Wednesday, May 7, 2014


The strong individual characters
we come to know in
Akira Kurosawa's

The simple story presented in
minute and multifaceted detail
with bold visual appeal
and unforgettable music has
resonated with audiences worldwide
since its release and was remade in Hollywood as . . .


Two great movies, each a classic.
We know to expect from cowboys and gunfighters in Westerns the vital relationship between man and weapon in terms of artistry and honor.
Yet the more we look into the source material, the more we see the cinematic samurai roots in classic Westerns
For example . . .

YOJIMBO (1961)
a masterless samurai, or ronin,
plays two rival gangs against each other to free the town.

Audiences familiar with the
iconic and laconic
Western hero played by
Clint Eastwood may be surprised to
find how much of the character starts with Toshiro Mifune.

The Man with No Name (Eastwood) hides his arms in
his sarape and frequently works a cigarillo with a stubbly face because
Sanjuro (Mifune) hides his arms in the folds of his gi
and frequently works a toothpick with a stubbly face.


Director Sergio Leone knew a great movie when he saw one. He made some of the best movies in cinema because he learned from the best himself.

The language of film speaks across culture and time.

This samurai movie was made by a Japanese filmmaker familiar with the Hollywood Western gunfight . . .

...and this Western shot in Italy was made by an Italian filmmaker remaking the samurai movie.

Before Scorsese and DeNiro,
Kurosawa and Mifune.
The director and the actor
collaborated on 16 films.
Check out
famous, like CITIZEN KANE (1941) for showing the multiple perspectives of a story, and
Kurosawa's adaptation of
Shakespeare's Macbeth, which was itself based on ancient tales he reworked . . .

NOTE: I own none of the pictures in this post, and share it
purely in the interest of film appreciation.

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