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Criterion Collection: Yojimbo & Sanjuro: Two Films [DVD] [1961] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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LOVEFiLM By Post

Rent Yojimbo/Sanjuro on Blu-ray from LOVEFiLM By Post
Region 1 encoding. (This DVD will not play on most DVD players sold in the UK [Region 2]. This item requires a region specific or multi-region DVD player and compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
Note: you may purchase only one copy of this product. New Region 1 DVDs are dispatched from the USA or Canada and you may be required to pay import duties and taxes on them (click here for details) Please expect a delivery time of 5-7 days.

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Product details

  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000K0YM0Y
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 50,632 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 16 May 2010
Format: Blu-ray
Akira Kurosawa made the best samurai movies in cinematic history, since he mixed in other elements (spaghetti westerns!) and crafted the action around the stories. And the two-movie pack of "Yojimbo" and "Sanjuro" is deeply satisfying -- vivid, compelling, often humorous and they star the fantastic Toshiro Mifune.

"Yojimbo" was an adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's "Red Harvest," the story of a detective who cleans up a city. But Kurosawa yanks the action across the world, to a grizzled samurai (Mifune) who wanders into an impoverished town, after hearing a farmer talking about the corruption there.

He wasn't kidding -- the nearby town is a battleground for two warring clans and the corrupt police. The samurai knows that he's smarter than anyone else in the town, so he starts playing the two clans against one another, while deftly sidestepping the inevitable clashes.

If "Yojimbo" is a dark comedy, "Sanjuro" is more of a straight-out comedy, with the return of Mifune's scruffy, wily hero. This time, he rescues nine naive, inept young noblemen from the Superintendent's thugs, and after figuring out the conspiracy that is forming in a nearby town, he decides to rescue the Superintendant, his wife and daughter.

Unfortunately, the samurai (now going by the name of Sanjuro Tsubaki) soon finds that the noblemen aren't very bright, and they also have a bad habit of disobeying him, since he is of lower rank than they are. He concocts a plan to thwart the Superintendant and his deadly lieutenant... assuming his army of nine doesn't botch it.

Kurosawa was a lover of American cowboy flicks, and at times this shows, especially in the rugged hero, who acts like a medieval Japanese gunslinger (he even has the piercing eyes for it).
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Brought this for my other half as a gift, as the director is an all time favourite of his.

Spent a lot of time researching which of the many variations of release of these movies to buy, and this was justified by the quality of the transfer, and being able to see the scenes as the director intended (not with bits of the edges chopped off as in some of the earlier releases).

The visuals were superb and, never having seen these films before, I found myself completely wrapped up in the stories. The comic touches that lighten the heavy moments are deftly dealt. It's easy to see why his reputation is so well deserved.

Highly recommended not just for fans, but for those new to his work.
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Format: Blu-ray
Since Amazon has mixed up the separate reviews of these two films, this is my review of Yojimbo only.

So says Ejiro Tono’s restaurant owner, Gonji, to Toshiro Mifune’s lone ronin ('unattached samurai’), Sanjuro Kuwabatake in Akira Kurosawa’s 1961 film Yojimbo ('bodyguard’), as the latter trades off the small, late 20th century town’s two gangs against one another, superficially for financial gain, but with some undercurrent of latent humanity. Yojimbo was, of course, another Kurosawa film (following Seven Samurai) that was the inspiration for a western genre film, this time Sergio Leone’s A Fistful Of Dollars (made in 1964). Indeed, not only was Kurosawa and Ryuzo Kikushima’s tale the inspiration for Leone’s film but the look of Yojimbo also appears to have influenced Leone’s (and regular cinematographer Tonino Delli Colli’s) visual sense – a great example of this is (for me) Yojimbo’s most stunning shot, that near the end as the samurai is framed in the distance, across the wind-swept town, with (recently tortured) ally Gonji suspended by his wrists in the foreground (a panoramic shot revealed as Kazuo Miyagawa’s camera draws back).

As was Kuroswa’s wont in relation to his 'samurai films’, Yojimbo is not all flailing swords and severed limbs – far from it, it is more a study of social manners and human idiosyncrasies. And Mifune’s ronin is hardly an 'action hero’ in the mould of the traditional 'professional’ samurai, more a phlegmatic and conflicted opportunist with an undercurrent of dark humour and cynicism (repeatedly fooling the 'tough guys’ and sticking out his tongue in jest).
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Format: Blu-ray
At present this pairing of two Akiro Kurosawa 'Samurai' classics is only available on BLU RAY in the States.
But therein lies a problem for UK and European buyers…

The US issue is REGION-A LOCKED - so it WILL NOT PLAY on most UK Blu Ray players unless they're chipped to play 'all' regions (which the vast majority aren't).
Don’t confuse BLU RAY players that have multi-region capability on the 'DVD' front – that won’t help.

Until such time as someone like the BFI gives both a REGION B and C release – check your BLU RAY player has the capacity to play REGION A – before you buy the pricey Criterion issue…
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
really would recommend this great combination. not available in this form by any other label ... do it as fast as you can
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