in love with a drug-addicted surgeon. Shot in black-and-white 'Scope, this 1966 feature can’t be recommended to the squeamish or to viewers bound to the politically correct, but neither its nuanced eroticism nor its passionate, unpredictable moral focus can be easily shaken off. Roughly contemporary with M*A*S*H (as in Altman’s film, scenes of war-front surgery provide a corollary to Vietnam), it sometimes suggests a less comic treatment of the same theme--how to preserve one's humanity amid impossible circumstances--but its ethics are considerably more developed.

Excerpt from Jonathan Rosenbaum's review at the Chicago Reader located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: October 1st, 1966

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Yume - Region 0 - PAL vs. Fantoma - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Box Cover

 

Bonus Captures:

Distribution

Yume

Region 0 - PAL

Fantoma

Region 1 - NTSC

Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:34:45         1:34:39 1:34:48.015
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.34 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
 

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.7 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

2.35:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 35,708,056,420 bytes

Feature: 29,405,491,968 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.82 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate DVD Yume:

Bitrate DVD Fantoma:

Bitrate Blu-ray:

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

LPCM Audio Japanese 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

Subtitles English, None English, None English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Yume

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Director Biography (text screen)
• 
Director Filmography (text screen)
• Theatrical trailer


DVD Release Date: August, 2006
Transparent Keep case

Chapters 18

Release Information:
Studio: Fantoma  

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Biography (text screen)
• 
Filmography (text screen)
• Theatrical trailer
• Photo Gallery
 

DVD Release Date: October 17th, 2006
Keep Case

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio:
Arrow

 

2.35:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 35,708,056,420 bytes

Feature: 29,405,491,968 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.82 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Brand new audio commentary by Japanese cinema scholar David Desser
• Newly filmed introduction by Japanese cinema expert Tony Rayns (12:00)
• Not All Angels Have Wings, a new visual essay by Jonathan Rosenbaum (13:51)
• Original Trailers (1:19 / 2:19)
• Image Gallery
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tony Stella


Blu-ray Release Date:
January 17th, 2022
Transparent Blu-ray Case inside slipcase

Chapters 13

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Arrow Blu-ray (January 2022): Arrow have transferred Yasuzo Masumura's Red Angel to Blu-ray. The 1080P is much brighter than the DVDs showing more detail, grain and superior contrast. It does appear to have less information on the side edges with slightly more on top of the frame. The HD presentation doesn't show the same level of damage (see captures below) as both SD transfers. The grain can have a chunkiness at times and there is not much depth but this is still a massive improvement over the DVDs and a consistent, appealing presentation.

NOTE: We have added 46 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Arrow use a linear PCM mono track (24-bit) in the original Japanese language. Red Angel has a few aggressive war-related sequences that come through with modest depth. The beautiful score is by Sei Ikeno (Zatoichi's Flashing Sword, Black Test Car), sounding generally flat and very pleasing in the lossless transfer. Arrow offer optional English subtitles on their Region FREE Blu-ray.

The Arrow Blu-ray offers a new commentary by Japanese cinema scholar David Desser. He covers a lot of ground discussing the Yasuzô Masumura / Ayako Wakao collaborations of 20 films over 12 years and the importance of Red Angel to that group. It's an excellent commentary filled with relevant analysis and production details. There is also a revealing 12-minute filmed introduction by Japanese cinema expert Tony Rayns who shares important acts about the film, Masumura and more. I certainly enjoyed Not All Angels Have Wings, a new 13-minute visual essay by Jonathan Rosenbaum who has always championed the film. Lastly are two trailers and an image gallery. The package has a reversible sleeve (see below) featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tony Stella.

Yasuzo Masumura's Red Angel is highly impacting. The film is is based on a 1966 novel, of the same name, by Yorichika Arima and has some harrowing sequences of debilitated men, sexual assault, drug addiction and suicide. It really showcases the grim sides of war through the trials of a young Japanese nurse, played by Ayako Wakao, on the front lines in China during the Second Sino-Japanese War. It's an unforgettable masterpiece of the dark side of the human condition. The Arrow Blu-ray is a massive upgrade with the improved a/v, commentary, Rayns and Rosenbaum contributions and packaging. This is very strongly recommended!

Gary Tooze

 


Menus / Extras

 

Yume - Region 0 - PAL

 

 

Fantoma - Region 1 - NTSC

 

Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray


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

 

1) Yume - Region 0 - PAL  TOP

2) Fantoma - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Yume - Region 0 - PAL  TOP

2) Fantoma - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Yume - Region 0 - PAL  TOP

2) Fantoma - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Yume - Region 0 - PAL  TOP

2) Fantoma - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Yume - Region 0 - PAL  TOP

2) Fantoma - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Yume - Region 0 - PAL  TOP

2) Fantoma - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Yume - Region 0 - PAL  TOP

2) Fantoma - Region 1 - NTSC MIDDLE

3) Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

More full resolution (1920 X 1080) Blu-ray Captures for DVDBeaver Patreon Supporters HERE

 

 

 
Box Cover

 

Bonus Captures:

Distribution

Yume

Region 0 - PAL

Fantoma

Region 1 - NTSC

Arrow - Region FREE - Blu-ray


 


 

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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

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