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The Great White Tower (1966) (Blu-ray) (Japan Version) Blu-ray Region A

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The Great White Tower (1966) (Blu-ray) (Japan Version)
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All Editions Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10 (1)

YesAsia Editorial Description

Renowned novelist Yamazaki Toyoko's representative work The Great White Tower has had a long life on screen. In the forty-plus years since the novel was published, the satirical story of malpractice and powerplay at a hospital has been inspiration for both small and big screen works. It was adapted for film in 1966, dramatized by TV Asahi in 1967 and 1990, and dramatized by Fuji TV in 1978 and again in 2003 as the station's big-budget 45th anniversary series. In 2007, it was also adapted into a television drama in South Korea. The most memorable adaptation though would have to be the 1966 film and the 1978 series, both starring Tamiyo Jiro.

Former classmates Zaizen Goro (Tamiya Jiro) and Satomi Shuji (Tamura Takahiro) are both assistant professors at the Naniwa University Hospital in Osaka. The personable Shuji is dedicated to his patients and research, but the ruthlessly ambitious Goro is more interested in career advancement and public relations than medical practice and ethics. On the outside the hospital is a place of healing, but behind the scene lie rivalry and sabotage.

Directed by Yamamoto Satsuo, feature film The Great White Tower is the first and most classic adaptation of the novel. It won the Best Film, Best Director, and Best Screenplay awards at the Japanese Academy Awards. Adding to the aura of the film is Tamiyo Jiro, who so perfectly captured the role of Goro, he reprised it in the 1978 Fuji TV series.

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Technical Information

Product Title: The Great White Tower (1966) (Blu-ray) (Japan Version) 白色巨塔 (Blu-ray)(日本版) 白色巨塔 (Blu-ray)(日本版) 白い巨塔 修復版 (Blu-ray) The Great White Tower (1966) (Blu-ray) (Japan Version)
Artist Name(s): Tono Eijiro | Tamiya Jiro | Yamazaki Toyoko | Tamura Takahiro 東野英治郎 | Tamiya Jiro | 山崎豐子 | 田村高廣 东野英治郎 | Tamiya Jiro | 山崎丰子 | Tamura Takahiro 東野英治郎 | 田宮二郎 | 山崎豊子 | 池野成 | 田村高廣 Tono Eijiro | Tamiya Jiro | Yamazaki Toyoko | Tamura Takahiro
Director: Yamamoto Satsuo 山本薩夫 Yamamoto Satsuo 山本薩夫 Yamamoto Satsuo
Blu-ray Region Code: A - Americas (North, Central and South except French Guiana), Korea, Japan, South East Asia (including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) What is it?
Release Date: 2019-04-24
Publisher Product Code: DAXA-5527
Language: Japanese
Country of Origin: Japan
Disc Format(s): Blu-ray
Other Information: Blu-ray
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1072491688

Product Information

[アーティスト/ キャスト]
田宮二郎 / 田村高廣 / 東野英治郎 / 山本薩夫 (監督) / 山崎豊子 (原作) / 池野成 (音楽)

Blu-ray+DVD

[特典情報]
封入特典:ブックレット

[テクニカル・インフォメーション]
初Blu-ray化/本編150分

[角川シネマコレクション] 山崎豊子原作の同名小説を初Blu-ray化! 誤診という名の殺人! 医学界の腐敗を暴く巨匠・山本薩夫渾身の大作! 発表以来何度も映像化されている小説「白い巨塔」を1966年に初めて映画化したのが本作。主演の財前五郎には田宮二郎。78年にフジテレビでドラマ化された時も同じ役を演じ、生涯の当たり役となった。共演には田村高廣、船越英二、東野英治郎、加藤武、小沢栄太郎、小川真由美など豪華共演。――大阪・浪速大学医学部では、第一外科の東教授の定年を控え、後任教授には若きエリート助教授・財前五郎が有力視されていた。しかし、野心家で傲慢な財前を人間的に嫌う東教授が対立候補を擁立したため、教授選へ向け熾烈な裏工作合戦が始まる。そんな折、財前は、同期の里見助教授から依頼された患者・佐々木庸平の胃に癌を発見するが、里見の忠告を無視して断層撮影をせずに手術した結果、肺転移により死亡させてしまう。財前は教授の座を手に入れたものの誤診で訴えられることとなる―。ブックレット封入。
映像特典: 予告編
Additional Information may be provided by the manufacturer, supplier, or a third party, and may be in its original language

