Early Summer / What Did the Lady Forget? (DVD + Blu-ray) 
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The Ozu Collection
EARLY SUMMER + WHAT DID THE LADY FORGET? (DVD + Blu-ray)
Films by Yasujiro Ozu
When family, friends and colleagues pressure Noriko played with enigmatic brilliance by Setsuko Hara (Tokyo Story, Late Spring) to marry they provoke a surprising decision with wide-reaching consequences. A wonderfully poised ensemble work, Yasujiro Ozu's Early Summer presents the intricacies and contradictions of three generations who have lived through the end of an era and are looking towards the new.
Also included here is Ozu's comic pre-war feature, What Did the Lady Forget?, which plays with the themes of emasculation and feminine assertion. By escaping the strictures of his tyrannical wife, browbeaten Professor Komiya falls into the clutches of his audacious niece, Setsuko.
- Standard Definition and High Definition presentations of Early Summer (DVD and Blu-ray)
- Standard Definition presentation of What Did the Lady Forget? (DVD only)
- Fully illustrated booklet with newly commissioned essay by Michael Atkinson, director biography by Tony Ryans, as well as Chishu Ryu on working with Ozu
- New and improved English subtitles
Japan | 1951 + 1937 | black and white | Japanese language, English subtitles | 125 minutes + 73 minutes | Original aspect ratio 1.33:1
Disc 1: BD25 | 1080p | 24fps | PCM mono audio (48k/16-bit)
Disc 2: DVD9 | PAL | PCM mono audio (48k/16-bit) + Dolby Digital mono audio (320kbps)
Region B Blu-ray
Region 2 DVD
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Top Customer Reviews
Ozu's greatness is evidenced by a staggeringly high level of consistency throughout his output from his early silents to his final austere masterworks. The main dish here is the wonderful Early Summer. Though overlooked by the reputations of Late Spring and Tokyo Story (the other two parts of the loose `Noriko Trilogy' which feature Hara Setsuko playing unconnected characters who share the same name) the film is possibly the most ambitious of the three and is fully their equal in terms of artistic achievement. BFI have provided a beautiful transfer here with images and sound ideally sharp. The region 1 Criterion version comes from the same source and has a Donald Richie audio commentary which must be worth hearing. However, if you go for it you will miss the precious rarity provided here by BFI - What Did the Lady Forget? This is a bubbly social satire in the manner of Ernst Lubitsch and shines fascinating light on a period of Ozu's career not well known to many.Read more ›
"What Did The Lady Forget" (1937) is more of a melodrama, yet it too deals with the old and the new : here, it is the rebellious, headstrong young woman, at odds with her conservatively authoritarian aunt, and encouraging her uncle to assert himself against her - all portrayed with typical Ozu restraint and gentility.
First, the good news. The transfer IS sharper, clearer and has improved contrast over the Tartan DVD 'Noriko Trilogy' version of this film that I've previously seen. You can see more detail in faces and expressions - which is a major bonus, given Ozu's minimalist approach to cinematography. You can also see more fine object detail.
Now to the bad - or not so good - news. There is a significant amount of print damage - such as scratches, flecks, spots and other issues. These ARE present in the Tartan DVD version (I went back to check), but clearly the BFI has not tried a super extensive restoration here. No doubt it would be a very challenging job. There is also noticeable wander of the print from cut to cut. The picture moves a fair amount during cuts. Once again this is present in the Tartan release. Lastly, the audio is standard definition mono. However there are no serious issues with it. Besides most of the audience will probably be watching with subtitles at any rate. (There is the option to watch without subtitles.)
I will post back with an update about the extras but I did notice that there's a little booklet with details about Ozu and about the film. This also mentions that the BFI will - eventually - release 32 (!) of Ozu's films on Blu-ray, apparently.
The packaging is not as attractive as Tartan's gate-fold type 'Noriko' boxset, but is serviceable.
Overall, this film is an above average improvement on the DVD of the film - I'd give it 4/5 stars. If you are an Ozu fan, I'd recommend it as an upgrade from the DVD.Read more ›