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Kuroda (Toshiro Mifune), a samurai warrior, is accompanying a Japanese diplomat to the US. They are carrying a golden, jewel-encrusted sword to present as a token of goodwill to the president, however they are ambushed by two outlaws - Gauche (Alain Delon) and Link (Charles Bronson). When Gauche double-crosses Link and keeps the sword for himself, Link joins forces with Kuroda to return the sword to its rightful owner.
It is the 19th century, and two criminals, Link and Gotch, have a falling out after robbing a train. As a result, Gotch not only takes off with the money, but with a priceless golden sword owned by a Samurai passenger named Kuroda. Despite their cultural differences and initial hostility, Kuroda and Link pair up to find Gotch. The vengeful duo eventually track him down--only to find that a violent twist of events will change their lives forever... The great Toshiro Mifune is an excellent match for the stoic Bronson under the direction of James Bond regular Terence Young (Dr No etc) and there's a score from Maurice Jarre.
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While a long way from his laziest work, Terence Young directs with more efficiency than imagination and as a result there's not too much to get excited about here. Aside from the final fight with hostiles in a burning field of tall grass the action scenes make little impression, Bronson and Mifune don't bring their A-game to the party (not too surprising with dialogue like "I think you're a helluva man." "I think you're a son of a beesh!") while it all feels rather too leisurely at 112 minutes. Then there's the rather coy nudity - Andress does undress, but only allows a glimpse of one breast and one buttock as if she only got paid half her going rate and wouldn't let the producers see the full set. Still, Maurice Jarre's eccentric score incorporating koto, dulcimer, ondes martinot, accordion and symphony orchestra makes an impression, and Delon enjoys himself as the trigger-happy black-clad villain 'Gauche.' Definitely worth a watch, but certainly not a keeper.
Whereas Cinema Club's previous DVD was fullframe with a trailer as extra, this remastered version from Optimum is extras-free but is in 1.78:1 widescreen. StudioCanal's Bluray release seems to be taken from the same old master and includes no extras.
I won't repeat the story line,but,rather,concentrate on the picture,and audio,quality of this DVD.
In general,the picture quality is very good,only falling down on some of the exterior shots.
However,the audio quality is rather poor,leading to both difficulty on occasions hearing the,frequently witty,dialogue,and some very "wonky" background music.
However,it is still a very enjoyable film,and the interplay between Charles Bronson,and Toshiro Mifune,is a real delight,eg the line from the former to the latter at the end of their fight.