I need help with three DVD purchases (French Connection, Hidden Fortress...)

Dome Vongvises

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I'm having a problem here. Today (09/25/01) I bought Citizen Kane and the Simpsons's Season One boxset. I'm running a little low on money right now, but I still go over to the Best Buy here in Lexington, KY. Browsing, I come upon three DVD's I want to get which brings me to my dilema.
1. Should I buy Hidden Fortress?
- For one thing, I've never seen the movie, but I've seen Seven Samurai, and I like the man, Akira Kurosawa. Also, I heard that this movie was part of the influence for Star Wars, so I'm curious to see what it's like.
2. Should I get the French Connection Box Set?
- No doubt, I will get the French Connection, but I've heard that FCII is only available in the boxset. What do you guys think?
3. Should I get Sanjuro?
- Again, I've never seen this movie, but I like what I've seen of Akira Kurosawa. I'm asking because I don't think I'll be able to get a hold of these two AK movies (AK? that sounds pretty cool) either at a rental store or a local library.
Oh well, thanx for any help.
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Kevin Leonard

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1. YES. Any Kurosawa in your collection is a good thing. It's more lighthearted than some of his earlier efforts, and yes, it's quite fun spotting the parts where Lucas borrowed from for Star Wars. Of course, Kurosawa gives some great fight scenes, but there's also a lot time devoted to shading in the characters' backgrounds as well as some choice moments of humor.
2. Well, The French Connection is a classic, but my memories of the sequel are a bit hazy. I can't recall much from the movies except for a rather nasty drug withdrawl sequence. I'm pretty sure the sequel will be available seperately in the future.
3. You should check out Yojimbo first. Sanjuro is the sequel. To give you an idea of what to expect, Yojimbo has been remade a few times in the US, as Last Man Standing and A Fistful of Dollars, I believe. Those two films are good, but nobody beats Kurosawa.

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[Edited last by Kevin Leonard on September 25, 2001 at 06:00 PM]
 

Dan Hitchman

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YES, YES, and YES (but watch Yojimbo first as stated above).
All quality movies of the highest caliber. You can't go wrong.
Dan
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Brad_W

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I own Yojimbo, Sanjuro, Seven Samurai, and the Samurai Trilogy: Get anything AK. Plus, These are all Criterion Films which mean they are not going to be around forever, whereas French Connection will.
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Kevin Leonard

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quote: I own Yojimbo, Sanjuro, Seven Samurai, and the Samurai Trilogy: Get anything AK. Plus, These are all Criterion Films which mean they are not going to be around forever[/quote]
Two things to note here:
1) Akira Kurosawa did not direct the Samurai trilogy. But Brad is right; it's a great trilogy to own and watch.
2) Criterion owns the Janus catalog, which in turn owns the Kurosawa library. So I think these Criterion-Kurosawa editions will remain in print for a long time.
Geez, I feel bad here; I'm starting to steer this towards the Software area...
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Have you ever noticed anyone driving slower than you is an idiot? And anyone driving faster than you is a maniac!! - George Carlin
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[Edited last by Kevin Leonard on September 25, 2001 at 10:40 PM]
 

Brad_W

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I knew that the Samurai trilogy wasn't directed by AK and I don't know why I mentioned them, maybe I got carried away with the whole samurai thing. Thanks though. Also, thanks for the info on the Janus catalogue. I wasn't aware of that and just expect Criterion films to go OOP.
word.
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SteveGon

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Definitely pick up The Hidden Fortress first!
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Stephen_M

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Answer to #2 - definitely FCII is worth a buy - a very underrated film and not a popular film at the time because it is more character-driven than the first one. And, one terrific ending - if just for the fact that it brings a definitive ending to the saga.
 

Rich Malloy

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3. Should I get Sanjuro? - Again, I've never seen this movie, but I like what I've seen of Akira Kurosawa. I'm asking because I don't think I'll be able to get a hold of these two AK movies (AK? that sounds pretty cool) either at a rental store or a local library.
If you haven't seen YOJIMBO, then get that one first. It's not only the original film of the series, it's the better film.
 

