Reviews of Yojimbo (1961) and related work

Yojimbo (1961Moving picture, 110 minutes)

A nameless warrior hires himself out to fight in a town where the mob has split up in two factions. He fools both, for a while.

The failure is nice, but only temporary.

moving picture Japanese production fiction

Sanjuro (1962Moving picture, 96 minutes)

Ten idealistic samurai unwittingly stride towards their meaningless death, saved only and repeatedly by a nameless, grumpy bum with great wisdom and fantastic sword skills. A well-mannered lady who knows how to enjoy a haystack describes him well.

Lighter adventure. Instead of post-feudal corruption, there’s just a hint of melancholy at the sealed fate of the old adventurers, and a huge orgasmic spray to mark one of the world’s last proper deaths.

The structure of this one feels more original, perhaps because it hasn’t been imitated as often as the original. It is based on a book though.

The original title, Tsubaki Sanjuurou, is presented in the story as a fake name. The family name Tsubaki means “camelia” and the given name, which is the English-language release’s title, means “thirty years old”.

References here: Story of Science Fiction (2018).

moving picture sequel Japanese production fiction

A Fistful of Dollars (1964Moving picture, 99 minutes)

A cornerstone of Clint Eastwood’s claim to fame. In large part because of his choices, this film and its sequels are considered a trilogy.

A Western, of the especially mythological yet relatively amoral kind produced by Italians in Spain, at a time when Westerns like that had to be credited to Anglicized pseudonyms. More stylish than Yojimbo.

moving picture remake fiction

‣‣ For a Few Dollars More (1965Moving picture, 132 minutes)

I saw it in 4:3 format, which looked terrible.

Rival bounty hunters clash in attempt to bring in a notorious criminal, traumatized by his past, dead.

Generally considered a sequel. Properly credited and more original.

moving picture spin-off fiction

‣‣ The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966Moving picture, 178 minutes)

Three men quest for eight hidden bags of gold coins as Union soldiers press further south in 1862.

Often considered a prequel. The package is complete, with the addition of a brilliant score. High on anachronisms and technical implausibility, mercifully low on dubbing (though not free of it).

moving picture spin-off fiction