DVD Title
International Title
Movie Length: 96 minutes Original Length: 96 minutes
Company: Criterion Release: 2007
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic: Yes
Region: 1Discs: 1
Language/Sound: Order
Japanese (1.0 Mono), Japanese (3.0 Stereo)
· Menus (English)
· Chapters (21)
· Trailers: Sanjuro (Teaser, Theatrical)
· Commentary with Stephen Prince (English)
· Toho Masterworks: Sanjuro (45 minutes)
· Still Gallery
· Booklet with an essay by Michael Sragow and notes from Akira Kurosawa
Anthony Romero

Released simultaneously with their reconstructed version of Yojimbo, comes this excellent DVD for the second Sanjuro film. Given that this is a re-release, the company has the task of making this new disc appealing to those who have previously purchased the movie, and in that respect they pass with flying colors. Every aspect of this release is superb, from great video and audio presentations to an excellent array of supplemental content.


It's no secret that the original 1999 release of Sanjuro on DVD was a little lacking in the video department. Thankfully, the video track on this disc doesn't disappoint. The most stunning aspect about this transfer is simply the level of detail present, as the movie looks very sharp. The print used for the transfer is also in pretty great shape. There are a few moments of light shimmering, but they are few and far between and are not disruptive enough to detract from the experience much.

With much rejoicing, this DVD also presents the movie in its original ratio of 2.35:1, and is Anamorphic for widescreen TVs. This is in contrast to the company's previous DVD, which noticeably cropped the image; something that is very apparent in comparisons, as seen here with the 1999 release compared to the 2007 re-release.


Criterion does it again for this disc, by not only trumping the video and extra content over their previous DVD but also by providing a much more attractive audio presentation. The biggest draw here is the inclusion of the original three channel stereo presentation, that was created for the movie using Perspecta Stereophonic Sound. The added depth of the stereo track, although created through a rather archaic means by today's standards, does add a lot to the audio presentation. The disc includes a second audio track, though, which is the more common one channel mono presentation. In terms of quality, both are superb, lacking any overt inconsistencies in their presentation while all of the dialogue is easily distinguishable.

The audio can be accompanied with, removable, English subtitles.


As expected, Criterion has crammed a ton of extra content for this re-release. Not surprisingly, the best supplement here is another entry in the Toho Masterworks series called "Akira Kurosawa: It's Wonderful to Create" that focuses on Sanjuro. The 45 minute documentary has numerous interviews from the surviving cast and crew, while it also briefly covers the scrapped Peaceful Days concept that was refocused into this movie.

Some of the other features on this release include a new audio commentary track by Stephen Prince, who, as always, provides a lot of rich and in depth details about the production. The DVD also boasts the previously included theatrical trailer, although also includes an early teaser done for the movie. For those who haven't been able to see the teaser before, they are in for a real treat. It's a very short advert, but features actors Toshiro Mifune and Tatsuya Nakadai, in full costume, briskly walking and talking through the Toho lot. It's simple, but sure to bring a smile to the faces of many Toho enthusiasts.

Following those, the re-release also contains a small still gallery for the movie's production, along with 20 page booklet found in the case that provides further insight into the movie and its various stages of development.


Bottom line, this DVD makes a perfect companion to the re-released Yojimbo disc, both in terms of content, naturally, and in regards to quality. Considering the shape of the 1999 version, this release is certainly worth upgrading to, while interested buyers who haven't picked up the film before should make note of the outstanding presentations found on the 2007 edition.

This disc is also featured in the DVD box set: Yojimbo - Sanjuro.