(Akira Kurosawa, Japan, 1962) 96 minutes
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Producer: Tomoyuki Tanaka, Ryuzo Kikushima
Screenplay: Ryuzo Kikushima, Hideo Oguni, Akira Kurosawa
Photography: Fukuzo Kiozumi, Kozo Saito
Editor: Akira Kurosawa
Art Direction: Yoshiro Muraki
Music: Masaru Sato
Toshiro Mifune (Sanjuro)
Tatsuya Nakadai (Muroto)
Masao Shimizu (Kikui)
Yunosuke Ito (Matsuta)
Takako Irie (Matsuta's wife)
Reiko Dan (Matsuta's daughter)
Yuzo Kayama (Iori Izaka)
Takashi Shimura (Kurofuji)
Kamatari Fujiwara (Takebayashi)
Reviews and notes
and its sequel, SANJURO
, the hero (Mifune) is not in himself heroic. In the former picture he pits the two opposing factions of a town (both bad) together and then sits back and watches the fun. In the latter, he is continually harassed by a group of young samurai who really believe in the supposed heroics of their profession. His concern is lest their own foolhardiness kill them. Kurosawa, unlike many other film directors, is simply not interested in the idealistic, much preferring - flawed though it may be - the human.
- Donald Ritchie, Japanese Cinema, Secker & Warburg, 1972.
The action of SANJURO
unfolds largely in the rooms and gardens of two adjoining villas. Against settings of picturesque domesticity, Mifune's shaggy, truculent samurai seems more anomalous than ever, a battered relic of the declining Shogunate, living from hand to mouth and full of contempt for the anaemic products of a new samurai generation...
is nostalgic in other ways: Kurosawa makes frequent use of the wipe as narrative punctuation, stages his telephoto swordfights with traditionally clinical violence (Mifune once demolishes twenty men with two precision blows apiece), and again lets the hero shamble grumpily off at the end threatening to kill anyone who follows him...
The hint of abdication in his world-weary walk, as he shambles off up the road with a characteristic shrug of the shoulders, suggests Kurosawa's intention of wrapping up both this film and its predecessor Yojimbo
on a note of mellow downbeat finality. The mood is in keeping with a film structured round diplomatic intrigue, double-crossings and elaborately colourful ruses rather than the outright physicality of Yojimbo
-Nigel Andrews, Monthly Film Bulletin.
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