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The Mizoguchi Collection

 

Naniwa erejÓ (1936) ... aka Osaka Elegy         Gion no shimai (1936) ... aka Sisters of the Gion

Zangiku monogatari (1939) ... aka The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum         Utamaro o meguru gonin no onna (1946) ... aka
Utamaro and His Five Women

 

Kenji Mizoguchi (1898-1956) is regarded as one of Japanese cinema’s greatest ever directors along with Ozu and Kurosawa. This 4 disc set covers his middle period, which marked his emergence as a serious artist whose films explored Japan’s transition from feudalism to modernism and the oppression of women in Japanese society....

 


Titles

 


 

Osaka Elegy
Kenji Mizoguchi, 1936
A critical and popular triumph, Osaka Elegy established Mizoguchi as one of Japan’s major filmmakers. The director's often-used leading actress Isuzu Yamada stars as Ayoko, a switchboard operator trapped in a compromising, ruinous relationship with her boss to help support her wastrel father. With its fluid cinematography and deft storytelling, Osaka Elegy ushered in a new era of sound melodrama for Mizoguchi.

Sisters of the Gion
Kenji Mizoguchi, 1936
Sisters of the Gion follows the parallel paths of the independent, unsentimental Omocha (Isuzu Yamada) and her sister, the more tradition-minded Umekichi (Yoko Umemura), both geishas in the working-class district of Gion. Mizoguchi's film is a brilliantly shot, uncompromising look at the forces that keep many women at the bottom rung of the social ladder.

 

The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum (Zangiku Monogatari)

Kenji Mizoguchi, 1939
In this beautifully photographed and deeply moving romantic tragedy, the wife of a struggling actor decides to sacrifice her own future for the sake of her spouse.

 

Utamaro and His Five Women

Kenji Mizoguchi, 1946

Often regarded as his most autobiographical work, Mizoguchi’s film is based on the life of a prominent 18th Century artist and his complex relationships with the women who inspired him.

 

Osaka Elegy Sisters of the Gion

Disc Size: 19,479,538,179 bytes

Feature Size: 19,034,916,864 bytes

Average Bitrate: 31.86 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4- AVC

Disc Size: 17,931,043,557 bytes

Feature Size: 17,463,803,904 bytes

Average Bitrate: 30.00 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4- AVC

The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum Utamaro and His Five Women

Disc Size: 38,516,489,661 bytes

Feature Size: 38,173,421,568 bytes

Average Bitrate: 32.00 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4- AVC

Disc Size: 24,188,178,149 bytes

Feature Size: 23,832,993,792 bytes

Average Bitrate: 30.00 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4- AVC

Posters (Remakes of titles included)

Theatrical Releases: 1936 - 1946

  Reviews

Box Cover

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Distribution Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Time: Respectively - 1:11:36.333, 1:09:30.207, 2:23:03.491 + 1:34:52.728
Bitrate: Osaka Elegy
Bitrate: Sisters of the Gion
Bitrate: The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum
Bitrate: Utamaro and His Five Women
Audio LPCM Audio Japanese 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Dolby Digital Audio Japanese 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB
Subtitles English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
All Original Aspect Ratios - 1.33 

Edition Details:

  •  none


Blu-ray Release Date: March 12th, 2012
Chapters: 14, 12, 16, 16

 

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

ADDITION: Artificial Eye - Region 'B' Blu-ray - March 2012:

This is a 4 Blu-ray package. A big part of the monumental appeal for this new Boxset from Artificial Eye in the UK is to have The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum in any type of representational quality. Of the 4 films it is the only one on a dual-layered transfer - more, I suspect, because of the film's length. All 4 renderings are at a strong 30+ Mbps. Often what the SD Criterion/Eclipse exported as noise the new, brighter, Blu-ray transfers show as wonderfully rich, thick, grain. The appealing textures are the most significant part of the HD presentation, in my opinion. I can't say enough about it and even made some of the below captures PNG files to try to convey this film-like beauty. Of course, there is still damage but overall this is a highly beneficial upgrade.

These appear to be from the same source as the Criterion DVDs but in 1080P grandeur 'fullness' is realized to an extent that cinema fans will appreciate the most. Could these are looked better if they were all dual-layered? - I doubt it. The bitrate is max'ed out and the thickness is there in abundance. These blew me away in the pitch-blackness of my home theater.

The audio is, predictably, weaker than one might hope. It is all transferred in lossless linear PCM mono - with the option for Dolby mono. It seems devoid of any major flaws (dropouts, pops) but there is a subtle 'crackle'. I honestly expect that this is the best it will sound. Acceptably imperfect. There are optional English subtitles (see sample below) on the region 'B'-locked discs.

Unfortunately no extras on the screener discs that I was sent. Even bare-bones this has immense value to Mizoguchi, or Japanese film, fans in general. Utamaro and His Five Women is a hoot.

This is a rare, landmark, Blu-ray set and one that many serious film devotees will gravitate to and cherish. For North Americans - another in the many reasons to have a region FREE Blu-ray player. We can warmly recommend!

Gary W. Tooze


Menus

Naniwa erejÓ (1936) ... aka Osaka Elegy


Gion no shimai (1936) ... aka Sisters of the Gion

Zangiku monogatari (1939) ... aka The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum

Utamaro o meguru gonin no onna (1946) ... aka Utamaro and His Five Women


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

 

Screen Captures

Naniwa erejÓ (1936) ... aka Osaka Elegy

Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi
 
(Eclipse - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM)
 
 
(Eclipse - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM)
 

 
(Eclipse - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM)
 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 


Screen Captures

 

Gion no shimai (1936) ... aka Sisters of the Gion


Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi

 

(Eclipse - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

 

(Eclipse - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

 

(Eclipse - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 


Screen Captures

 

Zangiku monogatari (1939) ... aka The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum


Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi

 

 


Screen Captures

 

Utamaro o meguru gonin no onna (1946) ... aka Utamaro and His Five Women


Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi

 

 

 

 


 

Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

 

Distribution Artificial Eye - Region 'B' - Blu-ray




 

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Gary Tooze

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