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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Judo Saga" or "Judo Story" or "Kurosawa's Judo Saga" or "Sanshiro Sugata" )


Japan 1943

The Directorial debut from one of the screen's greatest ever Directors - Akira Kurosawa. SANSHIRO SUGATA is the tale of the emergence of the fighting art of Judo in old Japan. Set in the late 19th century, the film follows a wayward young man Sugata and his quest for knowledge. After witnessing some Ju-Jitsu bullies beaten by a man with a new fighting style , Sugata yearns to learn the emerging art of Judo. As Sugata aims to beat the Ju-Jitsu masters he also fights a battle with his inner self.

The film starts with the following announcement:
APOLOGY: This is an edited version of Mr
Akira Kurosawa's first film. The original film was released in March 1943. Some 1856 feet had been cut from it by the censors whiteout the permission of the director or hiss staff. Although these restrictions have now been lifted we are unable to restore the film to it's original form as the edited parts were lost during the post-war confusion. But we have decided to re-release this film as we believe that it has value even in edited form. We seek the understanding of our patrons in these matter. Toho Co. April 1952


Theatrical Release: Japan 25 March 1943

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DVD Review: Madman - Region 4 - PAL

Big thanks to Per-Olof Strandberg for the Review!

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Region 4 - PAL

Runtime 1:18:57 (4% PAL speedup)

1:1.33 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.78 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

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


Audio Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Madman

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1:1.33

Edition Details:
• Delated scenes (11:35) (restored from Russian archival print)
• Madman trailer reel

DVD Release Date: 12/10/2005
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Chapters 11




I don't know if this is the best we can get from Kurosawa's early film without expensive restoration. I don't even know if the original film negative exists anymore. The DVD is full of scratches and dirt, but still good enough to watch. The combing indicates that it's taken from an analog tape master.

The sound is taken from an optical source. It's like the picture - full of popping and hisses. Thankfully there's no DD 5.1 re-mix, even tough it's printed on the cover. The English subtitlles are white. There's 12 minutes of deleted scenes from an Russian film-archive.

 - Per-Olof Strandberg

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