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Samurai Spy (1965)

Ibun Sarutobi Sasuke (original title)
Not Rated | | Action, Drama | 10 July 1965 (Japan)
The legendary samurai Sasuke Sarutobi gets caught in a web of political intrigue, deception and espionage during the early 17th century.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Hiroshi Aoyama
Jun Hamamura ...
Joshin temple priest
Osamu Hitomi
Minoru Hodaka
Hisanobu Ichikawa
Kentarô Imai
Yasunori Irikawa ...
Yashiro Kobayashi
Shintarô Ishihara ...
Taku Kido
Takeshi Kusaka ...
Narrator
Seiji Miyaguchi ...
Jinnai-Kazutaka Horikawa
Shin'ya Mizushima
Hideto Nakagawa
...
Tatewaki Koriyama
Shuichi Oki
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Storyline

The legendary samurai Sasuke Sarutobi tracks the spy Nojiri, while a mysterious figure named Sakon leads a band of men on their own quest for the wily Nojiri. Soon no one knows just who is who and what side anyone is on. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Action | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Details

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Release Date:

10 July 1965 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Samurai Spy  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Well done but probably rather difficult for Western audiences--and also a bit talky.
15 September 2013 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Because I am a retired history teacher and lover of Japanese films, the plot to "Samurai Spy" is something I can understand--though it wasn't easy. However, most folks who are not Japanese will really struggle understanding the context--even with the tiny prologue to explain this. To make things a bit easier to understand, I'll summarize the context where the film begins: Before the Tokugawa Era, Japan was fragmented into many different kingdoms run by many different clans. In the late 1500s, several leaders of the Tokugawa clan schemed to gain power by forging alliances and fighting battles against the various other clans in Japan. Eventually, Ieyasu defeated the final holdout clans in 1600 at the Battle of Sekigahara and he became the first Shogun--the de facto leader of Japan (despite there still being an Emperor). However, a few years later, the Sanada clan tried, in a last gasp effort, to defy the power of the Tokugawa clan and was crushed in a final epic battle. Just following this battle is when this film begins.

Sasuke and Noriji both meet and are soon set upon by agents of the Tokugawa who try to kill Noriji. You assume Sasuke is working with the Sanada clan because he helps Noriji--though who is working with whom is difficult to determine--especially since Noriji is a man who will work for whoever pays him most. A bit later, Noriji is killed--presumably by the guy in white (whose headdress looks a bit like bunny ears). And, for the rest of the film, one guy after another tries to kill Sasuke--and folks around him start dropping like flies. Who is working for whom and what is all this about? See the film and find out for yourself.

I'll be honest. This was a very well made film and the action sequences, when they occurred, were very nicely done. However, the film is also VERY, VERY talky. Not a bad film but one that isn't as memorable as many of the other films I've seen about this time period.


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