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Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island

1998 Edition
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Hiroshi Inagaki
Starring: Toshiro Mifune, Koji Tsuruta, Kaoru Yachigusa, Mariko Okada, Michiko Saga, Takashi Shimura
| Minutes | Licensor: Toho Co.

Release Information
DVD | MSRP: $29.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #16 | 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 (whose first part won an Academy Award®) follows Musashi's odyssey from unruly youth to enlightened warrior. In the third installment, Duel at Ganryu Island, Musashi reunites tragically with the women who love him, and battles for samurai supremacy in a climactic confrontation with his lifelong nemesis.

Forum members rate this film 7.1/10


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Criterionís release of the third and final film in Hiroshi Inagakiís Samurai trilogy, Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island, is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this single-layer disc. Shockingly, considering how awful the other two discs are, Samurai III presents the worst image.

The print again presents its fair share of damage (marks, tears, lines, scratches, and so forth), the colours look muted and again lean towards a heavy yellowish/greenish hue. Blacks are again too dark and there are sequences hard to see because of it. Artifacts are even worse, though, and this may have to do with the fact that this transfer, of the three, is interlaced. I had to go back and double check the other titles, but they do look to be progressive. For whatever reason the image on here is interlaced, and this creates all sorts of jagged edges and ghosting. Edge-enhancement, noise, and halos are still presents.

Just an awful looking image and the worst of the bunch.


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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Again itís a weak sounding track. The Japanese mono tracks on all three releases are weak and sound fairly compressed. Music is edgy and bland, sound effects are weak, and everything just sounds hallow overall.



A theatrical trailer and an essay by Bruce Eder is all there is for special features on this release.



Easily the worst of the three. Overall the three releases are disappointing and could reuse a revisit. The filmís were released individually originally but Criterion rereleased them as set, slightly altering the cover art. Unfortunately the contents of the disc are the same, offering no improvement. In all theyíre a terrible set of DVDs and this is the worst of them.

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