Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Thailand, etc.
User avatar
Shingster
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 4104
Joined: 08 Sep 2006, 11:14

Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread post by Shingster » 14 Aug 2016, 19:09

I was talking about the Female Scorpion set specifically there, it seems just about every label in the west aside from Criterion are guilty of ignoring incorrect black levels with Japanese films. I've never spoken to anyone at Arrow over it but I did chat to someone at MoC once years ago about a Japanese release of theirs and they said they didn't like to touch the masters unless they were 100% certain that there's an issue, and of course MoC are , or once were, aware of the dynamic range issues with Japanese cinema because they've written articles on it and correcting it for DVD releases.

Oh and I've never had problems with crushed blacks when correcting via my Oppo player, at least not with proper "TV set" transfers like the Arrow Lady Snowblood and Twilight Time release of Twilight Samurai, but if the problem is just weak black levels in a more general capacity then it obviously will over-compensate. Some films just have faded prints though I feel and blacks sometimes come out weaker as a result or there's something gone on with the scan that's muted the look (imo that's what's going on with something like the Battles Without Honour films). The Arrow Happiness of the Katakuris and Battle Royale look absolutely fine though, I wouldn't class them as problematic.

hanshotfirst1138
Little White Dragon
Posts: 61
Joined: 02 Dec 2010, 02:02

Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread post by hanshotfirst1138 » 16 Aug 2016, 00:54

Nice to see this forum getting a little life again, but sad that this is the reason. Still sorely miss ADG :(.

crumby
Jackie Chan's Little Toe
Posts: 3
Joined: 16 Aug 2016, 00:52
Location: Fr

Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread post by crumby » 16 Aug 2016, 01:09

Yes, an utter disaster. But hopefully we will get a japanese release at some point ?

All of the Bluray of japanese movies from criterion i have seen (not much actually) had some black crush. Obviously those 70's japanese movies often have poor contrast (Because of cheap stock ?) They should just stop to go "at all cost" to 0 IRE for black. Those bluray are bought by fan/cinephile anyway... I used to trust Criterion but not anymore.

As for those Arrow's discs, the grading must have been made by some disciple of James Cameron or Georges Lucas who know the "original look" better than the japaneses themselves.


User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 10632
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread post by HungFist » 02 Jun 2018, 14:10

Some Female Prisoner Scorpion related news, mainly of interest to me, but I'll share anyway.

1) Shin bungeiza is holding a Meiko Kaji retrospective in Tokyo

Starts June 16th, to celebrate her new book and album release. Kaji will attend!

I have already booked my flights and tickets to June 16th (Sex Hunter + Grudge Song in 35mm + Kaji) and 17th (Jailhouse 41 + Beast Stable in 35mm) screenings .

2) Toei Channel will be broadcasting the original four films in HD next month.

This could mean one of the following three things:
a) New HD scans by Toei (let's hope so!)
b) Arrow's HD versions (unlikely. I've never seen Toei utilize transfers made by a foreign company)
c) The 20 year old dvd masters in "HD" which are already available on Amazon (JP) Video but only look a bit better than the dvds (possible, but I'm pretty sure Toei has shown the films on their channel within the past few years and they were labelled as SD back then.

(not related to Kaji, but Toei is also broadcasting the 1st Terrifying Girls' High School in HD).

User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 10632
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread post by HungFist » 04 Jun 2018, 13:22

HungFist wrote:
02 Jun 2018, 14:10
1) Shin bungeiza is holding a Meiko Kaji retrospective in Tokyo

Starts June 16th, to celebrate her new book and album release. Kaji will attend!

I have already booked my flights and tickets to June 16th (Sex Hunter + Grudge Song in 35mm + Kaji) and 17th (Jailhouse 41 + Beast Stable in 35mm) screenings.
Chirashi
Image

Image
- http://www.shin-bungeiza.com/pdf/20180616.pdf

Everything is 35mm except two Nikkatsu films (Seishun zenki aoi kajitsu and Taiyo ga daisuki) which are DVD screenings for some retarded reason.

