Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

To view this video download Flash Player

Buy New

Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
Buy Used
Used - Good See details
$11.99 + $3.99 shipping
Sold by -importcds.

More Buying Choices
newbury_comics Add to Cart
$26.99  & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Add to Cart
$27.26  & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
Have one to sell? Sell yours here

The Lower Depths (Kurosawa 1957) / The Lower Depths (Renoir 1936) - Criterion Collection (1937)

Jean Gabin , Suzy Prim , Akira Kurosawa , Jean Renoir  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

List Price: $39.95
Price: $26.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
You Save: $12.96 (32%)
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
Only 14 left in stock.
Sold by American_Standard and Fulfilled by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Want it Monday, Oct. 27? Choose One-Day Shipping at checkout. Details

Explore The Criterion Store

TV Deal of the Week
Interested in learning more about Criterion titles or the Criterion brand? Visit the Criterion Store to browse pre-orders, new releases, and best sellers. Shop now

Special Offers and Product Promotions

Frequently Bought Together

The Lower Depths (Kurosawa 1957) / The Lower Depths (Renoir 1936) - Criterion Collection + The Bad Sleep Well (The Criterion Collection) + Dodes'ka-Den
Price for all three: $67.47

Buy the selected items together

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Product Details

  • Actors: Jean Gabin, Suzy Prim, Louis Jouvet, Jany Holt, Vladimir Sokoloff
  • Directors: Akira Kurosawa, Jean Renoir
  • Writers: Akira Kurosawa, Jean Renoir, Charles Spaak, Hideo Oguni, Jacques Companéez
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled
  • Language: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: June 22, 2004
  • Run Time: 214 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000A02TW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,767 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Lower Depths (Kurosawa 1957) / The Lower Depths (Renoir 1936) - Criterion Collection" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New digital transfer with restored image and sound plus new subtitle translation by renowned Japanese-film translator Linda Hoaglund
  • Audio Commentary featuring Japanese-film expert Donald Richie
  • 33-minute documentary on the film from the series "Akira Kurosawa: It is Wonderful to Create"
  • New essay by Keiko McDonald and Thomas Rimer
  • Cast biographies by Stephen Prince
  • Also contains 1936 French film of the same name directed by and introdcued by Jean Renoir

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Akira Kurosawa's The Lower Depths, an adaptation of Maxim Gorky's classic proletarian play. Instead of his usual broad canvas, Kurosawa instead explores the possibilites of the stage in this film, finding intimacy in his examination of a group of destitutes, set during one of Japan's most prosperous ages. Starring an ensemble cast led by frequent collaborator Toshiro Mifune, the film is a Buddhist meditation on the human condition, yet also a poignant and comic investigation of the conflict between illusion and reality.

Criterion's two-disc double bill of The Lower Depths provides a scintillating lesson in comparative cinema. When Jean Renoir adapted Maxim Gorky's acclaimed 1902 play in 1936, he changed the setting from Czarist Russia to an unspecified French slum, casting the great Jean Gabin as a thief struggling to rise from his misery, and Louis Jouvet as the benevolent Baron, a flat-broke gambler on a downward social spiral. Renoir altered the play considerably, retaining its serious tone while infusing it with his trademark warmth and humanity. Two decades later, Kurosawa remained faithful to Gorky while daring to craft The Lower Depths as a comedy, in which Edo-period peasants (including Toshiro Mifune, in Gabin's role) concoct lavish illusions to ease the burden of their impoverished reality. While both films remained relatively overlooked during the careers of their creators, Criterion's DVD restores them to the prominence they deserve.

