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Author Topic: YOJIMBO VS. FFOD  (Read 42911 times)
dave jenkins
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« Reply #45 on: January 25, 2007, 04:45:35 PM »

The Criterion re-release of Yojimbo/Sanjuro is out and my copy arrived yesterday. The bad news is that DVDBeaver is right, Criterion has cropped the images, and to get the 2.35:1 ratio they've cropped them on all 4 sides. The good news is that both films come with Stephen Prince commentaries. Although Prince is hopeless at pronouncing Japanese names, he gives better commentary on Kurosawa than anyone around. He is always well-researched and is able to bring his knowledge to bear upon his subject in ways that actually reveal new things to the listener.

So far I've only listened to the Yojimbo commentary and found it quite stimulating. At several junctures he points out where Leone was probably inspired by AK. His most interesting comment, however, has to do with the scene in which Sanjuro is captured and beaten. Although Yojimbo is thought to derive from Dashiell Hammett's Red Harvest, Prince contends that the beating scene owes a lot to the adaptation of another Hammett novel, The Glass Key. We have to keep in mind the fact that the book and the film are different works, of course (which is difficult to do in R1, since TGK has yet to be released on DVD and it's been years since I've seen the film), but the observation is evocative. (BTW, The Glass Key, the novel, was the inspiration for the Coen's Miller's Crossing).

Looking forward to watching Sanjuro with the commentary.

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« Reply #46 on: January 25, 2007, 05:44:34 PM »

Questions to Dave:

Regarding "Yojimbo",

1. How much was chopped off from the original composition? Are the titles in the opening sequence chopped off?
2. In the remastered edition, are the titles written in the original brush stroke Japanese characters?
3. Is the contrast improved?

« Last Edit: January 25, 2007, 05:46:40 PM by Sanjuro » Logged

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« Reply #47 on: January 25, 2007, 05:56:52 PM »

Titles looked okay. I'm pretty sure they got their master from Toho, so yeah, you get kanji now, not English titles. DVDBeaver has pretty good comparisons here: http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDReviews11/yojimbo.htm

I guess maybe the cropping isn't really that noticeable. It's more of a problem on Sanjuro.http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDCompare5/sanjuro.htm

« Last Edit: January 25, 2007, 06:35:37 PM by dave jenkins » Logged


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« Reply #48 on: January 25, 2007, 10:13:59 PM »

Titles looked okay. I'm pretty sure they got their master from Toho, so yeah, you get kanji now, not English titles. DVDBeaver has pretty good comparisons here: http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDReviews11/yojimbo.htm

I guess maybe the cropping isn't really that noticeable. It's more of a problem on Sanjuro.http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDCompare5/sanjuro.htm

Good lord, what an improvement! It's much sharper and it has much better contrast. And the original Japanese titles! It must have been mastered from the Toho master that was supervised by Kurosawa's DP Takao Saito.

Thank you Dave for the info. This is definitely a must-own edition. 

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« Reply #49 on: October 25, 2007, 05:50:45 PM »

Third and most importantly, Leone's FFOD is by far superior...
I've always found Yojimbo to be better. While there are bits of FoD I dislike, I think that Yojimbo had a better pace. The time passed quicker for me.

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« Reply #50 on: October 30, 2007, 10:35:36 AM »

 I love both but Leone is my favorite director an morricone is my favorite composer so I must say that I watch ffod more often than yojimbo
millers crossing is pretty close to both ffod and yojimbo but last man standing is obviously an intentional  remake ,changing the set from samurai and cowboys to gangsters.
another film heavily influenced by both yojimbo and ffod is James bond's  1989 licence to kill

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« Reply #51 on: October 30, 2007, 02:11:29 PM »

millers crossing is pretty close to both ffod and yojimbo. . . .
Miller's Crossing is pretty much a re-make of The Glass Key, whose source novel was written by Dashiell Hammet. Hammet also wrote Red Harvest, generally supposed the source for Yojimbo. Red Harvest and The Glass Key have similar plots, and it's not surprising that Hammet would re-use a story idea that had worked for him before.

