The Criterion Collection have been turning their attention to classic Japanese samurai cinema with their Sixties Swordplay Classics series, and this release finds them lending their typical attention to detail to a superb genre effort from Hideo Gosha. Sword of the Beast (aka Kedamono no ken) has been given a letterboxed transfer to disc in the widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1, which has also been enhanced for anamorphic playback on 16 x 9 monitors. The image is superbly nuanced, with a marvelous scale of grays that reproduces the bold but elegant framings of Toshitada Tsuchiya's camera work to marvelous effect, and this is as handsome a black-and-white DVD as one is likely to find. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono, and captures the original sound mix with sharpness and fine detail. The dialogue is in Japanese, with optional English titles that are located in the lower letterbox bar so they don't interfere with the images. Surprisingly, this is the rare Criterion title without any bonus materials (beyond an intelligent liner essay from Patrick Macias), but fans of Asian genre cinema will still be impressed with this excellent transfer of a title rarely seen in the West.