The Incident at Blood Pass (Machibuse) (1970)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Trailer-Zatoichi At Large; Samurai Assassin; Kill!
|Year Of Production||1970|
|Running Time||112:40 (Case: 118)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (52:22)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Hiroshi Inagaki|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Directed by Hiroshi Inagaki, Machibuse is the second of two films from 1970 to star both Toshiro Mifune and Shintaro Katsu, the other being Yojimbo Vs. Zatoichi, an installment in the famed Zatoichi series. Incident at Blood Pass is the better of the two in my opinion, with vastly superior direction and an interesting ensemble cast. The literal English translation of Machibuse is Ambush, and that sums up the film pretty accurately.
A cross-section of characters happen to meet at an Inn, operated by an old man and his granddaughter. These include a nameless Ronin (Toshiro Mifune), a crooked gambler/wanderer who is trying to go straight, a cynical law-keeping officer and his captured criminal, a shifty ex-doctor (Shintaro Katsu) and an abused runaway wife. The Ronin has been given vague instructions to wait there for something to happen and he does just that, resting and enjoying their tough-as-nails sake. When he discovers that his mission is to assist a gang in stealing the Shogunate's gold, he is ordered to kill the innocent inhabitants of the inn, including a beautiful woman he rescued from an abusive husband. All is not what it seems however, and the whole scheme turns out to be a double cross aimed at shafting the gang leader. The Ronin may have to choose between his honor and the affections of a beautiful woman.
Machibuse has a distinct western feel about it, partly due to the epic, highly memorable score by Masaru Satô. It's not particularly bloody as far as swordplay films go and there is a very lame fistfight scene included. Mifune and Katsu, however, are an awesome on-screen pair and it is their interaction alone that makes this essential viewing for fans of Samurai cinema. Sadly, this was Inagaki's last outing behind the camera.
This transfer is presented in the film's original 'tohoscope' theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1. 16x9 enhancement is included.
The level of detail is quite good, although the image does become a little grainy at times. Black levels appear solid and given it's age, this is a decent presentation.
The film's colouring is completely natural and doesn't suffer from any bleeding or oversaturation at all. Skin tones appear accurate.
An ample constant video bitrate of 8.4 Mb/s has been applied and I didn't note any MPEG compression artefacting. Some film artefacts can be seen but these never amount to anything more than tiny specs of dust and dirt. I noticed some distracting combing artefacts at 58:29, which may point to an interlaced video master.
An English subtitle stream is activated by default and can be removed if necessary. The font is coloured yellow for spoken words and white for translation of titles on screen. The text is normally situated within the bottom black bar of the transfer. I noted a couple of spelling errors in the text and there is a strange fault present that repeats some lines unnecessarily.
This disc is dual layered (DVD9 formatted), with the layer transition placed during a still, silent moment mid-scene at 52:22.
The film's original Japanese language mono soundtrack is provided, presented in Dolby Digital 2.0. This audio stream is incorrectly flagged as English on the disc itself.
The dialogue is always clear and easy to discern. There are no irritating ADR or sync issues to speak of. On the whole, this soundtrack is crisp and easy on the ears, free of distortion and any nasty pops or clicks.
The score by Masaru Satô is obviously western influenced, orchestral and epic with bursts of brass that are accompanied by interesting threads of traditional Japanese percussion. This is an inspiring score and highly memorable.
The surround channels and subwoofer were given the night off.
|Surround Channel Use|
The trailer is not 16x9 enhanced, however it is very well subtitled.
Trailers are included for Zatoichi At Large, Samurai Assassin and Kill!
The reverse side of the slick is void of ratings logos.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The transfer is good.
The extras are limited to several trailers.
|DVD||Denon DVD-3910, using DVI output|
|Display||Sanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector, Screen Technics Cinemasnap 96" (16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Denon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete|
|Speakers||Orpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.|