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Squish

too bad about your copy. I saw that sort of thing in No Regrets For Our Youth. Another couple tidbits: the women playing the workers were somewhat spoled acrtresses, and to enhance their performance, were asked to live simply, live together and live in a barracks while the film was being shot. Kurosawa's autobiography tells us that in hindsight he found this to be a little too harsh on his part. However, the lead acress became Kurosawa's wife shortly thereafter!

Brian

If it's 1944, it must be a Blog-a-Thon! This is one of the many Kurosawa films I've yet to see. I had Squish's experience watching the Mei Ah No Regrets For Our Youth, and decided not to prioritize watching those discs. Hopefully, if the forthcoming Eclipse series of A.K.'s post-war films is a success, there will be a similar DVD treatment of his wartime films. Better yet (in my opinion), a touring retrospective of film prints? There was a Kurosawa/Mifune series making the rounds a few years ago, but perhaps it's time for an "ObsKurosawa" festival of his lesser-known films?

Thom

Thanks guys.

Squish - Regardless any technical problems on the DVD I'm just happy to be able to contribute to your blog-a-thon despite the (U.S.A.-only) holiday this week. Also, since I'm not a Kurosawa expert (only seen four films so far) I wanted to review a flick that might not get much attention. Lucky for me it was made in the same period I'm currently engaging on this blog. I found The Most Beautiful ok entertainment, but an excellent record of homefront service that compares to American films from the same period concerned with similar subjects such as Tender Comrade (1943).

Brian - Indeed my quick time travel ahead three years is the result of a blog-a-thon. I'm still searching for a DVD of the feature from 1941 that I want to tie into the WWII fillm discussion ongoing here since 1939 and might have to change tactics. Back to the Kurosawa, let's cross our collective fingers that the retrospective you're pining for does indeed come to pass.

Joe Thompson

Thom: This was a nice analysis of a propaganda movie. We often see Allied propaganda and sometimes German propaganda from WWII, but not Japanese propaganda. I had a chance to see the Emperor's first movie, "Sugata Sanshiro", in a series at San Francisco's Parkside Theater. You might enjoy it if you can find it. The subtitles were as bad as the ones you described for this movie.

The Fox Parkside was a nice art deco house built in 1928. In the late 1970s, it was deemed too big for the neighborhood, so they put a nursery school in the main floor. They continued to show movies in the evening, with everyone sitting in the balcony. I was sad when it closed around 1990.

Regards,
Joe Thompson ;0)

Thom

Hiya Joe, thanks for stopping by again.

Glad you like the post. I'm discovering that homefront stories made by the Axis side during WWII are rare on DVD. As a matter of fact, I'm having a difficult time locating rentable DVDs of features (outside of documentaries) released by any of the Axis powers during the war. I've had the most luck with output from Germany (as we'll see in a couple of upcoming posts) but almost nothing from Italy or Japan. That being the case, it was a happy coincidence that Squish's blog-a-thon led me to find Kurosawa's The Most Beautiful.

I would like to see the director's feature debut that you mention, but I'm going to wait until a new DVD version is available (don't want to repeat the Mei ah experience) or, if I should be so lucky, somebody local will show a print of it in a retro series.

I like your reminiscence about the movie palace. I find it interesting that ideal or unusual exhibition experiences tend to become intertwined with our recollections of certain movies. I wonder if Brian has a memory of seeing something in the Parkside too.

Brian

Indeed I do- my dad took me and my brother to a double bill of Raiders of the Lost Ark and the Man Who Would Be King there.

I watched Sanshiro Sugata on a Sony-produced VHS years ago. I don't remember the subtitles being problematic, and in fact Sony's VHS releases of Japanese films from that era were generally of a pretty good quality.

Thom

Brian - I figured you might recall Joe's theatre-turned-preschool-turned-whatevertheheckistherenow. Hope we brought up happy memories for ya (Raiders just has to be).

Sanshiro Sugata on Sony VHS? What's VHS? Just kidding...I bet a certain local video store will have it on videotape and that may be the ideal way to dig into other early Kurosawa without the aforementioned gripes too. Thanks for the info, pal.

btw, are you still deluged with film fests down in your neck of the woods? I put Marines Who Never Return (available from DVDAsian) on my to-see list when I reach the Korean War era on your recommendation.

Brian

Just one left before the year ends- the Silent Film Festival's one-day winter program next Saturday, which I'm really looking forward to of course. I've been reading a lot about Intolerance and am excited to finally see it in the best print possible, on the big screen, and with an ace organist behind the Wurlitzer. I found it underwhelming on VHS/TV and perhaps I will again under these circumstances. But I'm glad I'm getting such a great shot at re-evaluation.

I'm glad your interest was piqued by my mention of Marines Who Never Returned. If you can track down a Flower in Hell it's even better, though the Korean War and its effects are more suggested than the focus of the film.

One thing to clarify about my previous comment: when I said "era" I meant the late eighties/early nineties when Sony was releasing things like Sanshiro Sugata, Naruse's Mother, Teshigahra's the Face of Another, etc. on VHS. I don't think I've seen any wartime Japanese films on VHS except for that one Kurosawa, and Janus's release of Story of the Last Chrysanthemum by Mizoguchi.

Thom

Gotcha, thanks for clarifying Bri.

You know, even on the DVD version Intolerance invokes awe and exhaustion through sheer size, scale and scope. I'll bet you're in for a once in a lifetime treat because that film packs a wallop (though I remember being put off by Griffith beating his message into the ground for three hours--there's something to be said for subtlety). I'd love to know how it comes across in an ideal setting. Here's looking forward to a post about your experience with Griffith's masterwork on your blog...and try not to whistle at the semi-nude virgins in the love temple ;)

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