Sunday, February 04, 2007


Do I really need to explain this one? It's considered to be one of the greatest films ever made, and it's one of my personal favorites.
It's such a good film, that Sergio Leone actually ripped it off in order to make A Fistful of Dollars, and that's actually been proven in a court of law. It's such a good film that a noted director plagiarized it.

The basic plot? A nameless samurai (well, ronin) comes to a small town that's ruled by rival gangs, and he then sets out to free the town by playing them off of each other. It's very funny, and it's a story well told. For me, it's Kurosawa's best film. He deftly plays with genre here, and does so with a master's touch. It's not a complicated film, but every scene is packed. It's easy to see why so many directors were influenced by him, and you can forgive the missteps of Leone.

Honestly, I could gush at length, but the more I gush, the less coherent it will be. My recommendation is to see this movie at your earliest convenience. It's that good. (Unless you're one of those people who refuse to watch something with subtitles who really don't know what they're missing.)

Criterion recently re-released it on DVD, and it's one of the best transfers I've ever seen. It's what the Gojira transfer should've been, had it not been rushed for a budget release. It's the first Criterion disc that I've bought that hasn't been a Wes Anderson film, and it lives up to everything that's ever been said. If you want the movie, buy the new release of it and you'll have the best version ever released in North America.

As a bonus, here's the trailer for A Fistful of Dollars:
While a blatant ripoff of Yojimbo, it's still one of the best Westerns ever made, and it's a shame that MGM hasn't released a DVD of it to rival the Yojimbo one.



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