Kurosawa/Hong Kong DVD Releases

Stuart Galbraith IV tothenamerobby
Sun Sep 26 14:58:50 EDT 1999


Mei Ah Laser Disc Co. is releasing most of Kurosawa's films to DVD in Hong Kong.

The great news is that these films appear to be genuinely lisenced--not bootlegs--and have English subtitles. 

(I've seen some Kurosawa films selling on eBay and elsewhere which are nothing more than VCDs of Kurosawa's films transfered to DVD--this is something else entirely.)

Among the announced titles are films rarely seen such as "Sanshiro Sugata, Part 2" and "The Most Beautiful."

What I assume is the first of several waves of these have just been released. I was at Five Star Laser in San Gabriel, California (www.fivestarlaser.com) and they had "One Wonderful Sunday," "Stray Dog," "The Lower Depths," "The Hidden Fortress" "Yojimbo," all for about $25 each.

The source material seems to be the same used in U.S. tape and (VHS) home video releases, though the subtitles on most of these appear to have been done in Hong Kong as they have that pidgin English quality at times (i.e., "If you've gut shoot at me" kind of thing). I haven't watched all of these but, for example, "The Hidden Fortress" seems pretty good, while "Stray Dog" clearly does not use the same subtitles/translation done for the Criterion laserdisc.

The transfers themselves are not great, but generally better than anything you're likely to get on VHS.

Anyway, the subtitles stand alone. That is, you can watch the film with just English subtitles, just Chinese subtitles, or with no subtitles at all. You can also set the nicely-done menu screens, which have cast/crew lists and a rather nice bio of Kurosawa, to English as well. 

Of special note is the fact that "The Hidden Fortress" is letterboxed >and< remixed for Dolby Digital 5.1 stereo. Again, I haven't listened closely to this yet, but as the film was the first of several Kurosawa films originally released in Perspecta Stereophonic Sound, it makes sense this would be stereo. (Several of Kurosawa's films are stereo on home video in Japan--but not in the U.S.)

If anyone else has seen these or has more information, I'd love to hear your thoughts on these.

Stuart Galbraith IV 

--== Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/ ==--
Share what you know. Learn what you don't.

More information about the KineJapan mailing list