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Zatoichi in Desperation (1972)

Shin Zatôichi monogatari: Oreta tsue (original title)
Not Rated | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 21 February 1973 (USA)
Star Shintaro Katsu sits in the director's chair for this psychedelic and unremittingly bleak entry in the Zatoichi series, which is unlike any other in its grind-house grimness. A tale of ... See full summary »

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Two of Japan and China's greatest heroic swordsman find themselves caught in a plot to protect a young child. But will national distrust and simple misunderstanding keep the two kindred spirits apart?

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

On the road, Zatoichi meets a dying pregnant woman and delivers the child moments before she passes. Honor bound, he sets out to find the next-of-kin who he discovers have their own problems.

Director: Kazuo Mori
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Zatoichi runs afoul of some evil fugitives, working for a corrupt law official.

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Zatoichi, while fighting off the usual group of gangsters, meets the apprentice of the swordsman who created his blade, who relays bad news about the sword.

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Zatoichi is tricked by a crime gang into killing a man. Realizing his mistake, he sets out to protect the dead man's sister, who is conflicted in accepting his help.

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In a town where debt-ridden peasants are being ruthlessly exploited, Zatoichi is forced to take sides between a cruel yakuza boss and his seemingly altruistic rival.

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After an artist is threatened by the yakuza into creating valuable but highly illegal pornography, the law aims to execute him. Zatoichi, having been honor bound to protect the man and his family, must now run against the law.

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A samurai with a high skill in chess makes friends with Zatoichi, who finds that things become peculiar in his presence.

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Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Mikio Narita, Chizu Hayashi
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Shintarô Katsu ...
Kiwako Taichi ...
Nishikigi
Kyoko Yoshizawa ...
Kaede
Yasuhiro Koume ...
Jôji Takagi ...
Tokiwa Kamijo
Asao Koike ...
Boss Mangoro Kagiya
Katsuo Nakamura ...
Ushimatsu
Masumi Harukawa ...
Ohama
Naoe Fushimi ...
Old Woman
Yoshihiko Aoyama ...
Tokujiro Awa
Hideji Ôtaki ...
Sukegoro Iioka
Jûkei Fujioka ...
Inokichi
Teruo Matsuyama ...
Ihachi
Kazuko Tajima ...
Hanasato
Rokku Furukawa
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Storyline

Star Shintaro Katsu sits in the director's chair for this psychedelic and unremittingly bleak entry in the Zatoichi series, which is unlike any other in its grind-house grimness. A tale of innocence corrupted by sadistic, sleazy criminality, the film is propelled by Easy Rider-esque editing and a trippy seventies funk score by Kunihiko Murai. Written by Anonymous

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Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

21 February 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Zatoichi in Desperation  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Only film in the original series directed by Zatoichi himself, Shintaro Katsu. He would go on to direct one more in 1989. See more »

Connections

Follows The Tale of Zatoichi (1962) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Dark and tragic
7 January 2007 | by (Toronto) – See all my reviews

I am new to the Zatoichi film series; this was the first film in the series I have seen, after buying a couple of seasons of the TV series and enjoying them. If the rest of the series is as good as this one then I can see I am in for a virtual lifetime of great Zatoichi films - when I can find them in video stores!

"Zatoichi in Desperation" is darker and as another reviewer said, more "heavy handed" than the TV episodes I have seen. The characters - the prostitute given a tentative freedom, the fishermen from the village harassed by the local yakuza gang, the 14-year-old girl about to be forced to work in the brothel and her little brother - are memorable and tragic. Their lives become intertwined with Zatoichi's by a twist of fate - an old woman who accidentally falls from a bridge, and Zatoichi's guilt resulting over it.

This intertwining of relationships, Zatoichi's humbleness despite his master swordsmanship, and the great photography is what makes the film (and the Zatoichi series!) special.


5 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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