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Red Beard (1968)

Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Akira Kurosawa film scholar Stephen Prince Rating:9.0/10 (4 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by Elijah Sullivan on April 24th, 2005:Find all reviews by Elijah Sullivan
This one was a lot more informative than I thought. The best parts came early in the proceedings when Stephen Prince elaborated on why this film was an important stage of Kurosawa's career. These parts were fascinating. However, he makes too-frequent reference to the "flattening effect of the telephoto lens". That phrase becomes excruxiatingly dull after being used 40+ times. About 2/3 of the way through Prince commences discussion of the film's themes in earnest, and really does get to the meat of the story in ways that most commentaries do not. (He even notes that scholars often over-analyze films, and he does a good job of avoiding that.) This guy clearly loves this little-seen Kurosawa masterpiece, evidenced by the amount of thought put into the organization of his notes and his thorough working knowledge of the film (he can quote the number of setups or movements in a sequence as it begins and counts them out to you, while explaining their significance). Main detractions: repetition; and a very dry speaking voice (sorry, Stephen). And that's it... listen to this commentary if you get the chance. Probably best enjoyed if listened to in segments or while occupied with something, to keep the dryness and extreme length from wearing you down. Enjoy!
Reviewed by grimjack on June 30th, 2019:Find all reviews by grimjack
Like many commentaries made by a film historian, this is full of technical and historical information, and definitely feels a bit rehearsed and dry. (Rather than amused or excited, like Im used to from commentaries by directors and actors.)

The above commentary review is dead on (and better than mine) in regards to what he talks about the most, and which parts are more wonderful than others. And how this is a tough commentary to listen to all three hours worth in one sitting. (Although I will say I dont think he went on too much about the telephoto lens, as I found it interesting when he pointed out what it does, and am reminded that I think only Kubrick also used it a lot, but regularly mixed it in with other types.)