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Youth of the Beast (The Criterion Collection) (1963)

Yuriko Abe , Kensuke Akashi  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Yuriko Abe, Kensuke Akashi, Tomio Aoki, Hideaki Esumi, Eiji Go
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: January 11, 2005
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006HC0FU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,271 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Youth of the Beast (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New essay by film critic Howard Hampton
  • Original theatrical trailer

Editorial Reviews

When a mysterious stranger muscles into two rival yakuza gangs, Tokyo's underworld explodes with violence. Youth of the Beast was a breakthrough for director Seijun Suzuki, introducing the flamboyant colors, hallucinatory images, and striking compositions that would become his trademark. The Criterion Collection proudly presents the film that revitalized the yakuza genre and helped define the inimitable style of a legendary cinematic renegade.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Seijun Master Piece April 24, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I must dissagree with Sean's analysis. While <I>Branded to Kill</I> is certainly a stylistic masterpiece. This film makes <I>Tokyo Drifter</I> seem like a game of Candyland. Ever tongue in cheek, Seijun once again takes a brilliant jab at the Japanese psyche, and wounds once again. With all the camp of a B movie, the cinematic brilliance of an Orson Welles in Hong Kong, Seijun takes on, once again, the crippled self-image of postwar Japan. Replete with a visceral display of corruption, and the seedier underbelly of power that has held sway through out Japan's last several centuries.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Knock-out 60's crime thriller! April 18, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
This is one of the best Japanese crime films of the 1960's, to have seen release in the United States! It is also, arguably, one of the best films by the amazing "outlaw" director, Suzuki Seijun. This was Suzuki-sensei's "breakthrough" film; in as much as it was the first film where he truly let his flamboyant, dizzying, artistic sense come forward. Full of intense, innovative, eye-popping visuals, the film never loses its solid, pulp fiction narrative flow. This is thanks, in part, to a great script based on the novel by Japanese "hard-boiled" master, Oyabu Haruhiko. A great story (though somewhat typical in the Japanese "gangster" tradition), brilliant direction, and wonderful performances (especially by the always great, Shishido Jo)-- all help to make this an outstanding example of the Japanese thriller!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Style Made Substance October 11, 2006
Seijun Suzuki is one of the more polarizing and ambiguous figures in Japanese cinema. Genius? Madman? Something in between? Perhaps it doesn't matter, the differences between these positions are in any case, quite sleight. An amazingly prolific director - he directed over forty films in the 1960s alone - his very productivity helped lend credibility to those who dismissed him as B-movie man, preeminent among these to be sure, but a B-movie man nonetheless. In recent years, however, his work has been increasingly appreciated, particularly in the West.

In large measure, this uptick in esteem is can be traced to the film industry finally catching up to Suzuki. His classic mid-60s films (Youth of the Beast, Gate of Flesh, Tokyo Drifter and Branded to Kill) featured a powerful combination of brutal, explicit and often sadistic violence, morbid humor, a keen sense of the ridiculous and a visual and narrative style that is fractured and often hallucinatory, all held together (or, rather, defiantly not held together) by a totalizing nihilism that denies any higher or greater meaning to actions beyond the demonstratable consequences of action itself. This made for cinema that, at the time, was incomprehensible to many viewers, and Suzuki was famously fired by Nikkatsu in 1967 for making films that "make no sense and make no money." Decades later, however, the potency of his best films is keenly appreciated by many cinephiles raised on Pulp Fiction and Natural Born Killers (both almost completely derivative of Suzuki's work).

Suzuki himself identified Youth of the Beast as marking the beginning of his most creatively fertile period, and all the distinctive elements of his filmmaking are in evidence, and meshing perfectly.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Every cop is a criminal... December 30, 2005
Suzuki Seijun hasn't made a dull film yet. A contract worker for most of his career, he could take the most cliche-ridden assignment and turn it into gold.