Both films have been meticulously restored and remastered to Criterion's high standards; Renoir's film still shows its age, but it will never look or sound better than it does here, and Renoir provides an informative introduction culled from the same archival materials featured on Criterion's The Rules of the Game DVD. Better yet, Kurosawa's film is accompanied by a superb commentary by peerless Japanese film scholar Donald Richie, who provides a feature-length treasury of anecdotes (he had actually visited Kurosawa's set in 1957), thematic analysis, production history, and scholarly insight. A 33-minute excerpt from the Japanese TV series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create offers rare interview clips with Kurosawa and surviving members of his cast, along with script, art design, and storyboard details to illustrate Kurosawa's creative process. Kurosawa expert Stephen Prince profiles the esteemed cast of the 1957 film, and exclusive essays about both films are included in the accompanying booklet. As a kind of Rorschach test for each director's approach to style and theme, The Lower Depths offers a back-to-back master class in the art of adaptation. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Terrific Adaptations of Gorky's Lower Depths... July 10, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
LOWER DEPTHS (1936) by Jeam Renoir
Lower Depths is an intricate story of poverty and those who fall into the deepest of socioeconomic despair based on the writer Maxim Gorky's play with the same name. The story takes place in the outskirts of Paris in a poorhouse where Pépel (Jean Gabin), a thief, is planning a raiding. Pépel is having an affair, which he tries to break off, with Vassilissa (Suzy Prim), the proprietor's wife, as he has come to realize that he loves Natacha (Junie Astor), Vassilissa's sister. This provides much intrigue as Vassilissa wants her husband dead because she wants to leave the poorhouse.
Gambling has driven the Baron (Louis Jouvet) to poverty and he has lost his administrative position at the ministry due to theft to cover for his gambling debts. When the Baron arrives home suicidal from one last disastrous gamble he searches for his gun in desperation. Instead the Baron discovers that he has a guest, Pépel, with whom the Baron builds a friendship as they spend the night chatting and playing cards. During the night Pépel finds out that creditors are about to repossess the Baron's mansion and the Baron is only a night away from same living conditions as Pépel.
The majority of the story takes place at the poorhouse where a number of interesting characters provide much insight into how people end up in the lower depths of society. Renoir's adaptation of the Lower Depths was thoroughly appreciated by Gorky as Renoir concentrated on how people shift social class either up or down. This focus is enhanced by the cast with the exception of Junie Astor whose face remains as motionless as a dusty bust when she is in focus of the camera.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Kindness is one thing. Debt is another ..." April 20, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
For those who are most familiar with Kurosawa's epics, "The Lower Depths" may seem shocking in its austerity - there are only two sets (interior and exterior of the doss-house where the action takes place), there's no background music at all, and the script is a faithful line-for-line rendition of Maxim Gorky's play (a sort of Chekhov of the slums) transposed from Russia to Japan.
Before shooting started, Kurosawa rehearsed solidly for six weeks, with the actors on set in full costume and makeup and the cameras rolling but empty. The result is the most phenomenal piece of ensemble acting I have ever seen. Every part in the play (no matter how small) is acted with extraordinary detail, realism, and humour (the cast features many of the "Kurosawa group", including greats such as Toshiro Mifune, Isuzu Yamada and Minoru Chiaki), captured by sensitive, unobtrusive (but nonetheless stylish) cinematography.
The play itself resonates with the themes that run throughout all Kurosawa's work - humanism, class, and the ability (or inability) of human beings to face the truth. Although the play is often seen as despairing, this rigorously unsentimental production also contains an extraordinary and utterly unexpected sense of spontaneity and joy.
The result is funny, profound, and heartbreaking.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kurosawa at his best February 22, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
This adaptation of Gorky's play "the Lower Depths" by the master director Akira Kurosawa is quite a labyrinth. Each player has a path to follow, a fate that binds. Just as the dying woman is inexorably bound towards death, the tinker, thief, geisha, gambler, samurai, and pilgrim all are caught in a chillingly hopeless web of life and death. Outwardly we see the bottom dwellers, society's dregs from post feudal Japan. Yet the poverty of the individuals is really a portrayal of the poverty of the spirit of Modern Life. The lack of connection to spirit condemns them and us to a life and death of mindless work, escapist illusion, apathetic indifference to other's suffering, and the selfishness and hopelessness of the narcissist.