Dome Vongvises

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You say you've seen SEVEN SAMURAI, but you don't mention whether you have the disc. If not, it's a far, far better film. It's also a better disc, featuring one of the finest commentary tracks ever recorded. If you don't have either DVD, then I recommend you buy SEVEN SAMURAI and rent THE HIDDEN FORTRESS.
Al
- As a matter of fact, I do have Seven Samurai. Just check out my DVD collection link. It's very rare that I'll ever buy a disc the minute after finishing the movie. BTW, is your friend that has all those CC discs a millionaire or something? Man, that must cost a fortune. Tell him to get them insured.
Thanx everybody for the recommendations. The reason I want to look into Kurosawa is because I'm getting the impression from Seven Samurai and his other so-called great films that he's one of the few people ever to have made what I would deem a "smart" action movie. BTW, does anybody know anything about Ran? I heard it was a bloody version of King Lear or something like that.
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Edwin-S

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--BTW, does anybody know anything about Ran? I heard it was a bloody version of King Lear or something like that--
I saw this film quite a long time ago. It is a Japanese take on King Lear, I believe. It is a very good adaptation and has a unique style because of the use of the Japanese feudal system. I also bought and watched "Hidden Fortress". I thought it was a good film but to me the ending was illogical. It is worth picking up.
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Kevin Leonard

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It should be worth noting that Kurosawa did another Shakespeare/samurai adaptation: Throne of Blood, which is adapted from "Macbeth."
This may be a bit of a bold statement, but I firmly believe Throne of Blood is Kurosawa's finest work, and one of the top 3 Shakespeare adaptations. The atmosphere is very spooky and hypnotic, the acting and directing is perfect, and the battle scenes must be seen to be believed...especially the notorious barrage-of-arrows finales.
Sadly, it's only available on VHS...Criterion released a LD of it, so if you still have a player, you can hunt around for that. I've heard rumblings that Throne of Blood will be one of the next Kurosawa films to hit DVD, shortly after Criterion's Rashomon.
Still though, if you can find the VHS or LD of TOB cheap, pick it up. You won't be disappointed.
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Have you ever noticed anyone driving slower than you is an idiot? And anyone driving faster than you is a maniac!! - George Carlin
ICQ: 55259446 (or just search for "John Shaft"...can you dig?)
[Edited last by Kevin Leonard on September 27, 2001 at 02:24 AM]
 

Rich Malloy

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Yes, RAN is an adaptation of King Lear, but with sons rather than daughters and set in feudal Japan. It is, IMO, Kurosawa's best later work. I saw a restored print last Fall that looked quite nice (if not exactly pristine), and I keep hoping that this means a new DVD will be in the offing. The old one ain't so good.
Also, Criterion will be releasing RASHOMON (no street date yet slated).
 

Dome Vongvises

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Thanx for the help guys. I wish this thread could live a little longer, but it's served its purpose. I will definitely check out Yojimbo first thing. Stupid Best Buy, the one title they don't have...
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Dome Vongvises

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Well I'll be damnned...
I went to Best Buy this past Sunday, and I went ahead and picked up the lone French Connection (I hope I'm not missing much by not getting part II) when lo and behold, Yojimbo was available. So all things being said, Yojimbo is the second movie I've ever bought sight unseen (Citizen Kane being the first). Thanx for the recommendations. To read on for another story look down.
Best Buy is one of the best places to get the Criterion Collection movies. Here are some found in the local Lexington, KY area.
The Rock
Armageddon
Cries and Whispers
Seven Samurai
Yojimbo
Hidden Fortress (this one's mine!!! Mwahaha!!!)
Sanjuro
My Man Godfrey
Rushmore
All That Heaven Allows
The Third Man
Chasing Amy
Spartacus
Brazil
I could care less for the artsy fartsy ones, but I just wanted to let you know. Oh well, Best Buy just gets better and better. Best Buy, the last refuge for OAR and cheap prices.
Edit:
Black Narcissus
The Last Temptation of Christ
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[Edited last by Dome Vongvises on October 11, 2001 at 12:35 AM]
 

Seth Paxton

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The humor in Sanjuro actually makes me prefer it a tad more than Yojimbo.
Ran is excellent, containing one of the most beautifully shot battle scenes of all time. Speaking of older AK films, I am very fond of Dreams as well and would say it's a close call between it and Ran.
If you like Toshiro Mifune in those Kurosawa flicks, then follow the recommendations regarding the Samurai trilogy.
Also, I think Hidden Fortress is a terrific film. AK was way ahead of the curve by then. Simply amazing compared to other cinema at the time.
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