My Two Cents

Criterion delivers City Lights & a 25-film Zatoichi Blu-ray box set in November!!!

August 15, 2013 - 7:02 pm   |   by
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Holey Moley! This is just about the greatest piece of announcement news we’ve EVER heard here at The Digital Bits. It should go without saying, to those of you who have been reading this site for any length of time, that we’re huge fans of the Japanese Zatoichi films.  In fact, we published one of the first guides to this classic samurai series on DVD here on The Bits back in 2003. Well, now Criterion has just announced a massive 27-disc/25-film Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman dual format Blu-ray/DVD box set for release on 11/26 (SRP $224.95)!  [...]

The set includes the first 25 films in the series (including Zatoichi’s Pilgrimage which has never been officially released on disc here in the States). Here’s the full list: The Tale of Zatoichi (1962), The Tale of Zatoichi Continues (1962), New Tale of Zatoichi (1963), The Fugitive (1963), On the Road (1963), Zatoichi and the Chest of Gold (1964), Zatoichi’s Flashing Sword (1964), Fight, Zatoichi, Fight (1964), Adventures of Zatoichi (1964), Zatoichi’s Revenge (1965), Zatoichi and the Doomed Man (1965), Zatoichi and the Chess Expert (1965), Zatoichi’s Vengeance (1966), Zatoichi’s Pilgrimage (1966), Zatoichi’s Cane Sword (1967), Zatoichi the Outlaw (1967), Zatoichi Challenged (1967), Zatoichi and the Fugitives (1968), Samaritan Zatoichi (1968), Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo (1970), Zatoichi: The Festival of Fire (1970), Zatoichi and the One-Armed Swordsman (1971), Zatoichi at Large (1972), Zatoichi in Desperation (1972) and Zatoichi’s Conspiracy (1973)! The only title missing from the set is the final film in the series, Zatoichi (1989), the U.S. rights for which we believe may still be owned by Media Blasters.

The box set includes 9 BDs and 18 DVD discs.  The 9 BDs collectively include all 25 films in HD with new digital restorations and uncompressed mono audio.  Extras will include the 1978 The Blind Swordsman documentary, an interview with Asian film critic Tony Ryans, the trailers for all 25 films, new English subtitle translations and a book with essays and artwork. Whew!

Here’s what the box will look like…

Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman (Criterion Blu-ray Disc)

By the way, also coming in November from Criterion are Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story (due 11/19), Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha and Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights (both 11/12). All are “dual format” Blu-ray/DVD releases (featuring both formats in the same package). Here’s the cover artwork (we’ll add Amazon pre-order links as soon as they’re available)…

Tokyo Story (Criterion Blu-ray Disc)    Frances Ha (Criterion Blu-ray Disc)    City Lights (Criterion Blu-ray Disc)

All right… now I’m just going to go and quietly have a meltdown from the sheer joy of all this.  Thank you, Criterion!  This is, bar none, my personal dream Blu-ray release.  The pigs just flew and my mind is officially BLOWN.

Stay tuned!

- Bill Hunt

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