DVD Title
Stray Dog
International Title
DVD Length
Original Length
122 Minutes
122 Minutes
Year of Manufacture
Number of Discs
Aspect Ratio
2.0 Mono
Menus (English) 
Chapters (19)
Audio Commentary by Stephen Prince
Documentary on Stray Dog, from Toho's Masterworks, with interviews from the staff (32 minutes)
Sixteen pages of background information on the film by Terrence Rafftery and Akira Kurosawa, found in the booklet
Stray Dog, Criterion's oldest Akira Kurosawa release to date, is a collaboratory effort between Shintoho, the offshoot Toho company which branched off after strikes in 1947, and Toho, which now owns the film in its entirety after Shintoho went bankrupt in 1961. For the disc Criterion has really gone the extra mile to load this release with extras. While it doesn't compare with their Onibaba or Ikiru releases, it's still more loaded with extras then most other region 1 Toho DVDs on the market. Unfortunately, due to the age of the film, the video and audio quality here are not up with Criterion's standards, but the extras more than make up for the lacking presentation of the movie.

Star Rating

It's hard to gauge the video quality found on Stray Dog due to the age of the film. To Criterion's credit, though, the disc is nearly devoid of digital inconsitences, which might have been introduced while transfering the film to DVD. However, nearly everything else about the video presentation appears to be slightly off here, which is a result of the rather poor condition of the print used for the transfer. Scratches found during the movie are numerous, most apparent during the film's opening scenes, and several lines, running the entire length of the screen from top to bottom, do appear during its runtime. Light shimmer, a unnatural fading from light to dark often appearing on the edge of films, is also a problem on this release, and gets rather distracting during some points in the film. The light shimmer gets so bad here, in fact, that some scenes will come out rather hazy, or blurred here. The contrast found on the DVD is also a little low, with the blacks never quite being as rich as they could be, although it's a minor problem found on the disc.

Star Rating

Like the video presentation, the audio quality suffers due to the age of the film. The audio is presented here in a 2.0 mono track, which is the original audio format of Stray Dog. Unfortunately, the audio track here is plagued with numerous hisses appearing through out the film, causing dialogue to be unintelligible at times. Thankfully, the audio is complemented by a newly prepared, removable, English subtitles for the film, which like other Criterion releases are spot on in regards to the film.


The extras found on this disc is where this release really shines. Like their Ikiru release, this DVD contains an episode of Toho's Masterworks, which focuses on the film and the time period at which it was made. The episode is 32 minutes long, and is quite possibly the best feature of the DVD as it documents the eventual rise of Shintoho from several violent strikes, one which the military had to be called in to deal with, and of Ishiro Honda's relationship with Kurosawa, also mentioning Honda work in 1954 on the popular Godzilla film. The footage from the movie shown during this segment is, surprisingly, devoid of the many of the problems found on the movie on this disc, with very few scratches and no light shimmer; it's a shame Criterion couldn't have secured this print for their DVD. This feature is divided into 6 chapters on the disc. Like their release of Red Beard, Stephen Prince provides the commentary for this film. Those familiar with Prince's work should expect more of the same here: insightful commentary about the film and cast set to a very monotone and dull presentation style. The last extra is the 16 page booklet included with the DVD, which houses a lot of background information on the film by Terrence Rafftery and the director himself, Kurosawa. While this may seem like a rather "weak" extra, the booklet contains numerous high quality still shots done for the movie, making this a very worthwhile endeavor for someone to at the very least thumb through.


Bottom line, while the video and audio quality of the film on this disc leaves some to be desired due to the age of the print used; however, it's the best (and only) release of Stray Dog on region 1 to date. Furthermore, the extras found on this disc nicely compensate for the lacking presentation of the actual movie.

-Anthony Romeros