Late Ozu

 

Early Spring (1956)       Tokyo Twilight (1957)           Equinox Flower (1958)


Late Autumn (1960)           The End of Summer (1961)

 

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/ozu.htm


Master filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu directed fifty-three feature films over the course of his long career. Yet it was in the final decade of his life, his “old master” phase, that he entered his artistic prime. Centered more than ever on the modern sensibilities of the younger generation, these delicate family dramas are marked by an exquisite formal elegance and emotional sensitivity about birth and death, love and marriage, and all the accompanying joys and loneliness. Along with such better-known films as Floating Weeds and An Autumn Afternoon, these five works illustrate the worldly wisdom of one of cinema’s great artists at the height of his powers.

 


Titles

 

 


 

Early Spring (1956) - In his first film after the commercial and critical success of Tokyo Story, Ozu examines life in postwar Japan through the eyes of a young salaryman, dissatisfied with career and marriage, who begins an affair with a flirtatious co-worker.

Tokyo Twilight (1957) - One of Ozu’s most piercing portraits of family strife, Tokyo Twilight follows the parallel paths of two sisters contending with an absent mother, unwanted pregnancy, and marital discord.

Equinox Flower (1958) - Later in his career, Ozu started becoming increasingly sympathetic with the younger generation, a shift that was cemented in Equinox Flower, his gorgeously detailed first color film, about an old-fashioned father and his newfangled daughter.

Late Autumn (1960) - The great actress and Ozu regular Setsuko Hara plays a mother gently trying to persuade her daughter to marry in this glowing portrait of family love and conflict—a reworking of Ozu’s 1949 masterpiece Late Spring.

The End of Summer (1961) - The Kohayakawa family is thrown into distress when childlike father Manbei takes up with his old mistress, in one of Ozu’s most deftly modulated blendings of comedy and tragedy.

Theatrical Releases: 1956 - 1961

  DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Eclipse Series Three from the Criterion Collection (5-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC

 

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution Eclipse / Criterion Collection - Region 1 - NTSC
Time: Respectively - 2:24:50, 2:20:35, 1:57:48, 2:08:48 and 1:42:52
Bitrate:

Early Spring

Bitrate:

Tokyo Twilight

Bitrate:

Equinox Flower

Bitrate:

Late Autumn

Bitrate:

The End of Summer

Audio Japanese (original mono)
Subtitles English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Eclipse / Criterion Collection

Aspect Ratio:
All Original Aspect Ratios - 1.33 

Edition Details:

  •  one page (for each film) of liner notes in the transparent case


DVD Release Date: June 12th, 2007

5 Slim Transparent Keep Cases inside a Slipcase cardboard box
Chapters: 18 X 2, 16 X 3 = 84

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The 5 main features of this boxset are housed in individual slim transparent keep cases (see image above) they are not sold separately at this time. These particular editions can only be obtained in Criterion's Eclipse Series Three - Late Ozu package at present.

All five DVDs are dual-layered and, very encouraging, are NOT pictureboxed transferred (see our full description of 'pictureboxing' in our Kind Hearts and Coronets review). Each are coded for Region 1 in the NTSC standard. The transfers are progressive (except for Tokyo Twilight) and in the original 1.33 aspect ratio. The audio for all is original mono Japanese (HooRAY!) and there are optional English subtitles. The Shochiku logo starts each film so we can assume that is the transfer source.

We have compared to existing editions (Panorama's NTSC versions and the PAL Artificial Eye in the case of The End of Summer). Specifically:

Early Spring (1956) - The contrast flickering, interlaced combing, edge enhancement, poor contrast and prevalent artifacts of the single-layered Hong Kong release are no match for the advanced Eclipse edition. Of course, one of the greatest improvements - in all editions over the Panorama's - are the subtitle translations. The Eclipse's are (presumably) more accurate, less précised, last longer on the screen and have a clearer font.          

 

Tokyo Twilight (1957) - This is the least improved over its Panorama counterpart. In fact the transfer looks just about the same - both have speckles - perhaps the Eclipse is slightly darker - plus it is also interlaced! This kind of thing will crop up from time to time on Eclipse releases, I'm afraid. The normal Criterion Collection standard would have caused them to reject this master on technical grounds, delaying the release, possibly indefinitely. Eclipse favors making films available in spite of technical imperfections. In this case the best available master was the one digitally restored in Japan. At some point during the restoration process inconsistencies were introduced in the 3:2 pulldown sequence, which meant that they could not flag the encode for progressive playback. Whenever possible, of course, they use masters fully up to Criterion spec, but between releasing a non-progressive master in Eclipse and leaving it on the shelf, it's part of the Eclipse mission to make sure these films are available. And we should be appreciative if nothing else.