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« Reply #52 on: July 03, 2009, 08:06:59 PM »

This is posted at the blog 300 Word About . . .  and is worth a look. http://300wordsabout.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/300-words-about-yojimbo/

Quote
300 Words About “Yojimbo”

Fans of A Fistful of Dollars should recognize Yojimbo, the samurai skeleton of Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Western. Given similar stories, this review will focus on how Kurosawa and Leone told them.

The portrayals resonate in the most important aspects. Cinematography avoids Hollywood shots, instead modeling their close-ups as still portraits and reveling in panorama, silence and the interplay between actors and empty space.

Yojimbo and its successor diverge most when characterizing villains. Though ruthless, Yojimbo’s Seibei and Ushitora are cowards who fight and bicker clownishly. Their notable henchmen are not only simpletons but impossibly ugly to boot: fat, balding Inokichi, for example, sports a unibrow stretching back to his temples. A bug-eyed Tazaemon even prefaces the last blood of the feud by pacing about, smacking his prayer drum in what resembles a hissy fit. Clint Eastwood’s enemies, by comparison, mix their ruthlessness with charisma and good grooming. Excluding their most expendable mercenaries, the Baxters and Rojos exude competence.

The films’ nameless heroes differ little. Sanjuro, like the Man with No Name, is a Machiavellian hero: a skilled fighter and diplomat and an honest liar. But divergent villains paint the otherwise similar protagonists with different overtones. Pervasive, gritty moral ambiguity prevents The Man with No Name from chuckling over outwitting his enemies- at least until he rescues Marisol and confirms himself as actually good. Sanjuro’s victory fanfare always plucks a comedic note- except, oddly, after he rescues Kohei’s kidnapped wife from prostitution and threatens to kill the whole family for thanking him. The intriguing part is while both incidents serve identical plot functions, they also reveal their heroes’ hidden honor.

The common story brings the subtler qualities of character and cinematography out to shine in Yojimbo and its Western protégé. Aspiring writers especially should study both incarnations of the classic plot.

***

“Yojimbo”
Directed by Akira Kurosawa
Screenplay by Akira Kurosawa and Ryuzo Kikushima
Produced by Tomo Yuki Tanaka and Ryuzo Kikushima (1961)

This entry was posted on June 28, 2009 at 10:45 AM

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« Reply #53 on: January 25, 2010, 05:13:37 AM »

Both are great films by great directors, who still made better after it. I could choose Fistful one day and Yojimbo the next, I love both movies. I think I slightly like Yojimbo more (I've always been a Samurai fanatic being a big reason) but that FFOD is a slightly better film. Again, both are great movies.  Afro

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« Reply #54 on: January 29, 2010, 03:51:40 PM »

Yojimbo, slightly. 8/10 for Yojimbo and 7/10-ish for FOD.

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #55 on: January 30, 2010, 11:47:55 AM »

I can go along with that.

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« Reply #56 on: March 18, 2010, 06:26:22 PM »

I prefer FFoD.

Never cared much for Kurasawa

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« Reply #57 on: December 15, 2010, 12:57:43 AM »

I'm with Titoli that FOD is a better watch for me merely for the two scenes he cited.
I prefer Sanjuro to Yojimbo anyway.

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« Reply #58 on: January 30, 2011, 10:41:37 PM »

Anybody even read the Hammet novel Red Harvest?

Maybe we can finally put to bed all that stuff about the Kurosawa film being based on it.

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« Reply #59 on: January 31, 2011, 12:09:14 AM »

Anybody even read the Hammet novel Red Harvest?



I read it twice, actually. But then you know what the italian lawyers said, that it was based on Goldoni's piece "Arlecchino servitore di due padroni". The Hammett novel has as a basic plot the protagonist create a feud between two rival gangs in an imaginary city. I think that's where all the similarity ends, though I read the novel 30 years ago for the last time. I also have the dvd of the piece (which I saw in the '70's) but I presume the similarities are even less. 

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