Other Versions of "The Great White Tower (1966) (Blu-ray) (Japan Version)"

YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "The Great White Tower (1966) (Blu-ray) (Japan Version)"

March 15, 2007

This professional review refers to The Great White Tower (Hong Kong Version)
Novelist Yamazaki Toyoko's 1966 Shiroi Kyotou is one of the most reworked novels in Japanese cinema and television, having enjoyed no less than four subsequent productions in its home country and more recently Taiwanese and Korean TV. Yamamoto Satsuo's The Great White Tower, released in 1966 has the obvious distinction of being the first cinematic treatment of Toyoko's work; it swept that year's Japanese academy awards and left an everlasting imprint.

The story concerns a top surgeon named Goro Zaizen (Tamiya Jiro), who specialises in pancreatic cancer at the Naniwa University and is currently an assistant professor under the wing of First Surgical Dept. Professor Azuma (Eijiro Tono). Azuma is due to retire in a month or so time and he needs to begin preparations for someone to succeed him in his position. The most obvious choice is Zaizen, but he's concerned about the surgeon's wildly inflated ego and the need to further his own status at the expense of running high risk amongst his patients. Azuma decides that he'll take the matter further. Meeting with First Internal Medicine Professor Ugai (Eitaro Ozawa), they discuss other options and decide that it might be best to involve other medical associations across Japan and thus stage a national election process that will involve sixteen specially selected candidates. When Zaizen gets wind of this he tries to usurp proceedings and gain the upper hand, resorting to any means necessary in order to secure his place as Professor. Meanwhile his former classmate Satomi (Takahiro Tamura) is concerned that Zaizen is neglecting his patients. When a patient of Zaizen's become sick directly after surgery Satomi recommends that Zaizen re-diagnoses him as there could be an underlying problem he missed. Stubbornness gets the better of Zaizen, who considers his every decision to be 100% right.

The Great White Tower is a slow and stirring medical drama/satire about democracy, inflated egos and gunning for status in the competitive field of medicine. It's a collected examination carried out with precise intent as it explores the seedy underside of human determination and the acts that a single man, or to a greater extent an established council, will resort to in order to maintain a perfect reputation. A multi-faceted piece of work, director Yamamoto painstakingly sees to it that every ounce of his characters are bled dry in highlighting various nefarious schemes, from eliciting acts of bribery to vote rigging and back-stabbing, without a single thought of integrity from anyone, save for the film's main anchor Satomi who is the only voice of concern and the only soul we have any reason to get behind. He deals with Japan as a changing society, where old school factions face imperative disbanding to make way for fresh young blood who will dictate future decades of research development and cutting edge techniques. With all of this Yamamoto makes his statements clear and he no doubt touches nerves: it's ultimately a cynical portrayal of a society gone mad, and it never ceases up for a single moment. It's depressing, shrugging the cold shoulder and leaving nothing in the way of hope; a vicious attack on corporate greed and consumption, where scruples are thrown out the window and money does all the talking. But Yamamoto's film isn't just a product of its time; forty years on there's a tremendous amount of relevance still to be had, and that's quite a scary thought. No wonder, then, that every so often it gets reinvented for a new generation.

And it's all done with such grand conviction, featuring an ensemble who play no small part in realising the severity of the situation. While the cast is excellent across the board, core to the films success is Tamiya Jiro and Takahiro Tamura who deliver two outstanding performances as practitioners who are complete polar opposites of one another. Goro Zaizen and Satomi Shuji are clear representations of the morals and corruption that make up our society: Zaizen is ruthless and egotistical, driven by blind ambition which is enough to see him overlook the more important aspects of his job, while Satomi is simply integrity and honesty in its purest form. And indeed Yamamoto takes these characters and sets up a cruel game.

