Reviews of Yojimbo (1961) and related work
- Sequel: Sanjuro (1962)
- Remake: A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
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.
‣ Sanjuro (1962)
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. Based on a book though. The original title, Tsubaki Sanjuurou, is presented in the story as a fake name. The surname means “camelia” and the given name, which is the English-language release’s title, means “thirty years old”.
‣ A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
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.
‣‣ For a Few Dollars More (1965)
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.
‣‣ The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
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).