This will be my second time attending a Meiko Kaji retro. The last time was in Cinema Vera a few years ago

Image

Image

User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 10632
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread post by HungFist » 20 Jun 2018, 14:21

Meiko Kaji Film Festival in Shin Bungeiza

Though I could only drop by for 1½ days, I had a change to view Jailhouse 41, Beast Stable and Grudge Song in 35mm in Tokyo last weekend and see Meiko Kaji live as well. A quick report follows.

Image

Image

First of all, the films.

Jailhouse 41 is simply one of the finest films ever made. The original movie was a bit of a salad bowl with exploitation and politics, art and entertainment, but in Jailhouse 41 the vision is much more focused with the movie playing out as a mesmerizing anti-patriarchal odyssey. Beast Stable in turn is an amazingly well handled and atmospheric character study about two women, one of whom accepts her fate and the other one who hasn't found her identity yet. An under-rate near masterpiece. Grudge Song is where it all goes wrong. It works as a 70s outlaw crime film for the first 45 minutes, but is inconsistent with the earlier films and once the prison stuff begins, it simply becomes a pale shadow of its predecessors.

Then, the prints

Unfortunately the 35mm prints were in pretty bad shape. A quick overview below:

Jailhouse 41: beaten but alright, colours leaning slightly towards pink(ish). Similar look to Toei/Discotek DVD except with the correct framing (like Studio Canal/Pathe DVDs) and inferior colors. No sign of blue/teal whatsoever. No contrast issues that plague Arrow (the harakiri scene shows all the detail missing from Arrow BD).

Beast Stable: slightly worse than Jailhouse 41, a beaten print missing some frames. Slight brownish/pinkish tint but entirely watchable. No sign of blue/teal whatsoever. No contrast issues that plague Arrow (Watanabe looking through the manhole cover clearly shows her red dress). Similar look to Toei/Media Blasters DVDs but inferior colours.

Grudge Song: the weakest print, faded with colours leaning towards brown/pink(ish). No sign of blue/teal whatsoever. No high contrast issues that plague Arrow. Similar look to Toei/Media Blasters DVD.

Even with beaten prints it was still amazing to see these in 35mm, obviously each print was heaps better than the Arrow BDs. Still, it's a shame Toei hasn't made / discovered new prints as these are clearly below par compared to most 60s and 70s films screening in Tokyo. It doesn't make sense Sasori has to suffer these kind of prints when Toei is releasing / discovering pristine 35mm prints of obscure Sharon Kelly films like Shikijô Toruko nikki...

Image

Kaji

Also, it was cool seeing Kaji live. She was very energetic, speaking 45 minutes nonstop without an interviewer. She spoke about her career and cinema in general, new and old. She recalled her meeting with Tarantino where she managed to silence the motor mouth by saying, after QT had mentioned he spends about two weeks with the crew going through the script, that "that's all we took making the entire movies". Hah! She also recalled asking Takuzo Kawatani if he'd like to be an actor again in his next life, to which Kawatani replied "Hell no! I'd be a director and make Kinji Fukasaku act like a slave in my movies"! Apparently no one ever survived a Fukasaku collaboration without stomach problems...

Also, she compared to modern and 70s filmmaking by noting that while nowadays they shoot 10-20 takes, back then they'd shoot usually one take only, even if it wasn't perfect. That actually helped the cast keep their performance consistent since they knew which shot would be used in the final film, she said. She also mentioned recently she passed a role in a film by an internationally acclaimed Japanese director whose films have screened in Venice. She didn't name the director. Oh, and she did not really talk about Sasori. It seems she's not too keen on talking about those 70s action and exploitation films. That being said, she's not keen on modern Japanese cinema either. Actually, I think she doesn't seem so keen on cinema in general! She actually mentioned she never really planned a career in movies... in the 60s she was always thinking that "a few more days and then I'll quit".

