Starring: Chishu Ryu, Keiji Sada, Yoshiko Kuga, Kuniko Miyake, Haruko Sugimura & Koji Shitara.
Directed by: Yasujiro Ozu
A lighthearted take on director Yasujiro Ozu’s perennial theme of the challenges of intergenerational relationships, Good Morning tells the story of two young boys who stop speaking in protest after their parents refuse to buy a television set. Ozu weaves a wealth of subtle gags through a family portrait as rich as those of his dramatic films, mocking the foibles of the adult world through the eyes of his child protagonists. Shot in stunning color and set in a suburb of Tokyo where housewives gossip about the neighbors’ new washing machine and unemployed husbands look for work as door-to-door salesmen, this charming comedy refashions Ozu’s own silent classic I Was Born, But . . . to gently satirize consumerism in postwar Japan.
Criterion Collection’s release of Good Morning is presented in its original aspect ration of 1.37:1 with an MPEG-4 AVC encoded 1080p transfer. Criterion cites this release as being a “New 4K digital restoration” and it proves to be true. The rich detail in vibrant colors that detail the kimono’s down to exterior shots of Yasujiro Ozu’s masterful imagery. Fresh tones are consistent throughout the 93 minute duration of the film with unnoticeable shifting on the frames. Criterion’s restoration team did a phenomenal job on this transfer, resurrecting this masterpiece with superior sharpness and color. The thick grain of the picture looks natural, which in some scenes seems hardly noticeable at all. If viewing this with an HDR compatible television, the colors seem to be a lot more richer with reds, blues and other various colors standing out. I am overwhelmed with the release of this film and I am hardly ever disappointed with any other Criterion release. Great job!
Good Morning is encoded with a liner PCM, which complements the 24-bit Japanese audio in meticulous fashion. The authentic sounds of Japanese nature and Ozu’s settle score is what makes this release perfect. Hardly any noticeable clicks and pops with clear dialogue. The transitional scenes are where most of the pops are noticeable, but that just brings out the true authenticity of this film. There is nothing much to elaborate on, other than Criterion did a superior job with the audio.
- I Was Born, but… – Yasujiro Ozu’s 1932 silent film which he later on remade, in color, as Good Morning.
- A Straightforward Boy – presented here are fourteen surviving minutes from Yasujiro Ozu’s 1929 silent comedy. It is the first film in which the Japanese master used children.
- David Cairns – a brand new video essay by critic David Cairns that examines the important role humor has in Yasujiro Ozu’s films and the manner in which it frequently impacts their rhythm, tone and appearance. With extracts from various films. In English, not subtitled. (18 min, 1080p).
- David Bordwell – in this new video interview, film scholar David Bordwell discusses the key qualities that define Yasujirô Ozu’s work, as well as some of the similarities and differences between I Was Born, but… and its remake, Good Morning. The interview was conducted exclusively for Criterion in February 2017. In English, not subtitled. (19 min, 1080p).
- Leaflet – an illustrated leaflet featuring an essay by critic Jonathan Rosenbaum.
I am very pleased with this release. The PQ, audio all the way down to its supplements is what makes this the perfect release. Ozu would be proud to see how far his film has come in this day in age. The restoration is absolutely beautiful and it offers fans a new experience every screening. I found myself watching this film back to back because I was so enthused by the transfer and how well it was done. 10/10 for Criterion’s release of Good Morning.
Production release: Shochiku Eiga
Video release: Criterion Collection
Number of discs: 1
Runtime: 93 minutes
Case: Standard clear case
Release date: May 16, 2017
Aspect ratio: 1.37:1, Original 1.37:1
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC, 1080p
Japanese: LPCM Original Mono