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Yojimbo comparisons
Criterion Collection Special Edition
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Yojimbo subtitle translation comparison - BFI versus Criterion
There's no doubting that - in most cases - Criterion beat BFI in terms of transfer quality (The Bad Sleep Well and High and Low are the only two exceptions), but in our opinion BFI often shade Criterion on subtitles - another vitally important part of the experience - and as a result the BFI versions are the ones we'd choose to show an English-speaking friend wanting to be introduced to Kurosawa.
Here are a few examples to help explain our opinion on this...
The Infamous Bo Ying Box Set
Question: is the Bo Ying Kurosawa box set any good or not? Answer...
 
Detailed summary: if it's green it's good; if it's red it's poor...
That's four good films out of seventeen...
Our advice...
Unless you want to buy this out of curiosity (like we did), or are Japanese (or can speak Japanese) then you'd be well advised to steer well clear of any of the Bo Ying titles. Go for BFI or Criterion instead. Or regional releases, depending on where you're reading from in the world. Kurosawa's films need good subtitles - especially if they're being viewed for the first time - so it is a false economy buying into Bo Ying because the subs are just ridiculous. It's true that Scandal, The Idiot, Rashomon and Seven Samurai are decent enough versions, but in reality these discs are a pale shadow of a Criterion or BFI release. You don't get the detail; the love and the care of those releases - in a Bo Ying title.
Just how bad are the subtitles?
The subtitles swing from either nonsensical and boring to hilariously bad and chucklesome. All of the badly subtitled sets have name- replacement, so instead of "Rokurota Makabe" you get a man called "Ching" and instead of "General Washizu" you get a man called "Chow". That would be livable-with - if the subtitles actually made sense at any point, but they rarely do. Some simply meander into a surreal alternate dimension that has little in common with what you're watching on-screen.
Throne of Blood subtitle comparison - BFI versus Bo Ying
The Hidden Fortress subtitle comparison - BFI versus Bo Ying
A few last-ditch facts about the Bo Ying Box Set, before we lose interest...
Benefit All Mankind
The Films of Akira Kurosawa
About Akira Kurosawa
Kurosawa's Actors
Film Reviews
Disc Comparisons
Further Reading
Image Gallery
White Camellias
Filmography