As for photos, I have to attach a shot from the Japanese website natalie.mu since photography was forbidden except from members of press. That kind of sucked. I also wish Kaji had spoken abot her 70s work in more detail... It was great seeing her live /and I'm sad I can't attend her concert this week) and all, but as far as live appearances go I prefer actresses like Yumiko Katayama (whom I saw at a Teruo Ishii retro last year) who are easier to approach, don't mind being photographed (and why would she, she looks beautiful at her mid 60s) and share juicy stories from exploitation film sets.

Image
- https://natalie.mu/eiga/news/286998

Image

Image

User avatar
chazgower01
Flirting Scholar
Posts: 359
Joined: 24 Mar 2017, 20:19

Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread post by chazgower01 » 09 Jul 2018, 02:19

Awesome report and pictures! Thank you!

User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 10632
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread post by HungFist » 16 Jul 2018, 05:39

Sad news. The new Toei Channel HD broadcastings are indeed the Arrow transfers! Below are two screencaps in SD from Jailhouse 41 (because I only have subscription to the SD version of Toei Channel). I haven't checked the other films but by all means they should be the same.
cakefactory;12523965 wrote:Jailhouse 41, Pt 2

Discotek DVD (same master as the Toei DVD)
Image

Arrow BD
Image
- http://forum.blu-ray.com/showpost.php?p ... tcount=411

Toei Channel (TV) (SD broadcasting of HD material) (2018)
Image
cakefactory;12523951 wrote:Jailhouse 41, Pt 1

Discotek DVD (same master as the Toei DVD)
Image

Arrow BD
Image
- http://forum.blu-ray.com/showpost.php?p ... tcount=410

Toei Channel (TV) (SD broadcasting of HD material) (2018)
Image

Guro Taku
Flirting Scholar
Posts: 390
Joined: 29 Apr 2014, 16:37

Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread post by Guro Taku » 16 Jul 2018, 19:21

Shezus fucking Christ. Now even more people will go yelling about how there's nothing wrong with the Arrow transfers...

User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 10632
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread post by HungFist » 17 Jul 2018, 13:27

Yep. Worse yet, Toei just might have convinced themselves that it's not worth investing money in proper remasters.

I'd be willing to bet National Film Archive in Tokyo has pristine prints of these films.

DenPryan
Jackie Chan's Little Toe
Posts: 9
Joined: 13 Jan 2016, 20:29

Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread post by DenPryan » 17 Jul 2018, 20:55

And how do you know which of them are correct? I really want to know.

User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 10632
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread post by HungFist » 18 Jul 2018, 13:44

DenPryan wrote:
17 Jul 2018, 20:55
And how do you know which of them are correct? I really want to know.
Well, for starters:

1. The Japanese 35mm prints (which I've seen myself) have the normal look. It was evident even when the prints were beaten.
2. French Jailhouse 41 DVDs (old Studio Canal, and remastered Pathe) taken from a cut French print have the normal look.
3. Old US Jailhouse 41 print taken from an American 35mm print has the normal look.
4. The Japanese DVDs have the normal look.
5. The original trailers have the normal look.
6. It wouldn't make any sense to create a detailed visual look of colors and shadows that cost lots of money, and then soak the master with heavy tint that buries those colors and fine details.
7. No Japanese film from the 70s has ever had the Arrow look. Not a single one. I dare to make this statement having seen a few hundred Japanese 35mm prints of 50s-80s Japanese films (Toei films alone adding up to 88 films/prints).

So, what suppors the Arrow look then?
0. Uhm, well, Arrow released it, so it must be right. Right?

Ivan Drago
Hail the Judge!
Posts: 2208
Joined: 16 Mar 2005, 23:05

Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread post by Ivan Drago » 18 Jul 2018, 19:43

I agree.

