7.3/10
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Zatoichi on the Road (1963)

Zatôichi kenka-tabi (original title)
Not Rated | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 27 June 1968 (USA)
Zatoichi promises to deliver a maiden safely home but finds two dangerous gangs have a mysterious interest in the young girl.

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Shiho Fujimura ...
Mitsu
Ryûzô Shimada ...
Jingorô (as Ryuuzô Shimada)
Reiko Fujiwara ...
Hisa
Matasaburô Niwa ...
Yamada
Yoshio Yoshida ...
Boss Tomegoro of Kagotame
...
Boss Tobei of Shimozuma
Shôsaku Sugiyama ...
Boss Hikozo of Doyama
Yutaka Nakamura ...
Matsu
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Gen Kimura ...
Yakuza enforcer
Teruko Ômi ...
Palaquin receptionist
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Storyline

Blind swordsman/masseuer Ichi (or "Zatoichi") is asked by a dying man to deliver the maiden Mitsu (or "Omitsu") to her family in Edo, and Zatoichi feels honor-bound to do so. But rival gangs each have an interest in kidnapping the girl for ransom. Zatoichi joins with one of the gangs when the other gang captures Mitsu, but he then finds that to rescue her, he must fight both gangs. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 June 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Zatoichi on the Road  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

The string attached to the dragonfly is visible as it lands on a bush next to Zatoichi and Mitsu, who are being attacked, and also when it returns after the fight. See more »

Quotes

Boss Hikozo of Doyama: [after Zatoichi lures three Yakuza bosses from two opposing sides of a gang war via a ruse] You blind bastard!
Boss Tomegoro of Kagotame: I run an honest business.
Zatôichi: Then why did you try to kidnap the girl?
Boss Tomegoro of Kagotame: No, it wasn't like that. It was -...
Zatôichi: [Zatoichi interrupts] Nobody has a worse reputation around here than you guys.
[pauses then around to face Boss Tobei]
Zatôichi: You too.
Boss Tobei of Shimozuma: What?
Zatôichi: Using an innocent woman as bait - - Unscrupulous coward! None of you deserves to live.
Boss Tobei of Shimozuma: What are you talking about? Get them!
[...]
See more »

Connections

Remade as The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

Crescendo of Provocation
27 June 2014 | by (Onomichi, 1953) – See all my reviews

This was the fifth Zatôichi film in just two years. It's been a while since I saw the last one in the series, but they're great fun. Simpler than the previous films, and also far more conventional as an action-adventure, "Zatôichi kenka-tabi" ('Zatôichi on the Road', 1963) stays true to its name, although it could've been called 'The Road To Edo' as well: a road movie of chasing and hiding, of fighting and fleeing to fight again; hide and seek, and pretense. The film greatly picks up in between the fights during the scene at the inn, which is well-made. And it is this sense of, well, it's not predictability because that sounds negative... let's say 'familiarity', that makes it so easy for the viewer to jump right into it – we know where it comes from and where it goes.

It's become a running joke by now to have Zatôichi evade fighting, only to be eluded to a situation where he has to fight. He think he's only on a trip to Edo, while he's taken there to help out at a clan fight. The film is a crescendo of provocation until Zatôichi finally unsheathes his sword. This, of course, makes the films work in the long run: we need a sympathetic character, and having a character who would run around killing people for pleasure doesn't really cut it here. Yet there is a genuinely tragic undersong here: he doesn't search for trouble yet the trouble finds him, and still he is looking for trouble, as he says in the film, by having learnt to fight with the sword.

My favourite moment is the one with the white sunshades on the slope, and Zatôichi running with the children in imitation of the ending of "Det sjunde inseglet" (1957), the other one is the Kurosawan climax.

I do wonder when we're going to have a decent villain, though.


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