DVD Title
Red Beard
International Title
DVD Length
Original Length
185 Minutes
185 Minutes
Year of Manufacture
Aspect Ratio
Black and White
- Menus (English)
Chapters (39)
- Trailers: Red Beard
Audio Commentary by Stephen Prince

Criterion's release of Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune's last joint film, Red Beard (1965). Red Beard is a fine example of why DVDs have replaced VHS tapes as the preferred format; what was once a two VHS set is now confined to a sole disc complete with chapters, removable subtitles, audio commentary, animated menus, and the film's theatrical trailer. The video quality here is superb: artifacting is hardly noticeable and the print appears very sharp in terms of quality. However, there are some scratches on the print, it doesn't get bad enough to distract from the viewing experience, but there are quite a few of them during the course of the three hour movie. Audio, as with most Criterion DVDs, is handled masterfully here with no noticeable errors in the audio track and is presented in stereo. The extras on this disc are nice, the original Japanese trailer is intact on this DVD; however, the color is a little faded as the trailer takes on a almost slightly redish-blue tint to some of the scenes. The movie is also complemented with a commentary track; however, Stephen Prince, the person doing the commentary this time around, talks in a very monotone voice that sounds very dull. Not to say that the commentary isn't very insightful, and a very good listen if you are very interested in the film, and staff; it's just that the presentation leaves some to be desired. The menus are worth mentioning here, as they are the nicest found on any of Criterion's Toho releases. Each menu varies from each other, and features a very well done door sliding effect which works as the transition between each; it really shows how far Criterion has come since they first released Seven Samurai (1954) on DVD. Bottom line is that this is excellent transfer of one of Kurosawa's better films, and shouldn't be missed by anyone who has a interest in his work.

-Anthony Romero