Arrow's takeover of the boutique market is a tad worrying. They cram their schedules with "limited edtion" releases, cauasing panic buying and hoarding, commandeer the US and UK markets...and then don't fix their screw ups.
bradavon wrote:
but I guess you're more intelligence than me.

Guro Taku
Flirting Scholar
Posts: 390
Joined: 29 Apr 2014, 16:37

Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread post by Guro Taku » 18 Jul 2018, 20:39

I am generally supportive of Arrow and their releases. I mean, they put/will put WOLFGUY and HORRORS OF MALFOPRMED MEN on Blu-ray. They are releasing an Akio Jissoji ATG film box set. I can't be anything but supportive of all that, especially since I don't see anybody else willing to touch these titles. With that having been said, the absolute best I can say about what they did with SASORI is that they cancelled my pre-order and refunded my money without any issues within a couple hours of me sending them an email.

DenPryan
Jackie Chan's Little Toe
Posts: 9
Joined: 13 Jan 2016, 20:29

Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread post by DenPryan » 18 Jul 2018, 22:25

Thanks for the detailed answer.

User avatar
HungFist
Bruce Lee's Fist
Posts: 10632
Joined: 14 Dec 2005, 15:50
Location: Japan
Contact:

Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread post by HungFist » 19 Jul 2018, 13:23

Guro Taku wrote:
18 Jul 2018, 20:39
I am generally supportive of Arrow and their releases. I mean, they put/will put WOLFGUY and HORRORS OF MALFOPRMED MEN on Blu-ray. They are releasing an Akio Jissoji ATG film box set. I can't be anything but supportive of all that, especially since I don't see anybody else willing to touch these titles. With that having been said, the absolute best I can say about what they did with SASORI is that they cancelled my pre-order and refunded my money without any issues within a couple hours of me sending them an email.
Took the words right out of my mouth. Including the Sasori pre-order cancellation part.

I might add that Walcow did fantastic job with the extras, though. I found the interviews uploaded to internet by one of the people involved in making them. The production designer Tadayuki Kuwana interview is fantastic. I would have loved to support Arrow for those interviews alone... oh well, I'll try to compensate by buying some other releases by them.

Image

Image

Image

But I do also share Ivan Drago's worry in that with Arrow doing both US and UK releases, when they fuck up, we're fucked for good. It's game over for for both markets for a decade then.
DenPryan wrote:
18 Jul 2018, 22:25
Thanks for the detailed answer.
No problem. I hope it didn't come out as aggressive. Wasn't my intention.

Guro Taku
Flirting Scholar
Posts: 390
Joined: 29 Apr 2014, 16:37

Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread post by Guro Taku » 19 Jul 2018, 20:38

I'm really curious what the Japanese fandom thinks of these transfers. There probably isn't much to be found just based on the Toei Channel broadcast but I expect them to get a BD box set sooner or later and I'm already looking forward to those amazon reviews.

crumby
Jackie Chan's Little Toe
Posts: 3
Joined: 16 Aug 2016, 00:52
Location: Fr

Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread post by crumby » 11 Aug 2018, 23:07

Thank you for the review HungFist. I have the feeling that some Japanese actors/artists doesn't like much to speak about their (previous) works and only see them as a "job". I don't know if this is some kind of modesty or just reality. Big contrast with over-enthousiastic american interviews (in making-of etc).

Toei using a foreign remaster is realy shocking. I am afraid they don't want to spend a cent more on those movies ?

Guro Taku > Does (tech-savy) Japanese fandom really exists for old movies ?

Guro Taku
Flirting Scholar
Posts: 390
Joined: 29 Apr 2014, 16:37

Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread post by Guro Taku » 12 Aug 2018, 12:39

crumby wrote:
11 Aug 2018, 23:07
Guro Taku > Does (tech-savy) Japanese fandom really exists for old movies?
I don't know about pinky violence but I have spent a good amount of time laughing at angry reviews for upscaled anime releases.

Post Reply