Kurosawa's adaptation of Gorky's "the Lower Depths" is brilliant. Kurosawa used the same group of actors for most of his Toho era films. He insisted on the most incredible attention to detail in his sets and costumes. He required this from the actors as well. His invisible presence is everywhere in the film. He brought out the best in the actors, set designers, writers, and camera operators. The attention to detail from beginning to end is awe-inspiring. That the movie is in Japanese is both a blessing and a curse. Since few of us understand Japanese, many of the nuances of the language are lost on us and we are at the mercy of the translators. On the other hand, the separation of the emotional quality of the actors voices from the meaning of the words adds a depth to the play.
One could go into the different lives of the various characters, but this is best left to the viewer. Now that Kurosawa's movies are available on video tape and DVD, we can see them from a more personal level.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lower Depths: A Little Known Masterpiece March 7, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Although not well known, this film shines as bright as any of Kurosawa's other works. The Lower Depths is the story of a group of people who all share the same living quarters in the slums of Japan. Everyone suffers greatly until a travelling old man comes and turns their world upside down. This film is spectacularly filmed. Most of the action takes place in a single room giving the viewer the sense of entrapment experienced by the individuals in the film. Mifune's appearence in this film is unparalled as the thief tortured by love and the hell of his existance. The Lower Depths is a film of great suffering and through this suffering finds the joy possible in the human heart. Often times Kurosawa is critisized by individuals for the light-hearted approach he takes to this film. However this light-nature is exactly what he was trying to show. This film is definitly worth checking out. This video will please film buffs as well as anyone familiar with the original Maxim Gorky play.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Borderline Boring; Over-The-Line Silly
Film = 2-1/2 stars; restoration = four stars. Humor, especially humor on film (which, of course, can not be modernized like a stage play), is often lost between generations. Read more
Published 5 months ago by William F. Flanigan Jr.
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT CLASSIC KUROSAWA.
Two great film directors ( Jean Renoir and Akira Kurosawa) made films based on the famous Russian literature classic. The Criterion box, includes both versions. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Felipe N. Gajate
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Great Directors and One Great Film
I appreciate Jean Renoir very much. His 1936 film in this set, with excellent performances by the leads is good, but not up to the level of his "Boudu Saved From Drowning" and... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Frank
5.0 out of 5 stars Deep, indeed...
Some films appear to go nowhere and yet truly define the effect that cinema can have on a person by presenting them with a fully developed character study that resides and dwells... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Andrew Ellington
5.0 out of 5 stars Frapan or Jance...hmmm...same story
Two great filmings of the same France one Japan. Two magnificent directors. Renoir is just simply incomparable. He certainly was his father's son! Read more
Published on January 22, 2012 by John Cacciatore
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth it!
Both movies are excellent. It is also interesting to see the differences between the two versions. Kurosawa is a darker rendition of the Renoir version. Read more
Published on November 13, 2011 by K. Cannon
5.0 out of 5 stars Two visions
The Criterion Collection offers two different film versions of "The Lower Depths": one made in 1936 by Jean Renoir and another one made in 1957 by Kurosawa. Read more
Published on May 6, 2011 by Alfredo
5.0 out of 5 stars Too wonderful
I watched the Renoir version and the Kurosawa version back-to-back one night and TRULY enjoyed both. Read more
Published on August 23, 2005 by P. Chavez
5.0 out of 5 stars The Human Heart in the Depths
Kurosawa's most neglected masterpiece, "The Lower Depths" takes us into a ravine tenement, run by greedy, brutal landlords, and inhabited by the lowest of society's strata. Read more
Published on April 29, 2005 by Samurai Girl
5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent double feature.
This double feature by the Criterion Collection contains two versions of the film "The Lower Depths" based on the play by the Russian playwright, Maxim Gorky. Read more
Published on February 14, 2005 by Ted
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only


There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Look for Similar Items by Category

American_Standard Privacy Statement American_Standard Shipping Information American_Standard Returns & Exchanges