(aka ' Dodesukaden' or 'Dodes’ka-den' )

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/kurosawa.htm
Japan 1970

"By turns tragic and transcendent, Akira Kurosawa’s film follows the daily lives of a group of people barely scraping by in a slum on the outskirts of Tokyo. Yet as desperate as their circumstances are, each of them—the homeless father and son envisioning their dream house; the young woman abused by her uncle; the boy who imagines himself a trolley conductor—finds reasons to carry on. The unforgettable Dodes’ka-den was made at a tumultuous moment in Kurosawa’s life. And all of his hopes, fears, and artistic passion are on fervent display in this, his gloriously shot first color film.”

***

A fey tale of refined souls prospering in the slums of Tokyo, this 1970 film was Akira Kurosawa's first in color, and he doesn't let you forget it: the tonalities are so bold, so broadly symbolic, and so spectacularly deployed that they easily overwhelm the tiny sentimentalities of the story.

Excerpt from Dave Kehr at the Chicago Sun Times located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release Date: October 31st, 1970 - Japan

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DVD Comparison:

Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC

(Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC RIGHT)

DVD Box Cover

 

Distribution Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC 

Criterion - Spine # 465

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 2:17:30   2:19:55
Video

1.33:1.00 Original Aspect Ratio

Bit-rate: 4.32 bps
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1.00 Original Aspect Ratio

Bit-rate: 5.71 bps
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

 

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

Bit-rate:

Mei Ah

 

Bit-rate:

Criterion

Audio Japanese (Dolby Digital Mono 2.0 ) Japanese - Mono
Subtitles English, Chinese (traditional, simplified),  None English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Mei Ah

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Featurettes:
• 
Databandk text

 

DVD Release Date:  November , 1997
Keep Case
Chapters: 9

Release Information:
Studio:
Criterion

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Featurettes:
• Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create, a 36-minute documentary created as part of the Toho Masterworks series, about the making of Dodes'ka-den, including interviews with director Akira Kurosawa, script supervisor Teruyo Nogami, actor Yoshitaka Zushi (who played Rokkuchan), and other members of the cast and crew
• Theatrical trailer
• New and improved English subtitle translation
• PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by film historian Stephen Prince and a new interview with Nogami

 

DVD Release Date:  March 17th, 2009
Keep Case
Chapters: 30

Comments:

After years of owning and watching the Mei Ah edition - I had always concluded that the source must have been in poor shape but Criterion release looks quite strong. The comparison is interesting in that it shows us how far digital SD transfers have come. This is a great film and I'm appreciative of Criterion's vastly improved package.

The Criterion is once again pictureboxed (see our full description of 'pictureboxing' in our Kind Hearts and Coronets review).

The dual-layered, progressive Criterion excels in every area beyond the lackluster, interlaced and overly dark Hong Kong disc - possibly ported from LaserDisc - with the film divided over two sides/single layers (a DVD10).  While detail and colors are far more realistic on the Criterion the Mei Ah, curiously, shows - on occasion -  a tad more information of the left edge. I'll take this minor cropping over the radically boosted HK DVD any day of the week though. The Criterion looked very good on my system giving the film an entirely new and refreshing perspective from the older, blown-out, Mei Ah DVD.  

 

Audio - comparable to the images - the Mei Ah has hiss and other weaknesses where the Criterion is much improved. Probably more importantly are the subtitles translations - an area where Mei Ah had some notable weaknesses. The Criterion expands the dialogue conversations far beyond the précised, and often inaccurate, Mei Ah.

Aside from the 3-minute theatrical trailer and impressive liner notes booklet - there is only one extra - a 36-minute documentary created as part of the Toho Masterworks series entitled Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create - part of the Toho Masterworks series that we've seen segmented on many Criterion Kurosawa releases. This is worth watching as it includes interviews with director Kurosawa, script supervisor Teruyo Nogami, actor Yoshitaka Zushi (who played Rokkuchan), and other members of the cast and crew. No commentary but kept at the lower price tier and certainly one of the better films I've watched (actually re-watched) this year.

If, like I, you own the Mei Ah - just to have the opportunity to see the film - you may observe for yourself the value of the Criterion image superiority below. It really is another film and a far better way to watch in the comfort of your home theater. The Criterion package represents another 'must-own' in my opinion. As for the Mei Ah - I needed something to put my cup of tea on.  

Gary W. Tooze


DVD Menus

 

Screen Captures

 

(Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)



  (Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 


  (Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 


  (Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 

NOT EXACT FRAME MATCH

 


(Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 


 

(Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 


  (Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 


(Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 


 

(Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 


 

(Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 


 

(Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC TOP vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC BOTTOM)

 


DVD Box Cover

 

Distribution Mei Ah - Region 0 - NTSC 

Criterion - Spine # 465

Region 1 - NTSC


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