Author Topic: Tsubaki Sanjûrô (Sanjuro) (1962)  (Read 1987 times)

Offline Antares

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Tsubaki Sanjûrô (Sanjuro) (1962)
« on: May 05, 2010, 12:00:05 AM »
Tsubaki Sanjûrô





Year: 1962
Film Studio: Toho, Janus Films
Genre: Action, Classic
Length: 96 Min.

Director
Akira Kurosawa (1910)

Writing
Ryûzô Kikushima...Writer
Akira Kurosawa (1910)...Writer
Hideo Oguni (1904)...Writer

Producer
Ryûzô Kikushima
Tomoyuki Tanaka (1910)

Cinematographer
Fukuzo Koizumi
Takao Saitô (1920)

Music
Masaru Satô (1928)...Composer

Stars
Toshirô Mifune (1920) as Sanjûrô Tsubaki / The Samurai
Tatsuya Nakadai (1932) as Hanbei Muroto
Keiju Kobayashi (1923) as The Spy
Yûzô Kayama (1937) as Iori Izaka
Reiko Dan (1935) as Chidori, Mutsuta's daughter
Akihiko Hirata (1927) as Samurai
Takashi Shimura (1905) as Kurofuji
Kamatari Fujiwara (1905) as Takebayashi

Review
       After the financial and critical success of Yojimbo, studio executives at Toho approached Akira Kurosawa to direct a sequel. Taking Shugoro Yamamoto's novel Peaceful Days, and replacing the two samurai with Toshirô Mifune’s vagabond anti-hero ronin Sanjûrô, Kurosawa would create one of his lightest and funniest films. Another deviation from the original story is that Sanjûrô’s fight is not with a gang of yakuza, but with corrupt government officials, giving the film a separate storyline needed to distinguish and distance it from its predecessor Yojimbo. By making these changes, Tsubaki Sanjûrô comes across as less of a sequel and more of a prequel in that Sanjûrô’s ‘sheathed sword’ mindset in the film, is replaced with a kill at all cost cynicism in the screenplay of Yojimbo.
   
       Set in nineteenth century Japan, a group of nine young and ambitious samurai uncover a web of corruption in their clan. When the leader of the group Iori Izaka (Yuzo Kayama) confronts Mutsuta the chamberlain (Yûnosuke Itô) with their findings, he is surprisingly rebuffed and suspicious of the chamberlain’s actions. He then seeks out superintendent Kikui (Masao Shimizu) and informs him of his conversation with Mutsuta. At first, Kikui’s response is one of shock and uneasiness at the revelations of corruption that Iori and his followers have uncovered, but his demeanor changes to an overtly eager willingness to help them bring the guilty to justice. He tells Iori to gather his group and wait for him at a temple on the outskirts of their territory. As Iori is relaying this story to his company of cohorts, the sound of another visitor to the temple can be heard in an adjacent room. When the stranger makes his presence known to the group, they are fearful that he is a spy of Mutsuta and are ready to kill him.

       Introducing himself as a wayward ronin, he suggests that Mutsuta is not the corrupt official but that Kikui is the guilty one. He uses the chamberlain’s own words to state his case, “The worst one is beyond your imagination”. When the group begins to heed Sanjûrô’s advice, they tell him of their impending meeting with Kikui at the temple. Instantly, Sanjûrô realizes the trap that Kikui has set to capture his antagonists. Through his guile and bravado, Sanjûrô takes on Kikui’s men and saves the nine samurai’s lives. When it is realized that the chamberlain’s life is now in danger through the statements made to Kikui by Iori, Sanjûrô agrees to assist them in freeing the kidnapped chamberlain and exposing the true criminal to the clan. Throughout the course of the film, Sanjûrô will deal with the group’s immaturity and will have to bail them out of life threatening situations that will arise in their pursuit of justice for the guilty.

       As sequels go, Tsubaki Sanjûrô is in a class of its own. If Yojimbo had never been made, Tsubaki Sanjûrô would stand alone as a respected chanbara classic. Interwoven with suspense, action and comedy, its narrative is free to meander toward its exciting finale involving the two powerful adversaries, Sanjûrô and Hanbei (Tatsuya Nakadai). At a time when bloodshed was not shown onscreen, the silent standoff between the two samurai would forever be etched in cinematic history as an exciting precursor to the bloodlettings made by future directors Sergio Leone and Sam Peckinpaugh. A highly recommended film, Tsubaki Sanjûrô is a non-stop thrill ride for anyone who enjoys a good samurai story overflowing with believable action.


Review Criterion
5 Stars - The pinnacle of film perfection and excellence.
4 ½ Stars - Not quite an immortal film, yet a masterpiece in its own right.
4 Stars - Historically important film, considered a classic.
3 ½ Stars - An entertaining film that’s fun or engaging to watch.
3 Stars – A good film that’s worth a Netflix venture.
2 ½ Stars - Borderline viewable.
2 Stars – A bad film that may have a moment of interest.
1 ½ Stars – Insipid, trite and sophomoric, and that's its good points.
1 Star – A film so vacuous, it will suck 2 hours from the remainder of your life.
½ Star - A gangrenous and festering pustule in the chronicles of celluloid.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2010, 06:42:02 PM by Antares »

Offline Achim

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Re: Tsubaki Sanjûrô (Sanjuro) (1962)
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2010, 06:19:18 AM »
Hmmm, sounds I have another one to be added to the wish list.

Najemikon

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Re: Tsubaki Sanjûrô (Sanjuro) (1962)
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2010, 08:38:46 PM »
Achim! I would have thought you'd already seen this. How about Yojimbo? If you haven't seen that either, I seriously recommend the Criterion double set. Absolutely essential viewing...

Offline Antares

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Re: Tsubaki Sanjûrô (Sanjuro) (1962)
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2010, 09:13:03 PM »
Achim! I would have thought you'd already seen this. How about Yojimbo? If you haven't seen that either, I seriously recommend the Criterion double set. Absolutely essential viewing...

Agree wholeheartedly! :thumbup:

Offline Achim

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Re: Tsubaki Sanjûrô (Sanjuro) (1962)
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2010, 06:22:28 AM »
I own these so far:

High and Low (The Criterion Collection)
Kagemusha (The Criterion Collection)
Rashomon (The Criterion Collection)
The Hidden Fortress (The Criterion Collection)
Yojimbo (The Criterion Collection)
Seven Samurai (The Criterion Collection)
Ran (The Criterion Collection)

Some (most :bag:) of those are still unwatched; I need to be in certain mood to be willing to watch subtitled stuff.