The original version of Twenty-Four Eyes (Nijushi no hitomi) was released in 1954, and became one of the most beloved Japanese films ever released. In 1987, a new version was released in color. What's surprising is how really good it is.
In fact, it's almost a scene-by-scene re-do of the original - the kind of thing that often leads to disaster. But the screenplay is so rock solid that it stands the test of time, and what results is a charming, deeply emotional story of a rural schoolteacher and the students she follows through their adult lives. Some might say its sacrilege to compare one to the other, but modern audiences seem to fall in love with the 1987 version in spite of themselves. Stunning colors combine with Yuko Tanaka's breathtaking lead performance to create a film almost certain to enchant. Several scenes actually surpass the original.
The unfortunate thing is that, given the dominance of Kinoshita's classic original, it's just about impossible to locate a copy of the sequel. The film had a one-showing American run, and has never been available on DVD. Sad, since it's so consistently arresting.