In the Edo period, a nameless ronin accepts an assignment to go to a mountain pass and wait. Near the pass he stops at an inn where a collection of characters gather, including a gang set ... See full summary »
Shiba, a wandering ronin, encounters a band of peasants who have kidnapped the daughter of their dictatorial magistrate, in hopes of coercing from him a reduction in taxes. Shiba takes up ... See full summary »
The story of Sanshiro Sugata, a young man who wants to learn the new art of judo. A wise teacher reveals to Sanshiro that judo is not merely a means of combat nor a demonstration of ... See full summary »
Lord Taro must deliver a money chest but is robbed by brigands led by Jibu. One of Jibu's men, Rokuro, steals the money from Jibu, but after meeting and befriending Taro, Rokuro decides to ... See full summary »
Edmund Rostand's play Cyrano de Bergerac, transplanted to Japan. A poet-warrior with an oversized nose (matched only by his great heart) loves a lady. But she sees him only as a friend, so ... See full summary »
Three bank robbers, Eijima, Nojiri, and Takasugi, flee the police and escape into the mountains. At an inn high in the Japanese Alps, Eijima and Nojiri encounter a young woman and her ... See full summary »
Feudal Japan, 1543 to 1562. Kansuke Yamamoto is a samurai who dreams of a country united, peaceful from sea to sea. He enters the service of Takeda, the lord of Kai domain. He convinces ... See full summary »
Soldiers Hayatenosuke Sasa and Kagami Yaheiji leave their besieged castle on a secret mission into the enemy camp. Hayatenosuke has left behind his lover, Kano. In the camp, Hayatenosuke is... See full summary »
The Igagoe Vendetta is a famous incident from Japanese 19th century history that has been retold many times in plays (and presumably movies.) Apparently, the tale has grown with each retelling. Araki Mataemon (aka Vendetta of a Samurai, as it is called in Hulu) is an attempt to tell a realistic version of the story. Although it was directed by Kazuo Mori (best known in America for directing many of the Zaitochi movies) an argument could be made for calling this a Kurosawa movie. He wrote the screenplay, it features 4 actors from The Seven Samurai and it is clearly influenced by Rashomon, which was made two years earlier.
The movie gets off to an unpromising start with a histrionic version of the fight. It is filmed in the manner of a much older movie.The film speed is sped up, Toshiro Mifune is egregiously over acting as he mows down warrior after warrior, despite the fact that his sword never comes close to touching anyone. However, this opening scene is a superb fake out. After it is over, the narrator announces that this is how everyone imagines the incident, but that the reality was very different.The movie then commences to tell a very realistic story of the events that led to the incident, as well as the motivations and personalities of the participants.
The result is a very stately, and maybe in a couple places static, movie about the conflicts between duty, revenge, friendship and fear. The movie seems a little slow at first, but the pacing ends up paying off as the suspense builds near the end of the movie. Mori's direction lacks Kurosawa's dynamism, but he makes up for it with nice set ups and interesting asides. I was also impressed with Mifune's acting. Often when he was working for directors other than Kurosawa he could turn into a horrible ham, but here his acting was remarkably restrained, while still dominating every scene he was in.
Overall, I'd say this was a must see for all fans of Kurosawa and Japanese films.
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