The incomparable Toshiro Mifune stars in Akira Kurosawa’s visually stunning and darkly comic Yojimbo. To rid a terror-stricken village of corruption, wily masterless samurai Sanjuro turns a range war between two evil clans to his own advantage. Remade twice, by Sergio Leone (A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS) and Walter Hill (LAST MAN STANDING), this exhilarating genre-twister remains one of the most influential and entertaining films ever produced. —The Criterion Collection
The son of an army officer, Kurosawa studied art before gravitating to film as a means of supporting himself. He served seven years as an assistant to director Kajiro Yamamoto before he began his own directorial career with Sanshiro Sugata (1943), a film about the 19th century struggle for supremacy between adherents of judo and jujitsu that so impressed the military government, he was prevailed upon to make a sequel (Sanshiro Sugata Part Two). Following the end of World War II, Kurosawa’s career gathered speed with a series of films that cut across all genres, from crime thrillers to period dramas. Among the latter, his Rashomon (1951) became the first postwar Japanese film to find wide favor with Western audiences. It was Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai (1954), however, that made the largest impact of any of his movies outside of Japan. Although heavily cut for its original release, this three-hour-plus medieval action drama, shot with painstaking… read more
Eternal theme of Kurosawa’s: the middle class’ struggle against corruption, their liberation (or not) by higher wits, valour and ingenuity from ranks on high - samurai seven, hidden gentry, the yojimbo ‘Sanjuro’; each providing the skeleton for his films, and all nuances of inequity, iniquity in between. The appearance of Mifune in each in turn confirms the partnership between him and Kurosawa as one enduring as Eastwood and Leone - Yojimbo’s blueprint included, in which Mancini scoring and wily manoeuvre curry steady stamp and portrait.
The inspiration for Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars three years later. Kurosawa and his regular production team, including production and costume designer, Yoshirô Muraki, composer, Masaru Satô, and cinematographer… read review
All that you could ask for in a movie, and probably the best entry point for the Kurosawa uninitiated. Seven Samurai is often pointed to as his best, which is true, but it’s also epically long. Ran… read review
Kurosawa, simply put, is a master of shot composition. The way he moves the camera within the frame is nothing short of brilliant, keeping all essential visuals within each shot and not sparing anything… read review