Cheapest Place to find the "Seven Samurai"

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by ToddJ, Feb 10, 2003.

  1. ToddJ

    ToddJ Second Unit

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    I want to buy the Criterion version of Seven Samurai but everywhere I go it is around $29-39.00. Is there any place that is selling it for $20 or less?
     
  2. Rob Lutter

    Rob Lutter Producer

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    No. It is a Criterion DVD and carries an MSRP of $40... you are going to be hard-pressed to find it 1/2 off... I would say around $27-$30 is how much you are going to find it everywhere.
     
  3. Brian E

    Brian E Screenwriter

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  4. Adam Brandner

    Adam Brandner Stunt Coordinator

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    Don't buy Seven Samurai unless you already own Yojimbo, Sanjuro, and the Hidden Fortress. If you don't own these movies, buy the Criterion Kurosawa box set instead. It consists of those three movies, plus Seven Samurai, and according to http://www.dvdpricesearch.com , the cheapest you can get this set for is $66.36 shipped. That's about $16.50 per movie for titles that are typically $25+ on their own. The worse case scenario is that you pick up the set, hate the extra 3 movies and ebay them each separately, probably recouping the cost of the entire set.
     
  5. Chad A Wright

    Chad A Wright Supporting Actor

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    I bought the box set when it first came out because it was such a great deal. I wish they would do a similar box for some more of Kurosawa's films.
     
  6. Terry St

    Terry St Second Unit

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    If you want the cheapest R1 versions of these, that Criterion box set looks like the way to go. Once you start watching Kurosawa films you'll be hooked and will own them all eventually anyways. [​IMG] Other R1 versions may exist (I haven't seen any), but they're probably of the same pitiful quality that typically gets aired on TV.

    As for the quality of the Criterion DVD's... They vary a bit, and not all of them are that great. Typically they include at least a theatrical trailer. Some include essays, commentary tracks, good liner notes, or interviews with modern directors who sometimes spend more time talking about their own films than about Kurosawa's. (e.g. George Lucas on The Hidden Fortress) Compared to recent releases (e.g. Royal Tenebaums) the special features are rather lean, even on the best of these releases. I'm not a big special features man, so this doesn't annoy me that much. What does annoy me is the apparant lack of effort that went into some of these transfers. Many look like they just dumped whatever film elements they found straight to disc. Others appear to have been cleaned up quite a bit. (Rashomon looks quite good actually) None of these transfers is even close to being in the same league as some other transfers that have been done lately. (e.g. Metropolis, Sunset Blvd, Thief of Bagdad.) The audio on most of these discs is a bit hissy, but that is to be expected given the age of these films. It would be nice to see better transfers, especially considering the premium prices on these DVD's. Perhaps Criterion thinks that Kurosawa films are too low-volume to make a first-rate restoration effort cost effective. They may be right. In any case, while I respect Criterion, I have to call things as I see them. There is definately room for improvement here.

    Once you finish with Seven Samurai or that box set, I suggest you also pick up Rashomon. (Another Criterion release that is actually half decent, although the audio is still pretty harsh) It floored me more than any other Kurosawa flick I've seen so far. Kurosawa's excellent Samurai trilogy (based on the life of Musashi Miromoto) is also out on Criterion. I don't think there is a box set of the three though, which is a bit of a ripoff. I've encountered a lot of people who immediately say "Yojimbo, Sanjuro, Seven Samurai" when they hear "Kurosawa's Samurai Trilogy". They're not the same thing. Dreams, Ran, and Ikiru are coming out in R1 this year I believe. It looks like Ran will get a far better transfer than has been available to date. (The one I own now is pretty bad) Kurosawa has done some awesome Shakespeare adaptations. Hopefully we'll see Throne of Blood before too long as well.

    I will cut myself off mid-ramble since most sane people have probably long since stopped reading. It is sufficient to say that Kurosawa celluloid is an addictive substance not entirely unlike crack. Enjoy!
     

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