 

Equinox Flower (1958) - I recall many of us being quite happy with  the Panorama edition when it first came out - it appeared to be a strong improvement over previous Ozu DVD releases from them. The green haze (seen on many Asian transfers) looks quite prominent next to the Eclipse, which is superior in other areas (less artifacts, better subs, marginally cleaner etc.). Whether the Eclipse is more accurate (to theatrical) I'll never know but to me it looks better with brighter colors and acceptable detail although it does exhibit some artifacts of its own. On a side note I really loved this film - quite possibly in my Top 5 Ozu.


Late Autumn (1960) - Colors are pretty much exactly the same as the corresponding Panorama edition. There is a shade less green (although some is still present) and there are far less artifacts on the new dual-layered Eclipse. Subtitles on the Panorama's are not of their usual poor quality but once again appear improved upon by the North American edition.            

 

The End of Summer (1961) - The Eclipse colors are closer in appearance to the un-subtitled Toho edition and far more detailed than the slightly heavier UK Artificial Eye release. Bottom line is that the Eclipse, like all in this boxset, is the best English subtitled DVD edition available. It is wonderful to have this available in such a strong NTSC release as this was a very rare Ozu film, unreleased on VHS in the UK or USA (until the AE DVD), and it was *very* hard to see.  

Bitrates are very strong ranging from from 6.85 MPS (Tokyo Twilight) to 8.30 MPS (The End of Summer).

Aside from one page liner notes for each film (visible on the inner case sleeve through the transparent case cover) there are no supplements. 

The sound is, much appreciated, original mono and dialogue is clear and quite audible - I noted a couple of instances of softened pops and drop-outs, but overall it is very good.

To get dual-layered DVD transfers of these masterwork films so competently rendered at a purchase price of about $12 each is indeed a ridiculous bargain. I consider no DVD library complete without this collection of films by, arguably, the great director in cinema history. Even with the interlacing flaw of Tokyo Twilight (a very rare error by Criterion) this boxset goes well beyond buzz phrases like 'must-own' or 'essential' - I am actually considering it as a present to many groups of friends - Eclipse are making some of the most important films ever made affordable and accessible to vast audiences that have never been exposed to them before. We continue to encourage them in this project.

Gary W. Tooze




DVD Menus



Slim Transparent Keep Case Cover

 

 

 

Screen Captures

Early Spring (1956) aka 'Soshun'

Directed by Yasujiro Ozu

Starring Chikage Awashima, Takako Fujino, Ryo Ikebe, Keiko Kishi and Chishu Ryu
 
Subtitle Sample
 

 
(Eclipse #3 (Late Ozu) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Panorama - Region 0 - NTSC BOTTOM reviewed HERE)
 

 

(Eclipse #3 (Late Ozu) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Panorama - Region 0 - NTSC BOTTOM reviewed HERE)

 

 


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Screen Captures

 

Tokyo Twilight (1957) aka 'Tokyo boshoku '


Directed by Yasujiro Ozu


Starring Kamatari Fujiwara, Setsuko Hara, Nobuo Nakamura and Chishu Ryu

 

Subtitle Sample

 

(Eclipse #3 (Late Ozu) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Panorama - Region 0 - NTSC BOTTOM reviewed HERE)

 

 

(Eclipse #3 (Late Ozu) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Panorama - Region 0 - NTSC BOTTOM reviewed HERE)

 

 

 

 

 


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Screen Captures

 

Equinox Flower (1958) aka 'Higanbana'


Directed by Yasujiro Ozu


Starring Shin Saburi, Kinuyo Tanaka, Ineko Arima, Yoshiko Kuga, Keiji Sada and Chishu Ryu

 

 

Subtitle Sample

 

(Eclipse #3 (Late Ozu) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Panorama - Region 3 - NTSC BOTTOM - reviewed HERE)

 

 

 

 

 


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Screen Captures

 

Late Autumn (1960) aka 'Akibiyori '


Directed by Yasujiro Ozu


Starring Setsuko Hara, Yôko Tsukasa, Mariko Okada, Keiji Sada, Miyuki Kuwano and Chishu Ryu

 

 

 

(Eclipse #3 (Late Ozu) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Panorama - Region 3 - NTSC BOTTOM reviewed HERE)

 

NOTE: Panorama artifacts in door panel and left side of Setsuko's face.

 

 


Slim Transparent Keep Case Cover

 

 

 

Screen Captures

 

The End of Summer (1961) aka 'Kohayagawa-ke no aki' or "Autumn for the Kohayagawa Family" or "Early Autumn" or "The Last of Summer"


Directed by Yasujiro Ozu


Starring Ganjiro Nakamura, Setsuko Hara, Yôko Tsukasa, Michiyo Aratama, Keiju Kobayashi and Masahiko Shimazu

 

 

(Eclipse #3 (Late Ozu) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Toho (no Eng. subs) - Region 2 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

NOTE: AE and Toho are compared in detail HERE
 

 

(Eclipse #3 (Late Ozu) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM)

 

 


 

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

 

 

Distribution Eclipse / Criterion Collection - Region 1 - NTSC




 

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Gary Tooze

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