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1  Films of Sergio Leone / A Fistful of Dollars / Re:Lone Wolf And Cub on: May 05, 2004, 12:04:39 PM
I always saw it as to be a sobering shock, It does reinforce Sanjuro's point to the watching samurai at the end. That its just bushido bullsú$t. I don't think anybody had seen a arterial spray like that in Japanese film. First of its kind, and ofcourse thousands followed.


It certainly is a sobering shock.  Like Leone's movies, there is nothing in Kurosawa's movies that he didn't want there (even the wind), so I'm sure that's the effect he was going for.

I'll have to see some of these other films, they sound interesting.
2  Films of Sergio Leone / A Fistful of Dollars / Re:YOJIMBO VS. FFOD on: May 04, 2004, 12:21:57 PM
What do you guys think of Sanjuro (a lesser known Kurosawa with the same charcter as Yojimbo)? I actually prefer it. Especially the ending which, as a friend of mine pointed out, is like the Hegelian synthesis of Leone showdowns and battle scenes from the Lone Wolf and Cub series, even though it predates both of them.

I've only seen Sanjuro once, but I think the end, stylistically at least,  is remisicent of the Harmonica/Frank standoff at the end of OUATITW.  Only, there's a LOT more blood in the Sanjuro fight; I sometimes think the effects guy over did it a bit.

I think the western movie "stand-off" owes a lot to Kurosawa (or Japanese film).  I'm not an expert on the American west, but as I understand it, the concept of two gunslingers facing each other, staring each other down, and then drawing is largely a myth; there wasn't that much "fair play" involved.  Whereas, the formal duels between Samurai were very stylistic.  Perhaps someone can correct my thinking on that point.

There's a strong comedic element running through Sanjuro that doesn't link up to anything in Leone's movies.  Leone's movies have comedy, but it's just a different sort.

I wonder how many of Kurosawa's films Leone saw.  

Good movie.  I'll have to get the Sanjuro DVD out tonight and watch it.
3  Films of Sergio Leone / A Fistful of Dollars / Re:YOJIMBO VS. FFOD on: May 03, 2004, 06:53:17 PM
I enjoy both films for different reasons, so I prefer to stay away from "which is the better movie?" arguments.  I don't think either movie is the best work of the respective director, but they are both fun to watch; IMO Yojimbo has a bit more "style" to it, probably due to Mifune's acting; I suppose that's just personal preference (although to be honest, I haven't seen "Fistful" for a while).

Did Leone copy Yojimbo?  Yes.  Is it a bad thing?  Not at all.  All artists, at some point, build on what has been done before, whether it's an homage or just to explore an idea in a different way. The great ones borrow and put their own vision/style on it, something that Leone definitely did.  

There is one scene in FFOD that I prefer over the comparable scene in Yojimbo: After the protagonist has been beaten up and locked in the storeroom, I always thought Eastwood's escape was more realistic and satisfying.  In Yojimbo, Mifune hides in a box, and the guards think he's escaped (even though he's half dead, the door was locked, and the bars are still on the window).  I always feel like yelling out, "He's hiding in the box, you fool".

Alternatively, I always preferred the ending to Yojimbo. The "gun vs. sword" battle is done brilliantly; the way Mifune moves is just amazing. Also, I think there is more subtext in Yojimbo.  The use of the "western revolver" story element, and the implication that it makes the traditional Samurai weapons and culture obsolete.  Yet, Mifune walks away triumphant at the end demonstrating that skill counts for something.

And, how Mifune manages to cut the rope around the bartender... it astounds me every time.

Of course, to top everything, Yojimbo's crying brat isn't nearly as annoying as the one in FFOD.

I don't know if it's been mentioned on this board, but there is a "modernized" trailer for Yojimbo here: http://www.maximument.com/yojimbo.html

Anyway, I've rambled long enough for my first post.
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