Blu-ray Release: Sansho the Bailiff

Blu-ray Release Date: Feb. 26, 2013
Price: Blu-ray $39.95
Studio: Criterion

Sansho The Bailiff movie sceneThe 1954 Japanese film Sansho The Bailiff is a classic drama based on a Japanese folk tale crafted by one of the country’s great directors, Kenji Mizoguchi (Ugetsu).

When an idealistic governor Masao Shimiz disobeys the reigning feudal lord, he is cast into exile, his wife (Kinoyu Tanaka) and children (Yoshiaki Hanayagi, Kyôko Kagawa) left to fend for themselves and eventually separated by vicious slave traders. One of them, the villainous Sansho (Eitarô Shindô), is the brutal owner of a slave camp.

Under Mizoguchi’s direction, Sansho is regarded as one of world cinema’s greatest pieces, a monumental, empathetic expression of human resilience in the face of evil.

Criterion previously released a DVD edition of Sansho in 2007, which contained only a booklet as a bonus. The new Blu-ray offers the following bonus features:

· Restored high-definition digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
· Audio commentary by Japanese-literature professor Jeffrey Angles
· Video interviews with critic Tadao Sato, assistant director Tokuzo Tanaka, and legendary actress Kyoko Kagawa, on the making of the film and its lasting importance
· A book featuring an essay by film writer Mark Le Fanu and two versions of the story on which the film was based: Ogai Mori’s 1915 “Sansho Dayu” and a written form of an earlier oral variation


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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.