Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
Original title: Tsubaki Sanjuro
Japan, 1962. Toho Company, Kurosawa Production Co.. Screenplay by Hideo Oguni, Ryuzo Kikushima, Akira Kurosawa, based on the novel Nichinichi Heian by Shugoro Yamamoto. Cinematography by Fukuzo Koizumi, Takao Saito. Produced by Ryuzo Kikushima, Tomoyuki Tanaka. Music by Masaru Sato. Production Design by Yoshiro Muraki.
A lighter, more comedic film than Yojimbo, this one has the legendary Toshirô Mifune repeating his performance as the no-named samurai who helps out villages in need. This time it’s the case of a clan’s chancellor who has been kidnapped by the evil superintendent looking to place the blame for faulty management on his captor. Ten naive, green samurai manage to discover the plot but need Mifune, who has rolled into town for no reason and without pretext, to help them out. He does, but mostly because it’s the only thing that will keep him awake. The film is pristine from start to finish, with magnificent performances, Akira Kurosawa’s customary dead-on widescreen compositions and some pretty terrific fight sequences. The equally impressive Tatsuya Nakadai appears as a villain.