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  • 1.33:1 Standard
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Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto

1998 Edition
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Hiroshi Inagaki
Starring: Toshiro Mifune, Rentaro Mikuni, Kuroemon Onoe, Kaoru Yachigusa, Mariko Okada, Mitsuko Mito, Eiko Miyoshi, Akihiko Hirata
1954 | 93 Minutes | Licensor: Toho Co.

Release Information
DVD | MSRP: $29.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #14 | Out of print
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: July 21, 1998
Review Date: April 1, 2009

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Hiroshi Inagaki's acclaimed Samurai Trilogy is based on the novel that has been called Japan's Gone with the Wind. This sweeping saga of the legendary seventeenth-century samurai Musashi Miyamoto (powerfully portrayed by Toshiro Mifune) plays out against the turmoil of a devastating civil war. The Trilogy follows Musashi's odyssey from unruly youth to enlightened warrior. In the first part, Musashi Miyamoto, the hero's dreams of military glory end in betrayal, defeat, and a fugitive lifestyle. But he is saved by a woman who loves him and a cunning priest who guides him to the samurai path. This installment won the 1955 Academy Award® for Best Foreign Film.

Forum members rate this film 7.2/10


Discuss the film and DVD here   


Criterionís DVD releases for Hiroshi Inagakiís Samurai trilogy rank among their worst, each disc getting progressively worse. The first part, Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this single-layer disc.

As I mentioned it is a lousy looking image. The print isnít in the best shape, presenting plenty of marks, debris, lines, and many other issues. This is probably the least of the imageís problems, though. The image looks highly compressed, presenting plenty of artifacts, halos, edge-enhancement, and at times it looks like objects are floating off of the screen. Colours look lousy, though do look better than the other films. Thereís an overall greenish/yellow hue. Blacks are too dark and night scenes are near impossible to see.

Itís lousy overall, but sadly looks the best of the three titles.


All DVD screen captures are presented in their original size from the source disc. Images have been compressed slightly to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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All three releases are about the same audio wise. The Japanese mono tracks are weak and sound fairly compressed. Music is edgy and bland, and sound effects, specifically in action scenes, lack any real power. Itís just another bland aspect to these bland releases.



This is bare bones. You get a theatrical trailer and an essay by Bruce Eder.



Criterionís releases for the Samurai trilogy rank among their worst titles. They look and sound awful, and sadly this one is probably the best of the set. The DVDs were originally sold separately but were rereleased together in a boxset with slightly different cover art. Unfortunately they didnít do anything else with it and the discs themselves are the same. As a whole they're an aggravating set of releases.

View packaging for this DVD


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