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PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2006 2:07 pm 
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I don't do non-commissioned essays. Nor do I do the Internet.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:56 pm 
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Two-disc reissiue due in July:

Quote:
Toshiro Mifune is unforgettable as Kingo Gondo, a wealthy industrialist whose family becomes the target of a cold-blooded kidnapper in Akira Kurosawa’s highly influential domestic drama and police procedural High and Low. Adapting Ed McBain’s detective novel King’s Ransom, Kurosawa moves effortlessly from compelling race-against-time thriller to exacting social commentary, creating a diabolical treatise on class and contemporary Japanese society. Criterion is proud to present High and Low (Tengoko to jigoku) in this new high-definition digital transfer.

SPECIAL EDITION DOUBLE-DISC SET FEATURES:

-- New, restored high-definition digital transfer, with newly restored original
four-track surround sound
-- New audio commentary by Akira Kurosawa scholar Stephen Prince
-- A 37-minute documentary on the making of High and Low, created as part of the Toho Masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create
-- Rare archival interview with Toshiro Mifune
-- New video interview with actor Tsutomu Yamazaki, who plays the kidnapper
-- Theatrical trailers from Japan and the U.S.
-- New and improved English subtitle translation
-- PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien and a reprinted essay by Japanese film scholar Donald Richie
-- More!

SRP: $39.95
Prebook: 6/17/08
Street date: 7/22/08


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 10:07 pm 
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I was kind of hoping Dodes'ka-den would be first (if for no other reason than to finally be able to see that movie), but this is still excellent news; I thought we'd be waiting a fair bit longer for this and Vampyr, so this is a very pleasant surprise (to my mind at least).


Last edited by Cronenfly on Wed Apr 16, 2008 10:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 10:18 pm 

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What a Disappointment release, I am sick of Kurosawa.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 10:22 pm 
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stalker_ozu wrote:
What a Disappointment release, I am sick of Kurosawa.

I'm inclined to agree with you (to an extent), but High and Low is truly superb, so I can suck up my "not another [insert overexposed Criterion director here]" anger pretty easily. Especially considering how in need of a decent disc from anybody this movie is.


Last edited by Cronenfly on Thu Apr 17, 2008 3:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 11:33 pm 
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As I can best recall, this was one of those lame releases with the super high MSRPs, right? It wasn't anamorphic or anything, right? So it's only right that they go back and correct these titles like they did with the Hitchcock films, etc. And you can't go wrong with Kurosawa, that's for sure...


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 11:41 pm 
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stalker_ozu wrote:
What a Disappointment release, I am sick of Kurosawa.

Sure, but this is AK at his best, and a proper release is nowhere to be found. I welcome this as a necessary reissue. Only second to Andrey Rublyov.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 11:48 pm 
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exte wrote:
As I can best recall, this was one of those lame releases with the super high MSRPs, right?

Yep. It was one of the first DVDs I bought in 1998. In the wake of laserdiscs, $40 for a non-anamorphic, completely featureless Criterion seemed like a steal. The film is an absolute masterpiece, and I can't wait to upgrade it. Even in this very solid month, High and Low is, for me, the pick of the litter.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 1:04 am 
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Same here. I just watched Ichida's incredibly haunting Fugitive from the Past, and throughout, couldn't help but think of High and Low, as they are two of the best police procedurals ever made.

This is very timely since I recently sold my old edition of High and Low in anticipation of a reissue, so the new set is practically paid for.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 4:23 am 

Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:02 am
Hopefully HIGH AND LOW will now be the full 2.55 like the BFI DVD.

Off topic: does anybody feel that Criterion´s Kurosawa DVDs overdoes the contrast boosting? Often BFI Kurosawa DVDs have a rough b/w contrast range that I think are more appropriate than the "satin sheen" look Criterion gives them.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 4:58 am 
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FINALLY!
I can't tell how sick I am of my old VHS copy which I nevertheless didn't bother to exchange for any hitherto existing disc. Pretty good extras, too. Stephen Prince's commentaries can't get any better.
Now that indeed only leaves "Rublev" for a must-be-done remake.

Stefan: yes, I fully agree with you about CC's blackness boosting, and not just for Kurosawa films ("Drunken Angel" was pretty extreme, though). That's something that totally annoys me about CC discs, especially as one can now compare this to the look of MoC discs, or even occasionally discs from other companies. I found greyscale much more natural on the recent Fox Ford masters than on CC's "Young Mr. Lincoln", for instance. That's why I fear the worst for CC's "Vampyr" and would much prefer to get that one from MoC if they manage to put some decent extras on it as well.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 12:09 pm 
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I'm glad I held off buying this one for so long. This movie is Kurosawa's most morally ambiguous. It's so intricately balanced and calibrated that every possible choice that Mifune's character could make seems to both secure his fate and offer no assured outcome. He could pay the money, which would ruin him, but at the same time, there's no assurance that the money will even get the kid back. Yet, if he kept the money, which would make him hugely successful, there's no assurance that he would be able to live with himself and actually enjoy this success. It's Stray Dog amped up to the highest possible degree. Plus the ending is just pit-of-the-stomach disturbing.

