it makes sense that Criterion decided to release Yasujiro Ozu's two films, The Only Son (1937) & There Was A Father (1941), together since thematically there are some similarities. In The Only Son the story of a hardworking widow putting her son through school leads to dashed expectations for the son. Although he manages to get a degree the economic conditions of the 30s saw to it that a degree was not surefire prerequisite for economic success. His school teacher Okubo (Chishu Ryu) has also failed in Tokyo and runs a lowly restaurant to survive. The son has had to to go to Tokyo and leave his mother behind in Nagano and the result is a low paying job as a night school teacher. Dissolution of the family is a favorite theme of Ozu's. However, along with the separation the son has married and is now supporting his first child-all of which he hasn't bothered mentioning to his mother before she arrived. After a pep talk from his mother he vows to go back to school to get an accreditation to teach at high school. In There Was A Father, the situation concerns a widower (ubiquitous Chishu Ryu) who resigns from a position as a middle school teacher after a pupil under his care dies on a school excursion to Hakone. He decides to return to his hometown to start over. He is committed to educating his son, but this result in having to send him to boarding school to allow him to work in a factory and later separation is necessary as he moves to Tokyo for work while his son completes his studies in Sendai, before landing a job in the northern province of Akita. Again, we have the dissolution of the family. however, the two remain close and are able to meet now and then. The son wants to quit his job and join his father in Tokyo, but urges his son to do his duty (a subtle reference to the wartime production where greater sacrifices were taking place all over the Japanese empire). His father sees to it that he is married to a nice girl who is the daughter of his old headmaster. In the end a new family is forged. Both films have examples of Ozu's famous pillow shots, exquisitely framed compositions, and the tatami view conversations and drinking sessions that are found throughout all of his films over the years. The Criterion edition features video interviews with film scholars Tadao Sato, David Bordwell, and Kristin Thompson as well as a booklet with an essay by critic and historian Tony Rayns on The Only Son. There Was A Father also has a video interview with film scholars David Borwell and Kristin Thompson and a essay by Tony Rayns as well as an appreciation of actor Chishu Ryu by Japanese film scholar Donald Richie and comments by Ryu on director Ozu.