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Kurosawa's Dodes Ka Den


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9 replies to this topic

#1 of 10 OFFLINE   Jeff Swearingen

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Posted January 09 2005 - 02:30 PM

My apologies for the spelling of the name...I get confused on this one...

Amazon is now recommending a purchase to me of Kurosawa's Dodes ka den on DVD. I was unaware it was available on DVD and the listing gave no info on the disc. Is this an Amazon goof or is the disc really out there?

http://www.amazon.co....091772-9631840

#2 of 10 OFFLINE   SteveGon

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Posted January 10 2005 - 01:37 AM

That's probably an imported Mei Ah (Hong Kong company) DVD. I've heard the quality of their discs is dubious. If Dodes Ka Den was being released officially here, we'd have heard about it. Posted Image

FWIW, Criterion was supposed to have released this some time ago, but it was delayed. Don't know what its status is now.

#3 of 10 OFFLINE   Keith M.

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Posted January 10 2005 - 07:06 AM

What is the latest release date of Kagemusha:Criterion ???

#4 of 10 OFFLINE   Joe Fisher

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Posted January 10 2005 - 11:25 AM

Quote:
What is the latest release date of Kagemusha:Criterion ???

March 29, 2005

#5 of 10 OFFLINE   Kain_C

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Posted January 10 2005 - 01:30 PM

I'll be getting Kagemusha. Just saw Ran a week ago, loved it, and am waiting on Rashomon to come from dvdplanet. Add that to Seven Samurai and the Sanjuro series, and I will only have started to get a decent Kurosawa collection going.

#6 of 10 OFFLINE   andrew markworthy

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Posted January 10 2005 - 07:56 PM

Quote:
That's probably an imported Mei Ah (Hong Kong company) DVD. I've heard the quality of their discs is dubious.


Yes, but Kurosawa in a badly-presented form is still better than 99% of what's out there. I think we've got to face facts that a lot of Kurosawa's work is only going to be in pretty inferior R3 versions for some time to come, and it's them or nothing. [For Kurosawa newbies, it's often a surprise to learn that in addition to the samurai epics there is an equally good collection of his work dealing with domestic themes which is well worth exploring. Unfortunately in the west it's the samurai titles only that are generally available].

Unless your prime criterion for buying a DVD is how good it makes your system look, I'd say get this and then trade up if a better version ever comes along.

#7 of 10 OFFLINE   Gereon_B

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Posted January 10 2005 - 08:25 PM

IMDB says that no 244-minute-version of Dodes'kaden ever existed. This is the first time I hear about that; I always read that the studio cut down the movie. Maybe anybody of you can confirm this information on IMDB?

The Mei Ah Version of Dodes'kaden is hardly fun to watch; faded colour and terrible english subtitles...

#8 of 10 OFFLINE   Brian PB

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Posted January 11 2005 - 07:20 AM

I believe the confusion about the running time of Dodesukaden comes from Donald Richie's seminal book, The Films of Akira Kurosawa, in which he lists the running time at 244 minutes (3rd ed, 1996, pg. 257). Richie is careful to list the timing of alternate versions of Kurosawa's films (e.g., the export versions of The Hidden Fortress and The Bad Sleep Well), but does not list an alternate cut of Dodesukaden (unfortunately, this is the only one of the director's films for which he doesn't also provide the length of the film in meters, which could've helped to corroborate the correct running time). In the 10 pages of text he devotes to the film, he says nothing about it being a four-hour film edited down to two by an unhappy studio. In Richie's later work, A Hundred Years of Japanese Film (2001), the running time is listed as 140 minutes.

Many web resources write of an edited version performed against the director's will:
While it seems inconceivable that this picture would fail at the box office, fail it did upon its original release. The Japanese distributors hastily pared down the film's 244 minutes to 140 (unfortunately destroying the original negative in the process), but this version also came a cropper. [found here ]
This version of events has been repeated frequently on other Internet sites. Though the story is both detailed and believable, it appears to be false.


#9 of 10 OFFLINE   SteveGon

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Posted January 11 2005 - 05:13 PM

Quote:
For Kurosawa newbies, it's often a surprise to learn that in addition to the samurai epics there is an equally good collection of his work dealing with domestic themes which is well worth exploring.

True, but I've seen Dodes Ka Den and it's one of Kurosawa's weaker films. I'd probably rent it to see it again, but it's a no-buy for me.

#10 of 10 OFFLINE   andrew markworthy

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Posted January 12 2005 - 04:00 AM

I've just checked in Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto's 'Kurosawa' (Duke Press; recommended).He only gives a listing of 140 minutes and 12,566 feet. There is no mention of a suppressed longer version of the movie, no arguments with the producers (since this was a work for a collective, it's difficult to see how that would happen anyway). In addition, Yoshimoto provides a cogent analysis of the movie demonstrating that it isn't 'incomplete' and there is an underlying unity.

I agree with you Steve that it's not Kurosawa at his best (in part I suspect because he was struggling with dealing with colour film for the first time) but I still think it's worth seeing.

Incidentally, the film won several awards in Japan, so reaction to it can't have been all that bad.





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