DVD Playhouse--July 2012

By Allen Gardner

The Samurai Trilogy (Criterion) Director Hiroshi Inagaki’s sprawling epic filmed from 1954-56 is an early Japanese Technicolor masterpiece, rivaling the scope of filmmakers like David Lean and Luchino Visconti. Toshiro Mifune, Japan’s greatest actor, stars as real-life swordsman, artist and writer Musashi Miyamoto, following his growth from callow youth to disciplined warrior. The three films: the Oscar winning “Musashi Miyamoto,” “Duel at Ichijoji Temple,” and “Duel at Ganryu Island” are an incredible story of human growth, tender love and sublime, blood-soaked action. Not to be missed. Also available on Blu-ray disc. Bonuses: Interviews with translator and historian William Scott Wilson; Trailers. Full screen. Dolby 1.0 mono.

The 39 Steps (Criterion) Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 story of spies, conspiracies and sexual tension put him on the map on both sides of the Pond. Robert Donat stars as an innocent thrust into a deadly plot alongside a cool blonde (Madeleine Carroll
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