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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sanjuro (1962) d. Akira Kurosawa

Toshiro Mifune, star of Sanjuro and Yojimbo

Movie Review
Sanjuro (1962)
 d. Akira Kurosawa
Criterion Collection #53

  Sometimes I'll be a reading a record review and the reviewer will call the record a "victory lap." That means the Artist who made the record has done well with a prior record and is following up that success with a product that is less ambitious, but features many of the same strengths (and songs) as the prior release.

  Sanjuro is like a victory lap for the immortal epic Yojimbo.  Sanjuro is the name of the Samurai/Ronin at the heart of Yojimbo, and Toshiro Mifune returns to reprise the role in this film. The critical essay by Michael Sragow that accompanies the Criterion Collection page for Sanjuro refers to it as the "sassy kid brother" of Yojimbo and I don't know why you would disagree with that statement.

Actor Toshiro Mifune


   It is a lesser achievement, it is sassier/funnier then Yojimbo (which is also dryly humorous in it's own way) and it does have many of the same pleasures as Yojimbo itself: Namely scenes of Sanjuro being clever interspersed with scenes of Sanjuro being brutal with a sword, and a ton of sneaking around in the bushes spying on people.  Seriously, if you had a yen for every time Sanjuro or another character in Yojimbo and Sanjuro peaks out of a knot hole, or a crack in the wall you'd have about a hundred yen because it seems to happen at least- at least- once every 5 minutes in both films.

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