All of this is fine to an extent. With no redeeming outcome other than having the ability to stick it to the man and tell us how politics, the justice system and certain medical ethics suck in equal measure, The Great White Tower has very little else to say. That in itself may seem adequate enough and indeed it makes it point, but it takes a laboured two and half hours to do so. It certainly tests the patience of the viewer, particularly when director Yamamoto spends copious amounts of time on no less than fifteen participants who debate the rights and wrongs of the entire selection process, not to mention the final thirty minutes which takes place entirely in a court room. He occasionally injects some more subtle commentaries into the fold, such as family status and marrying into specific classes, much to the angst of Azuma's daughter Saeko (Shiho Fujimura) in this case, in addition to showing the carefree nature of Zaizen's infidelity, while never focusing a great deal on his home life, which is most odd considering Zaizen's mistress (Mayumi Ogawa) Keiko gets an awful lot of screen time. But Yamamoto directs the film in a controlled manner, relying most of the time on steady central frame shots, which neatly capture the intimate conversations littered throughout, whilst conveying the film's ominous tone with Sei Ikeno's occasionally over the top "dun dun dun" score. Elsewhere he doesn't hold back; there are several instances in which he shows us real operations taking place, expertly cutting them between scenes involving the actors at work and displaying them in all their yucky detail, which in turn adds that much needed sense of authenticity. A dark sense of irony also underlines the picture; considering that the film deals primarily with cancer research, it's interesting to note that half the doctors in attendance smoke like chimneys! Oh, how times change.

DVD
The Great White Tower is part of Hong Kong distributor IVL's Kadokawa collection, which are available on R3 DVD.

Audio/Visual
Presented in an anamorphic aspect ratio of 2.35:1 The Great White Tower is one of IVL's better looking Kadokawa presentations. The actual print seems to be in fabulous condition; it's amazingly clean and free from scratches and other marks, which makes it a bit of a shame that the actual authoring isn't quite so tip top. The image does appear to be a little softer than I'd expect it to be, no doubt brought on by high contrast and sadly being a non-progressive transfer. Otherwise greyscale is good and there's still a fair amount of detail to pick up on.

As for sound, again it's quite impressive. The Japanese mono audio has a solid range of clarity; dialogue is presented without any major defects, save for a slight hiss here and there. It's very clean, with nothing in the way of pops or tinny-ness. Likewise the foreboding score is effective, never drowning out action, but enhancing given scenes with gusto.

Subtitles
Optional English subtitles are included and aside from some obvious spelling errors and the occasional awkward sentence structure they're perfectly acceptable, being well timed and presented with a nice sized font.

As for extras we're treated only to the original theatrical trailer, which is also given anamorphic treatment.

Overall
The Great White Tower is admittedly overlong, but it's a well realised study on the subject matter at hand. Fuelled by some wonderful performances and an astute directing style, it's no wonder as to why it became such a revered and highly influential motion picture.

by Kevin Gilvear - DVD Times

This original content has been created by or licensed to YesAsia.com, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of YesAsia.com.

Customer Review of "The Great White Tower (1966) (Blu-ray) (Japan Version)"

Average Customer Rating for All Editions of this Product: Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10 (1)

Kevin Kennedy
See all my reviews


December 4, 2008

This customer review refers to The Great White Tower (Hong Kong Version)
1 people found this review helpful

Gripping tale of hospital politics Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
In "The Great White Tower", the respected head of a surgical team at the Naniwa University Hospital will soon retire. The process to find his replacement is underway. The position is much coveted because it includes a full professorship and comes with great esteem. Vying for the position is Asst. Prof. Zaizen Goro, a masterful surgeon but also a publicity-seeking, unprincipled villain. This is a man so self-centered and nasty that you can imagine him kicking cute puppy dogs or taking candy from babies. His boss, the retiring professor, is dead-set against having Zaizen assume his position. The film's considerable interest comes from its depiction of the complex and sometimes corrupt interoffice politicking behind the selection process for the professorship and the lengths (and depths) to which Zaizen and his allies will go to achieve their goal. Will Zaizen win the job? What will be the consequences of his boundless ambition and arrogance? While this gripping film is almost 2 1/2 hours long, the time flies by as you watch it; this is a very well-told tale. If I could have changed anything about "The Great White Tower", I would have added some nuance to Zaizen's character, something to make him a bit more human, more sympathetic. However, I can recommend this film very highly. It is easy to see why viewers have been drawn to this great story again and again through the years.
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