Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released from Arrow and the films on them.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
DarkImbecile
Ask me about my visible cat breasts
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:24 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM

Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence

#1 Post by DarkImbecile » Mon Apr 06, 2020 11:19 am

Image

David Bowie stars in Nagisa Oshima’s 1983 Palme d’Or-nominated portrait of resilience, pride, friendship and obsession among four very different men confined in the stifling jungle heat of a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp in Java during World War II.

In 1942, British officer Major Jack Celliers (Bowie) is captured by Japanese soldiers, and after a brutal trial sent, physically debilitated but indomitable in mind, to a POW camp overseen by the zealous Captain Yonoi (Ryuichi Sakamoto). Celliers’ stubbornness sees him locked in a battle of wills with the camp’s new commandant, a man obsessed with discipline and the glory of Imperial Japan who becomes unnaturally preoccupied with the young Major, while Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence (Tom Conti), the only inmate with a degree of sympathy for Japanese culture and an understanding of the language, attempts to bridge the divide through his friendship with Yonoi’s second-in-command, Sergeant Hara (Takeshi Kitano), a man possessing a surprising degree of compassion beneath his cruel façade.

Produced by Jeremy Thomas (The Last Emperor, The Sheltering Sky), it was the first English-language film by Oshima (Death by Hanging, In the Realm of the Senses, Gohatto), a leading light of Japanese New Wave cinema, and provided breakthrough big-screen roles for comedian Takeshi Kitano and musician Ryuichi Sakamoto, who also composed the film’s hauntingly memorable BAFTA-winning score. This powerful wartime drama was adapted from Laurens van der Post’s autobiographical novel ‘The Seed and the Sower’ (1963) by screenwriter Paul Mayersberg (The Man Who Fell to Earth).

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS
  • High Definition Blu-ray™ (1080p) presentation
  • Original uncompressed stereo audio
  • The Man Who Left His Soul on Film (1983), Paul Joyce’s 82-minute documentary profile of Nagisa Oshima
  • The Oshima Gang (1983), a 30-minute documentary following the film’s cast and makers at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival
  • Video interviews with producer Jeremy Thomas and actor-composer Ryuichi Sakamoto
  • Exclusive newly filmed interview with critic Tony Rayns
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Image gallery
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sam Hadley
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Jasper Sharp

User avatar
AidanKing
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:22 pm
Location: Cornwall, U.K.

Re: Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence

#2 Post by AidanKing » Mon Jul 06, 2020 6:11 am

I imagine there has been no comment on this because it has already been released on Blu Ray before, but I think this is a really good example of excellently curating a film and its contextualising extras. The booklet essay by Jasper Sharp, Tony Rayns interview (which I enjoyed more than I think I would have a commentary) and Paul Joyce documentary are all very interesting and the transfer, bearing in mind my relatively limited set-up, seems as good as you would expect.

User avatar
swo17
Bloodthirsty Butcher
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence

#3 Post by swo17 » Mon Jul 06, 2020 7:35 am

Is the transfer an improvement on the Criterion? I haven't been able to find anything about that

User avatar
AidanKing
Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:22 pm
Location: Cornwall, U.K.

Re: Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence

#4 Post by AidanKing » Mon Jul 06, 2020 8:51 am

Sorry, I can't help with that (probably wouldn't be able to even if I had both editions to be honest, due partly to my set-up but also my lack of expertise). There seem to be a couple of reviews on the internet but nothing that compares the transfers unfortunately.

cowboydan
Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2020 1:27 pm

Re: Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence

#5 Post by cowboydan » Tue Jul 07, 2020 8:26 pm

swo17 wrote:
Mon Jul 06, 2020 7:35 am
Is the transfer an improvement on the Criterion? I haven't been able to find anything about that
Right off the bat, the AA release features the original aspect ratio of 1.85, while the Criterion is slightly opened to 1.78. Only a slight difference. I would guess that the AA release is similar in picture quality to the German 2017 release, which also is in the OAR of 1.85. The German bitrate is ~35 mbps while the Criterion is ~27 mbps. The higher birate gives the German a slight a edge. The grain is slightly more visible, and detail a tad bit improved over the Criterion. I honestly say, if you already have the Criterion, the slight improvement that Arrow release is likely to offer is probably not substantial enough to warrant double dipping unless you're a huge fun of the film, are Region-B locked, or you are watching this on a very large screen.

You can compare the German release and the Criterion here:
https://caps-a-holic.com/c.php?go=1&a=0 ... 66&i=9&l=1

User avatar
hearthesilence
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC

Re: Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence

#6 Post by hearthesilence » Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:21 am

I just got this. The menu runs fine - it actually plays video of a scene in the background. But if I try playing the feature, it only displays a single frozen frame (a shot of the floor with a shoed foot coming in from the upper right) while the sound continues to play. If I try playing a featurette, something similar happens where it plays a frame or black while the sound plays through.

I only have access to an old Oppo at the moment, so I can't test it on other players. Anyone else having similar issues? I know Oppo has been having problems playing some newer BD's that has more data coming in the signal - is this another case of that?

User avatar
swo17
Bloodthirsty Butcher
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence

#7 Post by swo17 » Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:53 am

It played fine on my Oppo BDP-93

User avatar
Aunt Peg
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:30 am

Re: Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence

#8 Post by Aunt Peg » Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:33 am

Watched my copy recently on a low price Sony player and encountered no problems.

Post Reply