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The Mizoguchi Collection [DVD] 
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OSAKA ELEGY (1936) Ayako agrees to enter into an affair with her married boss after he promises to support her and her father THE STORY OF THE LAST CRYSANTHEMUM (1939) a young actor is forced to deal with his family after he becomes shunned by them over his new relationship. SISTERS OF THE GION (1936) Two giesha sisters disagree over how to deal with the men controlling their lives and livelihoods. UTAMARO AND HIS FIVE WIVES (1946) Utamaro, a great artist, lives to create portraits of beautiful women. And the brothels of Tokyo provide his models. A world of passion swirls around him and the women all vie for his attention
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Top Customer Reviews
The last two movies are also very important in the master's career and are produced in 1939 and 1946. There is a melancholy with a very pleasant echo in Mizoguchi's products and these two carry this torch, but stay within the chosen path. Regarding the quality of image and sound, I definitely have the same feeling as for the first two.
There are no extras or booklets within the box and this is a major fault for this box, clearly! It is kind of expensive without those elements but worth the buy for collectors nonetheless.
recommended for the serious: Mark Le Fanu's Mizoguchi and Japan, ISBN 1-84457-057-6
I have now watched THE STORY OF THE LAST CRYSANTHEMUM and whilst, yes, this is not a high definition digital transfer, it is better than the UTAMARO disc, albeit in lowish contrast and with some 'developer-stain ghosting' from one of the transfer negatives/positives. It is a brilliant insight into the lives of Kabuki actors - and indeed we see some Kabuki performances towards the end of this bitter-sweet film.
By comparison, these lack contrast, the subtitling is inferior, and both suffer from what I can only describe as a kind of digital banding (which I presume might be a compression anomaly). This banding becomes particularly evident in low-light shots and dark sections of the frame. Thankfully, it isn't apparent on UTAMARO AND HIS FIVE WOMAN or THE STORY OF THE LAST CRYSANTHEMUM, but given the underwhelming standard of the transfers, one might as well opt for the less expensive DVD versions (for what it's worth).
Despite my disappointment with this set as a whole, I am at least very pleased that UTAMARO and CRYSANTHEMUM (two very fine Mizoguchi films) are now available on DVD. Until new prints are found, or a company like Criterion or The Film Foundation decide to restore them, these are probably as good as we're likely to see.
While I'm having a moan, I may as well take a swipe at Artificial Eye's short branding animation that automatically plays after their discs are loaded. If it was silent (like the Criterion one), it wouldn't be an issue, but the annoying accompanying music is very grating, especially when the same clip is played (and cannot be fast-forwarded) immediately prior to the film playing. Grr. It's irritating when companies over-market themselves to those who have already bought into what they offer. In terms of generating brand awareness and loyalty, it must be somewhat counter-productive.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In those years the characterisics of people mannerism in acting are noteworthy.Published on 7 July 2014 by kamal gupta
I bought this box set of films because I thought the BD edition would have been superior to that of the DVDs. But it isn't so. The quality of the film is not very good. Read morePublished on 14 Mar. 2014 by Mario
The 4 films are of sheer beauty. The packaging by Artificial Eye is of sheer beauty as well. I especially like the slim blu ray cases and off course the movies themselves. Read morePublished on 15 Nov. 2013 by starlightspacelab
Arguably the greatest film-makers in the World between 1945 and 1965 were the Japanese, and possibly the greatest individual director of that period was Mizoguchi Kenji. Read morePublished on 17 Jun. 2013 by Alan