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Kurosawa: Classic Collection [DVD] [1952]

4.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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  • Kurosawa: Classic Collection [DVD] [1952]
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Product details

  • Actors: Toshiro Mifune
  • Directors: Akira Kurosawa
  • Format: Box set, Dolby, HiFi Sound, PAL, Surround Sound
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: BFI Video
  • DVD Release Date: 24 Oct. 2011
  • Run Time: 673 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005HPQ7MI
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 24,713 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Kurosawa: Classic Collection

Akira Kurosawa, one of the cinema's greatest auteurs, has wowed audiences and inspired filmmakers as diverse as George Lucas and Sergio Leone. This essential 5-disc box set brings together five of his most profound masterpieces exploring the many complexities of life. Included here is the beautifully nuanced Ikiru (1952); the nuclear threat themed drama I Live in Fear (1949); the humane masterpiece Red Beard (1965); the acclaimed Maxim Gorky adaptation The Lower Depths (1957); and Kurosawa's acclaimed first colour film Dodes Ka-den (1970).

Special Features:

  • Extensive illustrated booklet featuring essays and film notes

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
IKURU > I LIVE IN FEAR > LOWER DEPTHS > RED BEARD > DODES'KA-DEN
These loosely-themed BFI Kurosawa box sets are often available for under £20 in the periodic Amazon sales, so they are a convenient & affordable way to get a comprehensive Kurosawa library.
This box contains 5 films on 5 discs (with a little booklet of notes & some Alex Cox introductions) & is called `Classic Collection', which doesn't necessarily mean `best' or `most popular' - if you want Kurosawa's greatest hits you should get the `Samurai Collection' box set. `Classic' here seems to mean `serious' - these are Kurosawa's more serious films, many of them literary adaptations and, as such, this collection will probably appeal mostly to long-time aficionados of vintage Japanese cinema.
IKURU (1952) is the best known film here - a poignant story of a terminally ill office worker fighting against bureaucracy & conformity on behalf of others & finding a meaning to his life in the process.
I LIVE IN FEAR (1955) is about an old man obsessed with the idea that Japan will again be a victim of atomic annihilation - is his paranoia a symptom of madness or unflinching sanity? This might not be what people want or expect from a Kurosawa movie but, in its own terms, it's quite successful & provocative - and given the recent nuclear accident in Japan, still relevant.
RED BEARD (1965) took 2 years to make & was the most expensive ever Japanese film - it must be one of the longest too (170 minutes) & is an episodic narrative about a humane doctor trying to modernise & reform his feudal community. Red Beard is difficult to resist but, depending on your point of view, it is either Kurosawa's ultimate humanist masterpiece or where self-indulgence & sentimentality started to take over.
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By Malarchy VINE VOICE on 23 Dec. 2013
Format: DVD
The Classic Collection of Kurosawa films is a British Film Insitute product compiling 5 of Akira Kurosawa's works. They are Ikiru, I Live In Fear, The Lower Depths, Red Beard, and Dodes'ka Den. Not all of these film titles will be household names. Ikiru and Red Beard perhaps have achieved greater notability but compared to for instance the The Samurai Collection it is a set of slightly less well known pieces of cinema. This is still Kurosawa though and this collection which is mainly a set of human interest stories is fascinating.

The production quality is variable. Ikiru and The Lower Depths have some really grainy scenes. In particular some of the indoor scenes in Ikiru have struggled to sustain the test of time. The grainy and scratchy visuals could be off-putting for those who find themselves distracted by such things. For those of us who focus more on the great stories being told the less than ideal picture quality is entirely forgiveable. The films are in Japanese with British English subtitles.

Classic Collection starts out with Ikiru. It is argued by some to be Kurosawa's finest work. That would be a bit of a stretch considering the incredible films he made but as an emotional human interets piece with complex morality and huge portions of commentary on Japanese social structure it is terrific.

Compared to the listed 143 minute run time for the original, there are 9 minutes of cuts in this version. As it is such a slow film with moments of utter stillness, the loss of that amount of time is obviously not the original Kurosawa intention but is no disaster.

Ikiru is the story of a senior local council bureaucrat named Watanabe.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
As owner of both the BFI 'Samurai' and 'Crime' Kurosawa collections, this was the next logical purchase, for me. I've resisted, so far, their 'Early' Kurosawa collection. I've bought these as wonderful collector's items, to enjoy the films, appreciate the diversity of the director and relish the lovely presentation and authorative booklet. And, to support the BFI, who do a splendid job, bringing often unseen and unknown films to film-lovers such as you and me.

Akira Kurosawa will forever be synonymous with his world-dominating, ground-breaking take on the samurai and one that he'll be remembered for, above all else. However, he was far from being a one-genre director and in many ways, classics such as Ikiru (included here) are their equal.

Many in the 'Crime Collection' set (which I've also reviewed) - Drunken Angel, Stray Dog and High & Low, 3 in particular, which all show this master director turning to contemporary issues, of a hugely changing Japan. Even if you don't consider them classics, they're as good as anything Hollywood did - OK, minus 'our' iconic screen idols, look at them as very good dramas dealing with big issues of the time; usually in a thoroughly entertaining and accomplished way.

I have digressed, my point having been to show that alternative Kurosawa's are often the equal to his famous films and thus worthy of our attention; so now to this set.

As other reviewers have said, you get two extra films never released on DVD before - Lower Depths and Dodes'Ka-Den and so avid Kurosawa fans and completists will get something extra. For me, it's Red Beard that I most wanted to see, whilst I Live in Fear touches on Ozu territory, in its poignant and respectful look at cold-war paranoia that the whole of the developed world suffered.
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