DVD Title
 Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island
International Title
 Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island
Movie Length: 104 minutes Original Length: 104 minutes
Company: Criterion Release: 1998
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Anamorphic: No
Region: 1Discs: 1
  
Language/Sound: Order
Japanese (1.0 Mono)
Subtitles:
English
Extras
· Menus (English)
· Chapters (38)
· Trailers: Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island
Captures
Review
Anthony Romero

Criterion rounds out Hiroshi Inagaki's Academy Award winning Samurai trilogy with the final offering in the series. Sadly, much like the first, this DVD is fairly poor by the standards of the format today. All in all, extremely lackluster video and audio quality make up the bulk of this release, while the extras are nearly nonexistent.


 Video:

Of the Samurai trilogy released by Criterion, this third entry in the series has the worst video presentation. On the plus side everything is very bright and easily visible in the frame, but the colors have been really washed out from over saturation. The depressing thing is, despite all of the colors being heavily saturated, they still don't reach the rich hues the DVD format is capable of. The print used in the transfer also is in poor shape, containing a lot of scratches and with the frame sometimes being unstable. The video track also looks to be noticeably compressed, not at all with a deep range of detail in each frame.

Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1, or full screen.


 Audio: Star Rating

The audio presentation on this DVD is in need of work. On the plus side, it doesn't feature any garish pops or crackles during its duration, but sounds slightly distorted and rough. The soundtrack in particular tends to suffer, sounding very distant and not at all with the proper highs and lows one would hope for, especially from the riveting main title theme. Dialogue also sounds a little rough in spots, not nearly as clear as it should.

The audio track is accompanied by, removable, English subtitles.


 Extras:

This disc is nearly bare bones. It contains the movie's trailer, in less than stellar quality, and nothing else. It harks back to many discs of the time period, and shows how far Criterion has come since then.


 Overview:

Bottom line, the disc was an early effort on the format and one of the first Toho films on DVD, anywhere. Its age shows today with how far the format has come, and really, like the other two films, deserves a cleaned up and improved re-release on region 1. Hopefully it gets it. Until then, this is sadly the only way for fans in the US to enjoy the movie outside of importing Toho's English subtitle less release.

This disc is also featured in the DVD box set: The Samurai Trilogy.