Following World War II, a retired professor approaching his autumn years finds his quality of life drastically reduced in war-torn Tokyo. Denying despair, he pursues writing and celebrates his birthday with his adoring students.
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>
When Sanjuro has to kill about a dozen of Kikui's men and then smacks three of the young samurai for forcing him to kill so many, Toshirô Mifune slapped the three young actors for real. As seen in the film, the slaps both surprised the actors and knocked them backwards. 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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