Set in Japan in the 16th century (or so), an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them, or cause them to turn on each other...and him...
A group of idealistic young men, determined to clean up the corruption in their town, are aided by a scruffy, cynical samurai who does not at all fit their concept of a noble warrior. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This movie was originally going to be a faithful adaption of a Shûgorô Yamamoto novel called Peaceful Days, and was going to be made before Yojimbo (1961), which is about a group of nine samurai who are helped out by two ronin who are inadequate fighters and have to use there wits to trick two evil opposing sides into disposing of each other. The antagonists was changed to a corrupt government body and the tricking two opposing sides into fighting each over element was used for Yojimbo. After Yojimbo was a success Toho requested that Akira Kurosawa produce a sequel. He changed the two weak ronin to the powerful Sanjuro character and rewrote the script to match the tone of Yojimbo. Also when this was going to be Peaceful Days, Kurosawa was only going to write it and Hiromichi Horikawa (Kurosawa's assistant director) was going to direct it and Furankî Sakai and Keiju Kobayashi were to play the two ronin. See more »
When the Chamberlain's nephew goes to peek over the wall to check if Kikui's house is full of troops, he supports himself on the wall which bends slightly, belying its supposed sturdiness. See more »
Tsubaki Sanjuro is, unfortunately, not so widely seen abroad (= outside Japan) as Yojinbo, probably because it was not copied as a western. In Japan, however, Tsubaki Sanjuro is not less popular than Yojinbo. Not a few Japanese actually prefer the former to the latter, and it's easy to see why: It is stylistically more polished and smarter than Yojimbo and Mifune is 'cooler' as well - he shows a brilliant leadership and every Mifune fan would be really delighted to see how his young, naive disciples run after him like chicks following the mother duck.
And while Yojinbo's female main character, Orin, is an evil and crafty woman, Lady Mutsuta in Tsubaki Sanjuro is 'irritatingly light-hearted'. But she has a deep insight into Sanjuro's personality and understands him far better than his male disciples. An excellent character, and, in fact, she is the only person in Tsubaki Sanjuro AND Yojinbo to whom Sanjuro/Mifune speaks in a polite form (in Japanese).
Tsubaki Sanjuro is, so to speak, a 'concentrate' of Kurosawa's cinematography and one sees in it every aspect of his greatness in a very compact form. Therefore no one could remake this movie.
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