DVD Title
Red Beard
International Title
DVD Length
Original Length
179 Minutes
185 Minutes
Year of Manufacture
English, Chinese
Aspect Ratio
Black and White
Surround (remastered)
:Double Sided:
Menus (English, Chinese)
Chapters (9/9)
Bios: Akira Kurosawa
Cast Filmographies: Toshiro Mifune
- Film Synopsis (English, Chinese)

Region 0, or Region Free, DVDs have a well deserved reputation of being very sad examples of the DVD format at work. Now while Smos' release does leave some to be desired, it's actually a decent shot at a Region 0 release. The video quality could be better, artifacting being the most noticeable fault as the video appears rather blurry. Scratches do appear through out the print in varying levels, but not bad enough to distract from the viewing experience, with the sole exception occurring a little before the disc's intermission and ever so often on the last chapter. However, there is an annoying yellow and white line that is present on the top of the screen at all time; it's at the very top, and shouldn't interfere with the actual movie, but it is a nuisance. The audio quality here is not suburb, but its acceptable; it does, however, get scratchy at moments when the volume on the soundtrack reaches a certain level. The film is available in both English and Chinese subtitles, the only thing it has over the Criterion release of Red Beard; however, the subtitles are not removable, and either the English or the Chinese subtitles must be present. The extras found here are hardly worth mentioning; Akira Kurosawa's bio is brief, but informative to those who aren't familiar with the influence he has had on American movies. Toshiro Mifune's bio is even more lackluster, containing a couple of typos in the English version as well, but does provide insight on his non-Japanese efforts for those who are interested. The last extra found on the disc is a synopsis of the film. The reason why a synopsis was included on the disc isn't entirely known though, unless Smos was trying to provide some with a fast alternative to watching the film, so they could simply read a two paragraph blurb on the story instead (the same synopsis appears on the back of the DVD case). A rather large fault of this DVD, however, is splitting the film on both sides of the disc. Granted, this is a better solution than having two discs, but as Criterion has proven, Red Beard is not a film which needs to DVDs to be viewed. Some might notice that this disc runs a 6 minutes short, this is actually because Somos cut out the "intermission sequence" found in the middle of the film, which is hardly noteworthy seeing as how it was merely a black screen with music playing behind it. Bottom line is that it's a adequate transfer of Red Beard, but pales in comparison to the Region 1 Red Beard release from Criterion; this DVD should only be purchased if one is looking for a cheaper, inferior, copy of the film or if they deal in a format other than Region 1.

-Anthony Romero