Home Page  
 
 

SPECIFICATIONS
  • 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Japanese PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • Trailer

Three Outlaw Samurai

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Hideo Gosha
Starring: Tetsuro Tanba, Isamu Nagato, Mikijiro Hira, Yoshiko Kayama, Kyoko Aoi, Hisashi Igawa
1964 | 93 Minutes | Licensor: Shochiku

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $29.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #596
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: February 14, 2012
Review Date: February 12, 2012

Purchase From:
amazon.com  amazon.ca

Share:

SYNOPSIS

This first film by the legendary Hideo Gosha is among the most canonized chambara (sword-fighting) films. An origin-story offshoot of a Japanese television series phenomenon of the same name, Three Outlaw Samurai is a classic in its own right. In it, a wandering, seen-it-all ronin (Tetsuro Tamba) becomes entangled in the dangerous business of two other samurai (Isamu Nagato and Mikijiro Hira), hired to execute a band of peasants who have kidnapped the daughter of a corrupt magistrate. With remarkable storytelling economy and thrilling action scenes, this is an expertly mounted tale of revenge and loyalty.

Forum members rate this film 8.7/10

 

Discuss the film and Blu-ray here   


PICTURE

Hideo Gosha’s Three Outlaw Samurai comes to Blu-ray from Criterion in a stunning new 1080p/24hz high-definition digital transfer in the film’s original aspect ratio of about 2.35:1 on a dual-layer disc.

Because this almost felt like it was going to be a lackluster, rushed released because of the lack of features I wasn’t holding out much hope for the transfer initially but boy was I wrong. This is one of the cleaner black-and-white transfers I’ve come across on the format. The level of detail present through most of the film is simply splendid, whether it be long shots or close-ups. Grass, weeds, stones, and other details in buildings or rocks are clearly defined and come through with crystal clarity. There’s one moment where, in a fairly long shot, you can clearly make out a single strand of a spider web blowing in the wind. Close-ups are more impressive, namely on the actor’s faces, where you can make out the pores, beads of sweat, and even the stray hairs where each one is clearly defined. Motion is perfect and no artifacts are discernible. Film grain is left intact and looks natural with no issues in its rendering. Contrast may have been boosted a bit but I didn’t think it harmed the image as gray levels are still clean and distinct, and blacks look nice and deep but don’t overdo it.

The print used is also in stunning condition. I noticed a couple of specs, some slight pulsating, and quick moments where it looks like the image goes a little out of focus, but this really looks like it could have been made yesterday and not in 1964. In all a clean, stable, and rather gorgeous looking presentation.

9/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

Screen Capture

AUDIO

Audio is unfortunately not as pleasant. Presented as a lossless linear PCM 1.0 mono track, the quality of the source materials are a little rough. I found the film’s music very distorted and somewhat unpleasant and voices sound edgy and weak. Overall a little ugly.

5/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Other than a theatrical trailer there are no disc supplements to be found on this release. The booklet contains a decent essay by Bilge Ebiri that goes over Gosha’s work, the film, and the television series it was basically inspired by. It sounds as though the early seasons of this show are lost, which is a shame because more material on the show would have been an excellent inclusion. The various illustrations by Greg Ruth found throughout the booklet are a nice touch at least.

2/10

CLOSING

I wish Criterion could have rounded up some more material, maybe getting into more detail about the television series even if the early seasons are no longer around, but we at least get solid visual presentation that makes the disc worth recommending.


View packaging for this Blu-ray

Share: 



Purchase From:
amazon.com  amazon.ca  




Join our Facebook Group (requires Facebook account)

This site is not affiliated with The Criterion Collection