Friday, August 17, 2012

SANJURO (1962)

The movie gods were pretty good to us back in 1962. Not only did they give us THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE and WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? they also gave us SANJURO. The lighter and more action packed sister film to the previous years YOJIMBO. Once again the story starts with a nameless drifter samurai innocently wandering to ongoing feud. And once again the main bad guy is played by the brilliant Tatsuya Nakadai!

The film opens with nine inexperienced samurai secretly talking about corruption in the leadership of their clan. They think it's one dude, but then Toshiro who was trying to sleep in the other room enters. He overheard their conversation and suggests that it's actually another person who is the corrupt official. They get all pissed over over this accusation, then suddenly the building is surrounded by men wanting to kill them. They hide as Toshiro goes outside and faces the massive group alone. After an awesome fight, the leader of the group (Nakadai) calls off his men and invites Toshiro to join them. This proves that he was correct. The samurai are extremely grateful to him and he agrees to help them solve their problem. Lots of sword fighting and asskicking follows.

I don't even know what else to say, SANJURO like YOJIMBO is a awesome movie and a lot of fun to watch. Once again Mifune and Nakadai lead the pact, but the entire cast is great. The story is straightforward, the direction is excellent and the look of the entire film is perfect. And that final boss fight...holy shit!!!! If I'd seen that scene in the theater back in 1962 I would have probably popped three boners, shit myself and passed out at all at the same time.

Highly recommended. Double feature it with YOJIMBO.