Here are all three films in director Hiroshi Inagaki's Samurai trilogy, an adaptation of Eiji Yoshikawa magnificent 1000 page novel Musashi
which sold over 120 million copies in Japan. It won the academy award for best foreign movie in 1954. It's filmed in glorious Eastmancolor and shot, for the most part in the japanese landscape. Since the three films cover one story, buying a boxed set like this is definitely the way to get them.
Miyamoto Musashi is a historical figure, Japan's most famous swordsman who was never defeated in combat. He defeated every swordsman who faced him, and was only once held to a draw by a staff expert, to whom he simply couldn't get close enough.
The title character is played by Toshirô Mifune in the role that brought him to international attention.
The first film, Musashi is set in 1600 A.D., in a civil war period. Musashi relates the first years of samurai apprenticeship of Takezo who, with his friend, Matahachi, decides to go to war in order to obtain fame. The second film, Duel at Ichijoji temple, is the most violent, with a climactic fight scene in which Musashi defeats 80 attackers. In the final volume, Duel at Ganryu Island, Musashi defeats his bitter rival in an unforgettable dual, pictured on the cover.
The only weakness is these films are the women in Musashi's life, who seem to us today over-feminine and weak. Whilst this is true to the novel, and arguably expressive of a culture in which masculine and feminine were sharply separated in mand and woman, it's irritating and for this the films (especially the third) lose half a star. This aside, these are great films that deserve to be much better known. Unfortunately, there is no Region 2 DVD release. UK viewers will have to make do with this US version, or try the Region 0 Chinese release