Rashomon vs. Seventh Seal vs. Seven Samurai: What older/classix to get?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Aaron D, May 29, 2002.

  1. Aaron D

    Aaron D Stunt Coordinator

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    [I'm not sure where to post this, but I'll put it in Movies since I need insight into what's actually good and not disc details (mods please move to HT software if need be).]
    Inspired by some recent postings here and conversations with some influential movie buffs, I am buying some older films, I just need help deciding on what to get since I haven't seen any of these.
    They all look great on reviews, but I can't justify (at least to the wife [​IMG] ) spending a ton of money on something I haven't seen. (Somewhere around a half a ton is OK, though!)
    I am, of course, open to other suggestions as well!
    Little help here?
    Thanks,
    A
     
  2. Tony Stirling

    Tony Stirling Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, you can't go wrong with any of these. If I had to pick one for my first one out of these 3 that you have mentioned, I'd pick Seven Samurai but any Kurosawa will be great. Incidentally, the first Kurosawa film I saw was Rashomon at a film festival years and years ago. It sticks in your mind long after you see it and it's brilliant. I also love Bergman, and The Seventh Seal is fantastic, but perhaps the overall scope of Seven Samurai will appeal to more people.

    Here's what you ought to do: get one each month!!! That way it won't matter which one you'll get, and you're likely to love all of them. enjoy

    tony
     
  3. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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    I would also put in a vote for Seven Samurai. However, as with any blind purchase, I would suggest renting them out first before buying any sight unseen. Netflix has recently increased its supply of Criterion discs and this would be a good way to sample them first.

    ~Edwin
     
  4. Matt Pelham

    Matt Pelham Screenwriter

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    Yes, One more vote for the Seven Samurai. It also has very decent rewatch value, which is saying a lot for a movie over 3 1/2 hours long!

    As long as you are purchasing older (criterion) movies, might I suggest the Third Man and/or Notorious? Both excellent movies with excellent discs.
     
  5. Brian Kaz

    Brian Kaz Second Unit

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    Yep, Seven Samurai all the way. And because it's so long you get a great value as well! [​IMG]
    I have this on DVD and yet every time it's on TV I watch it to the very end no matter where I picked up from.
     
  6. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    Here's my two cents:
    I think Seven Samurai is a damn good start. On a purely superficial level, it is a pretty good action flick. You've got seven samurai who protect a village from a bunch of rogues. Throw in some pretty cool action scenes (not bad for a black and white 1940's/50's/60's movie) and you've got yourself a pretty unique gems amongst the various guns and ammo flicks.
    Then there's the technical craft of Kurosawa that many years of film-watching will give you the knowledge to appreciate.
    Seventh Seal is a pretty heavy film, but to be honest, I watched it twice and under seperate conditions. The first time, I treated it very seriously as an important allegory on religion and death. The second time, I saw it as a Monty Python film with hot Swedish chicks. [​IMG]
    Rashomon, thanks to Kurosawa once more, can be simply seen as a "courtroom" drama of sorts. That's a pretty simple explanation, but the whole shebang is about the nature of truth itself. Sure it's been done many times, but to Rashomon was one of the first, and it is one of the best.
     
  7. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    Seven Samurai

    then Rashomon

    then 7th Seal


    All are very good films though. Samurai is simply the best total film package. Good art, good narrative, morals, fun, action, drama.

    But I think Rashomon is much more ambitious in terms of cinematography, and the DVD really kicks butt.

    7th Seal needs to at least be seen though, so make sure to take time to rent it.
     
  8. Brian W.

    Brian W. Screenwriter

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    I'd vote for Rashomon, then Seven Samurai, then Seventh Seal. Although, if you plan to see all three and want to go for image quality first, make it Seventh Seal.
     
  9. Jim Rankin

    Jim Rankin Stunt Coordinator

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    Aaron, interesting thread - I watched Rashomon for the first time last week and have had a raging war in my head as to which Kurosawa film I like the best - it's still undecided! But for now I will agree with the rest of the panel and suggest Seven Samurai as your first purchase. All 3 of these films are a foundation for a serious collection. My only suggestion is when you go for an Ingmar Bergman film consider Wild Strawberries too, very accessible and a great Criterion disc to boot!
     
  10. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    I also saw Rashomon recently and is very unconventional when compared to the Seven Samurai. I say go for Seven Samurai first
     
  11. Aaron D

    Aaron D Stunt Coordinator

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    It seems as though the consensus is Seven Samurai, so I will start with this and be ready for more.

    Thanks for the insight!

