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Silent Ozu
Three Family Comedies
(Eclipse Series 10)

review by Zach B.

 

 

Not Rated

Running Time: 280 minutes

Directed by: Yasujiro Ozu

 

 

Studio: Criterion

Retail Price: $49.99

Features: None

Specs: 1.33:1 Full Screen, Stereo, English Subtitles, Chapter Stops (Tokyo Chorus - 13, I Was Born, But... - 16, Passing Fancy - 15), Three-Disc Set

Released: April 22nd, 2008

 

 


These three comedies - "Tokyo Chorus," "I Was Born, But..." and "Passing Fancy" - are all a bit tough to grade on the video scale, but given their age (all were made in the early 1930s), are certainly passable. The source material is not in the best shape - scratches, blemishes, dirt, lines and all sorts of flaws are abound, but this to be expected and Criterion has done their best. The black and white cinematography seems to be exposed and adjusted decently: the movies look a bit soft, but not as soft as I anticipated. Detail is fine all things considered, too. But really, this is a set for its content and not its video quality.

 


There really is not much to say for this section, since these are silent films. However, composer Donald Sosin has written brand-new scores to go along with the movies that are presented here. The scores fit pretty remarkably actually, and are an alternate stereo track. Of course it is a limited track, but fidelity is pretty high and a richness can still be felt from Sosin's compositions.  

Of course, English subtitles are included.

 


Like all other Eclipse sets, there is nothing here. However, inside the keep case for each film are some outstanding liner notes.

 


This is yet another stellar Eclipse set, that all serious film buffs and students should look into. Not only do Yasujiro Ozu's silent comedies provide a glimpse into a special age of cinema, but these warm-hearted comedies are terrifically entertaining and relatable over 75 years later. Recommended.