"Youth of the Beast" ("Yaju no Seishun") is no exception. A typical revenge-plot, with the "good cop" posing as "bad cop" to get in good with the gangsters before enacting his vengeance, Suzuki takes it up a notch with innovative camera work and vivid, colorful imagery. By no means the wild ride of something like "Branded to Kill," it is still a quality Yakuza flick, Suzuki-style. There is more than a hint of "Yojimbo" in this film, but the similarities are soon forgotten.

Suzuki's visuals are well-served by tough-guy standby Shishido Jo, famous for his plastic surgery to give himself a more rugged look. Veteran of many of Suzuki's flicks, he brings an authenticity and a grounding-point in the convoluted world of gang-politics. Watanabe Misako brings a nice tenderness to the tough-guy world, as the wife of a detective who was killed.

The Criterion DVD for "Youth of the Beast" is fairly bare-boned, on par with their release for Suzuki's "Fighting Elegy." The picture is lovely, the original soundtrack and dialog are preserved, and it is a film not likely to be offered elsewhere. One could have hoped for more on the DVD release, but it is nice to have it available at all.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Seijun Suzuki's films show stylish framing of each scene that brings something unique to the audience each time he calls action. Much of his success might be grounded in the many films he made at the beginning of his career. These films were made quickly and on a rather modest budget, which provided him with several opportunities to fine tune his directorial skills. In Youth of the Best the audience can see cool framing of scenes in a way that Quentin Tarantino did in Pulp Fiction in the 1990s and in a similar way that the contemporary director Takeshi Miike does in his films. This suggests that Seijun was not only before his time, but that his bravery as a director brings out the cinematic brilliance in him.

The film opens in black and white with a large crowd that has gathered in curiosity outside a small hotel. A man is found dead with a dead woman on top of him in one of the hotel's tiny rooms. The police are investigating the scene while one police detective is reading out loud what seems to be a suicide note. Consequently, the police detective voices the obvious nature of the deadly incident that has taken place in the room hours earlier while another police officer comments on how lucky the dead man must have been to have had a loving mistress such as the dead woman on the floor. Further investigation of the room reveals the dead man's line of work, as he used to be a police detective. After this short opening, the film turns into a colored cinematic experience, as it makes a short leap into the future.

Initially, it seems a little confusing where the story is going, as the audience is allowed to follow a thug trying to enter the world of yakuza, the Japanese mafia.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great one
I've become a fan to director Suzuki via the excellent 'Branded to Kill' and very good 'Tokyo Drifter'. This may be the best one of the 3
Published 7 months ago by RMS
1.0 out of 5 stars Expectations: a hardboiled/stylish crime film, Reality: an unfunny...
People think if someone can make a movie and pack it full of style and no story it becomes a classic, well at least Criterion thinks that way. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Joseph
3.0 out of 5 stars Tokyo Gangster
Before I discovered 'Youth of the Beast' in an email newsletter, I knew nothing about the Japanese gangster films of the '60's. Read more
Published on October 30, 2009 by Bryan Byrd
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fast Suzuki!
Certainly faster-paced and more violent than some if director Seijun Suzuki's other outings. Star Jo Shishido (a frequent leading man in Suzuki films) is a man on a mission and... Read more
Published on April 24, 2008 by telecaster62
5.0 out of 5 stars Youth of the Beast
An audacious early outing from cult Japanese director Seijun Suzuki and the Nikkatsu studio, "Beast" is a hip, pulp-gangster flick with a twisty revenge plot involving murder,... Read more
Published on July 2, 2007 by John Farr
3.0 out of 5 stars Youth of the Beast (1963) - Seijun Suzuki
Youth of the Beast is a wild, erratic, over stylized pop gangster film that is hard not to like. Director Seijun Suzuki is a mad painter, and the film is his canvas. Read more
Published on October 7, 2005 by Donny
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent Japanese crime drama
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film

"Youth of the Beast" known in Japan as "Yaju no seishun" is an interesting and well made film about... Read more
Published on April 4, 2005 by Ted
5.0 out of 5 stars Youth of the Beast - Suzuki classic
This is a great film, similar to "Branded to Kill" and "Tokyo Drifter" in many respects. The story is more comprehensible and thus less confusing than the other two, though it... Read more
Published on February 19, 2005 by ZombieTongue
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