Yojimbo

Yojimbo

4.9 13
Director: Akira Kurosawa

Cast: Akira Kurosawa, Toshiro Mifune, Eijiro Tono, Seizaburo Kawazu

     
 

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Toshiro Mifune portrays a Samurai who finds himself in the middle of a feud-torn Japanese village. Neither side is particularly honorable, but Mifune is hungry and impoverished, so he agrees to work as bodyguard (or Yojimbo) for a silk merchant (Kamatari Fujiwara) against a sake merchant (Takashi Shimura). He then pretends to go to work for the other, the better to… See more details below

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Overview

Toshiro Mifune portrays a Samurai who finds himself in the middle of a feud-torn Japanese village. Neither side is particularly honorable, but Mifune is hungry and impoverished, so he agrees to work as bodyguard (or Yojimbo) for a silk merchant (Kamatari Fujiwara) against a sake merchant (Takashi Shimura). He then pretends to go to work for the other, the better to let the enemies tear each other apart. Imprisoned for his "treachery," he escapes just in time to watch the two warring sides wipe each other out. This was his plan all along, and now that peace has been restored, he leaves the village for further exploits. Yes, Yojimbo was the prototype for the Clint Eastwood "Man with No Name" picture A Fistful of Dollars (1964). The difference is that Fistful relies on Eastwood for its success, whereas Yojimbo scores on every creative level, from director Akira Kurosawa to cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa to Mifune's classic lead performance.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jonathan Crow
Yojimbo is both a brilliant reworking of the samurai genre and arguably director Akira Kurosawa's most influential work. Toshiro Mifune gives the finest performance of his stellar career as Sanjuro, a bored, flea-bitten, and thoroughly amoral ronin who possesses almost superhuman swordmanship. Like a Greek god descending from Mount Olympus, Sanjuro comes upon a village torn asunder by two rival groups and cleans up the town. Like Gary Cooper in High Noon (1952), Sanjuro finds himself in a village full of greedy, weak, and bad people that probably does not deserve saving. Unlike Cooper, whose face grows grim with the moral importance of his act, Sanjuro smirks with anarchic glee as he deftly picks one side against the other. With a wry, subversive wit, Kurosawa marries his muscular narrative to a swaggering visual style, aided by the masterful cinematography of Kazuo Miyagawa. From the Sanjuro's final duel with young gun-toting thug Unosuke (Tatsuya Nakadai) to the single grotesque image of a dog clutching a human hand at the film's outset, Yojimbo crackles with a dynamic energy that rivets and entertains. Though Yojimbo spun off a number of remakes, including Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and Walter Hill's Last Man Standing (1996), none matches the film's technical brilliance and dark humor.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/23/2007
UPC:
0715515020824
Original Release:
1961
Rating:
NR
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[B&W, Wide Screen]
Time:
1:50:00
Sales rank:
11,359

Special Features

All-new, restored high-definition digital transfer; Optional Dolby Digital 3.0 soundtrack, preserving the original Perspecta simulated stereo effects; Audio commentary by film historian and Kurosawa scholar Stephen Prince; A 45-minute documentary on the making of Yojimbo, created as part of the Toho Masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create; Theatrical trailer and teaser; Stills gallery of behind-the-scenes photos; New and improved English subtitle translation; A booklet featuring an essay by critic Alexander Sesonske and notes from Kurosawa and his cast and crew

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Toshiro Mifune Sanjuro Kuwabatake
Eijiro Tono Gonji the Sake Seller
Seizaburo Kawazu Seibei
Tatsuya Nakadai Unosuke
Isuzu Yamada Orin
Daisuke Kato Inokichi
Hiroshi Tachikawa Yoichiro
Kamatari Fujiwara Tazaemon
Kyu Sazanka Ushitora
Susumu Fujita Homma
Yosuke Natsuki Farmer's Son
Akira Nishimura Kuma
Ikio Sawamura Hansuke
Takashi Shimura Tokuemon
Yoshio Tsuchiya Kohei the Farmer
Yoko Tsukasa Nui
Atsushi Watanabe Coffin Maker

Technical Credits
Akira Kurosawa Director,Editor,Screenwriter
Kazuo Miyagawa Cinematographer
Shinobu Muraki Production Designer
Yoshiro Muraki Costumes/Costume Designer,Production Designer
Hideo Oguni Screenwriter
Tomoyuki Tanaka Producer
Ryuzo Kikushima Producer,Screenwriter
Masaru Sato Score Composer
Dashiell Hammett Source Author

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Yojimbo
1. Stick [5:56]
2. Sides [10:22]
3. Demonstration [3:44]
4. Price [1:09]
5. Plot [2:19]
6. Names [2:18]
7. Noon [6:52]
8. Inspections [6:13]
9. Costs [3:38]
10. Unosuke [3:52]
11. Fired [3:04]
12. Bargain [1:41]
13. Information [4:46]
14. Exchange [3:14]
15. Mothers [4:00]
16. Betrayed [2:02]
17. Bodyguard [1:57]
18. Gone [4:44]
19. Retaliation [1:44]
20. Note [4:57]
21. Pounding [4:36]
22. Chest [9:01]
23. Smoke [5:43]
24. Duped [1:46]
25. Training [1:27]
26. Payback [9:25]
1. Monumental [5:56]
2. Influences [10:22]
3. Surrogate [3:44]
4. Ryo [1:09]
5. Neo-Confucianism [2:19]
6. Abstract [2:18]
7. Sly [6:52]
8. Generations [6:13]
9. Bushido [3:38]
10. Capitalism [3:52]
11. Yakuza [3:04]
12. Lighting [1:41]
13. Music [4:46]
14. Mirrored [3:14]
15. Extortion [4:00]
16. Oka [2:02]
17. Pivotal [1:57]
18. Action [4:44]
19. Depravity [1:44]
20. Comedy [4:57]
21. Hammett [4:36]
22. References [9:01]
23. Impact [5:43]
24. Spectral [1:46]
25. Soul [1:27]
26. Fantasy [9:25]
1. Intro [1:30]
2. Innovations [11:34]
3. Set [5:02]
4. Telephoto [9:34]
5. Rival [1:58]
6. Elements [4:10]
7. Mifune [6:03]
8. Impact [4:40]

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