Yojimbo  [DVD]
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A film Akira Kurosawa
Like Seven Samurai, Yojimbo was Kurosawa's tribute to the widescreen action Westerns of John Ford, and was itself remade as a Western stolen back lock, stock and barrel by Sergio Leone for A Fistful of Dollars.
The enigmatic samurai in Yojimbo is played by the great Toshiro Mifune (much admired by Clint Eastwood who cites the film as a personal favourite) as a scruffy, scratching, itinerant warrior who wanders into a strange town and right into the middle of two warring clans. Showing his skills with the samurai sword within minutes of his arrival, he soon has the town's rival factions competing for his services.
Kurosawa's genius for storytelling combines with thrilling swordplay, a healthy dose of black humour, a soundtrack every bit as atmospheric and amusing as Ennio Morricone's, and a towering performance from Mifune, to make Yojimbo an irresistible widescreen action movie.
Digitally mastered from a new print, this DVD release features a full-length commentary option by film historian Philip Kemp, plus on-screen biographies of Kurosawa and Mifune.
Japan | 1961 | black & white | Japanese language with English subtitles | 106 minutes | Ratio 2.35:1
Region 2 DVD
This semi-comic 1961 film by legendary director Akira Kurosawa (Rashomon, Ran) was inspired by the American Western genre. Kurosawa mainstay Toshirô Mifune (Seven Samurai) is cast as a drifting samurai for hire who plays both ends against the middle with two warring factions, surviving on his wits and his ability to outrun his own bad luck. Eventually the samurai seeks to eliminate both sides for his own gain and to define his own sense of honour. Yojimbo is striking for its unorthodox treatment of violence and morality, reserving judgment on the actions of its main character and instead presenting an entertaining tale with humour and much visual excitement. One of the inspirations for the "spaghetti westerns" of director Sergio Leone and later surfacing as a remake as Last Man Standing with Bruce Willis, this film offers insight into a director who influenced American films even as he was influenced by them. --Robert Lane, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The film is one of the Kurosawa's finest masterieces beside 'Rashomon' or 'The Seven Samurai' or 'Red Beard', and perfomance of Toshiro Mifune is perhaps best in his excellent career. Highly recommend.
While the basic theme of this story is not unique - the result of greed, manipulation of others, and the changing of the world (tradition vs. progression) - many factors add an interesting and unusual charm to this film. There are plots within plots, surprising deception, perfectly paced mounting tension, unpredictable plot twists, stories within stories, distinctive and amusing characters (the big guy with his huge mallet is a lot of fun), the seemingly never-ending face offs, backstabbing, character flaws; and our hero continually placed in the perfect position to observe, listen, and evaluate. Also, the bodyguard's impeccable timing in manipulation of both sides is nice, fulfilling our expectations and keeping the story moving along. What if bodyguards were really like this? (mischievous, brilliant, manipulative) The famous people of the world would be in terrible trouble.Read more ›
In theory, the film is based on the 1929 Dashiell Hammett novel RED HARVEST--but transports the basic story to a period in Japan when the Samurai class has fallen on hard times and must seek employment as common body guards. Sanjuro Kuwabatake (brilliantly played by Toshiro Mifune, who appeared in several Kurosawa films) is such a one, a scruffy looking and aging warrior who finds himself caught between warring factions of a Japanese village and responds by playing the two against each other.
One of the film's greatest assets is its visual style. Kurosawa is very clearly influenced by the look of the American western here, and most particularly so, in my opinion, by HIGH NOON. Consequently, YOJIMBO leaps the cultural divide with considerable ease--but Kurosawa uses the images of empty streets and the lone warrior to considerably different effect, presenting him as a dangerous figure who emerges from the dust and the wind to rip wide his foes. But the film does not rely on visual style alone: there is plenty of hard substance here, too. The plot is tightly wound, action-intensive, and laced with a dry and very black humor, and the cast is superlative throughout.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the all time great samurai films. Music is incredible. Story is marvellous.Published 5 months ago by N. Merchant
Obv it's an old film. Jumps a bit if you pause it but all in all can't complain really.Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Too comic and unrealistic for my taste.Sure,it was fun when I was ten.I'm 42 now - I prefer Kurosawas crime flicks.Published 9 months ago by Nice_Lieutenant
If someone asked me to choose between Yojimbo and A Fistful of Dollars, I couldn't do it. Fortunately, both of them are different enough to be enjoyed entirely in their own rights.Published 10 months ago by apple
watching this akira korosawa film first (excuse my spelling please) was probably a bad idea, since now all my opinions of his other films lay on the comparison of this film. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Ronan Kerrigan