Kurosawa understands character and structure so well that, once Mifune's character has made his decision, Kurosawa understands that the character has run its course and, structurally, there is no longer any need for him. Hence Kurosawa divides the film in half and lets another character guide this second half, the police procedural. It's remarkable how, once a major character (and actor) is no longer structurally necessary, Kurosawa has no compunction at all with dropping him and moving on. For such a long film, nothing is wasted.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 12:18 pm 
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I love the first half -- and find the second half (on average) only so-so (largely because of the fairly ineffective scenes featuring the kidnapper).


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 12:29 pm 
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Too bad Criterion didn't have the balls to use the film's true title, Heaven and Hell. If Bicycle Thieves is worthy of that respect, why not this?


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 1:09 pm 
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YES!!! One of my favorites. AND a Stephen Prince commentary. Now this is the reissue that I'd dreamt of. =D>


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 1:17 pm 
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One of Kurosawa´s finest non-period films. This release looks excellent, I can´t wait to get my hands on it. The old CC release is already a distant memory...


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 1:22 pm 
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Highway 61 wrote:
Too bad Criterion didn't have the balls to use the film's true title, Heaven and Hell. If Bicycle Thieves is worthy of that respect, why not this?

Because changing 'thief' to 'thieves' is so small that there could be no problem with identification. Changing High and Low, the more commonly known english title, to Heaven and Hell not only makes the movie more difficult to identify, but gives it all sorts of western religious connotations that would be confusing and misleading since the movie is not at all theological.

kerpan wrote:
and find the second half (on average) only so-so (largely because of the fairly ineffective scenes featuring the kidnapper).

You're breaking my heart, man.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 1:28 pm 
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Stefan Andersson wrote:
Hopefully HIGH AND LOW will now be the full 2.55 like the BFI DVD.

Criterion page says 2.35:1


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 1:30 pm 
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Mr_sausage wrote:
kerpan wrote:
and find the second half (on average) only so-so (largely because of the fairly ineffective scenes featuring the kidnapper).

You're breaking my heart, man.

The scene going through the make-believe slum is one of my least favorite AK sequences (in movies I like -- along with the night club section in Ikiru). He did this a lot better in Stray Dog.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 1:36 pm 
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codam wrote:
Stefan Andersson wrote:
Hopefully HIGH AND LOW will now be the full 2.55 like the BFI DVD.

Criterion page says 2.35:1

It also says that they did a 4k transfer!


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2008 1:23 pm 
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miless wrote:
codam wrote:
Stefan Andersson wrote:
Hopefully HIGH AND LOW will now be the full 2.55 like the BFI DVD.

Criterion page says 2.35:1

It also says that they did a 4k transfer!

BRAVO! Now that's what's up...


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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 4:04 pm 
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Unfortunately, a 4k transfer to me means that I'm just going to hold back and see about about a Blu-ray release, possibly in 2009. I am feeling kind of burned about the fact that I ponied up for an upgrade on The Third Man just to be stiffed less than a year later, so I think I've learned my lesson.

However, for people who don't already own the barebones disc because of previous sticker shock, I am in total agreement with many in this thread that this is one of Kurosawa's best films, and a brilliant genre film even for the folks who might find the director himself overexposed (note that I am not one of those people; he continues to be one of my favorites perhaps out of the sheer sentimentality of being my original introduction to 'sophisticated' foreign films so many years ago).


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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 7:51 am 
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Finalized specs:

* - SPECIAL EDITION DOUBLE-DISC SET FEATURES:
* - New, restored high-definition digital transfer with original four-track surround sound
* - Audio commentary featuring Akira Kurosawa scholar Stephen Prince
* - A 37-minute documentary on the making of High and Low, created as part of the Toho Masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create
* - Rare video interview with actor Toshiro Mifune, by TV talk-show host Tetsuko Kuroyanagi
* - New video interview with actor Tsutomu Yamazaki, who plays the kidnapper
* - Theatrical trailers from Japan and the U.S.
* - New and improved English subtitle translation
* - PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien and an on-set account by Japanese film scholar Donald Richie


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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 8:58 am 
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Wow, really looking forward to that interview with Toshiro Mifune.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 3:40 am 
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DVDBeaver


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