    A
     
  12. Lars Vermundsberget

    Lars Vermundsberget Supporting Actor

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    I think the Criterion Collection is a great way to discover classics - and the DVDs are great in other ways as well, of course. I've got just a few of them so far, but I'm about to get more of them soon. I'm not looking to build a complete collection of CCs at this point, though...

    Any suggestions for "overlooked" Criterions?
     
  13. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Aaron, be sure you don't overlook the commentary on SEVEN SAMURAI. To this day, it's still one of the best ever recorded.

    (And be forewarned that the picture quality is a bit rough in the opening of the first reel, and also around the reel markers, but overall the image quality is positively gorgeous.)
     
  14. Deepak Shenoy

    Deepak Shenoy Supporting Actor

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    I second Jim Rankin's suggestion that you should pick up Wild Strawberries before The Seventh Seal. Other Bergman films that are more accessible than The Seventh Seal are Autumn Sonata and Cries and Whispers. I haven't been able to fully digest The Seventh Seal to this day. You really can't go wrong with any of the Criterion DVDs. I have been picking up a couple every month and haven't come across anything that I did not like.
     
  15. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    You must have all 3.
    My favorite of the 3 would be Seven Samurai
     
  16. Jun-Dai Bates

    Jun-Dai Bates Stunt Coordinator

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    All three are excellent films. The transfer on the Seven Samurai disc is less than stellar (this is only because they fit a 3.5 hour, 4:3 film onto a single RSDL disc, which is, I believe, almost as much compression as a dvd transfer can have), but the film is great, and you probably won't get a chance to see it any better than this for a long time.

    I prefer Seven Samurai as a film over the other two, but I did buy them all, and have no regrets. All things considered, I would probably recommend Rashomon first. It's very accessible (not that Seven Samurai isn't), it isn't so long, and it is a wonderful dvd.

    But I would also recommend 8 1/2, Grand Illusion, L'Avventura, and The Children of Paradise (in that order) as four absolutely fantastic dvds, and as four films that no one interested in film should neglect to see. After that I would recommend Seven Samurai, Rashomon and The Seventh Seal. Less accessible, but every bit as good (if you have the patience to learn to love these films) are Playtime, Autumn Sonata, and Cries&Whispers. But I would never recommend that you buy them before seeing them.

    Definitely get 8 1/2 before any other (says me).
     
  17. Bruce Hedtke

    Bruce Hedtke Cinematographer

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    I will go against the grain somewhat and recommend The Seventh Seal first. It is difficult to a degree, but it is also hugely rewarding. That's not to say that the films of Akira Kurosawa aren't rewarding. They certainly are and he is every bit a master film-maker as Ingmar Bergman...but, personally, The Seventh Seal had a certain poetry that I just found intoxicating.
    But, like everyone else said-buy them all! The Seventh Seal, Rashomon, The Seven Samurai are all considered landmark films and for good reason.
    Bruce
     
  18. Aaron D

    Aaron D Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm wearing out my stylus putting all these suggestions into my PDA's "Want/Need to see file!"

    I haven't been this excited to see/buy films since I "discovered" Kevin Smith and Quentin T. a few years ago. (Hey, I'm only 25, at least I'm TRYING to slowly work my way backwards to the classics! There's only so much time in a day!)

    Keep 'em coming!

    A
     
  19. GregoryM

    GregoryM Agent

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    Those are three good ones to start with. Some more that you may want to consider once you have those (in each category listed in the order in which I would recommend them):
    For more great Kurosawa, you might consider Yojimbo and Sanjuro.
    Orson Welles:
    Citizen Kane
    The Third Man
    Touch of Evil
    Great movies on bare bones discs, but well worth it just for the movie:
    The Bicycle Thief
    Double Indemnity
    The Maltese Falcon
    Hitchcock on Criterion:
    Notorious
    The 39 Steps
    Rebecca
    The Lady Vanishes
    Hitchcock on Universal Special Editions:
    Vertigo
    Psycho
    Rear Window
    Shadow of a Doubt
    The Birds
     
  20. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    Maltese Falcon - the stuff that dreams are made of.
    Greg's recommendations are all good. I understand that for any "newbie" to classic film that some of these films can seem inaccessible at first. But when you start to adjust just a little bit there is so much great stuff out there.
    One thing a lot of classic older films have in spades...tremendous dialog. Thus the Falcon quote above for example.
    Touch of Evil seems a bit awkward to a first viewing, a little dated perhaps, but when you step past that you notice all this incredible dialog in the film. The last 15 minutes or so is one long quote fest. "That's the second bullet I've taken for you" [​IMG] good stuff
    Oh, and just to check, if anyone hasn't seen Casablanca I'd say you really are missing out. Few people don't love that film, it's so totally well-rounded that it has appeal to damn near anybody.
     

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