I’m half way through watching this film and whilst I am enjoying the film, I have been very disappointied with the picture quality. It is very dark and often hard to see. I wondered if anyone else had this problem as it doesn’t appear as if Crtierion has done much to improve the image.
I had trouble getting the disc to even play on my lcd screen. The picture would keep crashing. I think it has something to do with not being compatible with progressive scan (I can’t get my video player to used the interlaced mode). I could get it to play if I disconnected the component video and connected via the axial cable. But it looked awful that way. I resorted to watching it on my computer, which has a crt monitor, and it was much better.
Watching it on my laptop now. Definitely better but still not fantastic quality.
Scary. I just brought the box set…
If memory serves me correctly, I read somewhere a long time ago that the cinematography in the film is meant to be extremely dark. Like I said, it’s been a very long time since I read that, so I doubt I’d be able to find again where I read it.
Its a dark print for sure but as Amphetadex points out, I’m not even sure if a better one exists. Own the boxset personally and did indeed find it frustrating that half the film was basically staring at a black screen.
The huge and supposedly epic battle scene….I couldn’t make out anything.
“’The huge and supposedly epic battle scene….I couldn’t make out anything.”
Damn hell. Have not opened it yet. May take it back for refund…
I watched it recently and was disappointed with the quality as well. What’s odd is that the trailer packaged with them looks like it is a better print if I remember correct.
I’d say watch it on a screen that you can adjust settings on pretty precisely so that you can make the film look as good as it can to you. I happened to watch it on a TV that was calibrated in such a way that I could still see enough in the darker scenes to understand what was going on, and it definitely created an interesting atmosphere.
I do quite like the faded colours of old colour cinema. It lends a Hergé graphics atmosphere. Myamoto Musashi is exactly who Tintin would be if Tintin were a samurai.
I purchased this set through Barnes & Noble’s recent half price deals on Criterions (an extra 10% for members) and this bargain (60% off) almost compensates for the inferior video quality. Yes the night scenes are too dark/murky but thankfully are short and I can see enough details/action without adjusting the picture. The day scenes have acceptable color and brightness. The third/final disc has a lot of drop-offs and some repairs. Shame on Criterion for not doing their usual great restorations. They should remaster this set and allow owners to exchange these inferior ones for new editions. Audio commentaries would be a welcome addition.
This is one of the reasons why I didn’t go and buy the Samurai Trilogy, I’m gonna wait for Criterion to release it on blu-ray though (hopefully).
Look at the still on the previous page. It’s darkness is what we’re talking about.
Look at the still displayed on the previous page. Its darkness is exactly what we’re talking about. How ironic for Criterion to confirm our complaints….
What you mean John?
yeah, i’ve noticed picture quality problems as well.
but if it’s true that the cinematography was intended to be dark, it’s bound to look sub-par on lcd screens (which is what i recently watched it on) which aren’t able to display blacks and darker shades as well as a result of the backlight.
anybody watched it on a plasma?
An already bad and dark print and one of Criterions very first releases on dvd. If they can secure the rights, they will probably do a nice release on Blu Ray, hoepfully with commentary this time.
In bad need of a blu ray update.
Yeah Jason, real bad need for blu-ray update, that scene in the tree, with the village in the background would look gorgeous in blu.
I seriously doubt that any director or cinematographer in their right mind would intend a film to look that dark. Who knows, maybe the ostensibly sloppy editing was intentional as well. For the most part, it’s just an ugly film, not to mention boisterously western for a Japanese picture.
I’ve only ever seen these films on VHS. I just bought the DVDs off ebay, and I’m waiting for them to come in the mail. Sure, the picture quality was dark, but I rather liked it that way. I’m just looking forward to being able to read the subtitles. The subtitles on the VHS tapes are terrible.