August 6th, 2008
Japanese Samurai movie by Akira Kurosawa, starring Toshiro Mifune.
If you watched this without knowing anything about it, you might be struck by how similar Samurai movies are to Westerns. But it doesn’t take much research to learn that Kurosawa was a fan of Westerns, and thet he probably intentionally made this movie seem like it might just as well be a Western.
Mifune’s character, a man with no name, walks into a town that has been overtaken by violence. Nobody’s getting rich except the coffin-maker. The man with no name, an accomplished sword-fighter, is a wandering Samurai looking for money and something to do.
Sound familiar? I do have the Italian spaghetti Western A Fistful of Dollars, but I haven’t watched it yet. I’ll let you know how similar Sergio Leone’s remake of Yojimbo, starring Clint Eastwood as the man with no name, really is to the Japanese original.
In my research I learned that Leone didn’t credit Kurosawa’s film as his inspiration. He was subsequently sued and forced to make a financial settlement. Modern copies of Fistful explicitly call it a remake of Yojimbo.
(continued sometime… I hope…)