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Zatoichi in Desperation (1972)
"Shin Zatôichi monogatari: Oreta tsue" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Action, Adventure, Drama  |  21 February 1973 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 521 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 11 critic

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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Drama | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

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.

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Yoshiko Mita, Makoto Satô
Drama | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Zatoichi runs afoul of some evil fugitives, working for a corrupt law official.

Director: Kimiyoshi Yasuda
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Kayo Mikimoto, Kyôsuke Machida
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Zatoichi arrives in a town where a gambling house is kidnapping its poor, debt-ridden patrons. A rival establishment moves to pay those debts and free the peasants, but this house's ... See full summary »

Director: Satsuo Yamamoto
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Rentarô Mikuni, Kô Nishimura
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Zatoichi's trek through 88 temples to atone for his violent past is interrupted as he stumbles into a village terrorized by a violent yakuza boss.

Director: Kazuo Ikehiro
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Michiyo Ohkusu, Kunie Tanaka
Drama | Adventure | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

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.

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Jûshirô Konoe, Miwa Takada
Action | Drama | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

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.

Director: Kimiyoshi Yasuda
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Shiho Fujimura, Yoshihiko Aoyama
Drama | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Zatoichi tries to unrest the mob rule over a small village all while the gang leader's bodyguard is actually the Yojimbo, secretly taking the gang down from the inside. Will the two heroes realize in time that they are on the same side?

Director: Kihachi Okamoto
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Shintarô Katsu, Ayako Wakao
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Promising to make a delivery for a dying man, the blind swordsman Zatoichi comes across the usual crime gangs but also meets a blind monk who brings into question his use of violence.

Director: Tokuzô Tanaka
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Shigeru Amachi, Jun Hamamura
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

After Zatoichi learns of his sensei's murder he uncovers a horrible conspiracy involving the local government and crime family.

Director: Akira Inoue
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Norihei Miki, Mikiko Tsubouchi
Drama | Adventure | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

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

Director: Kenji Misumi
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Mikio Narita, Chizu Hayashi
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The blind masseur and swordsman, Zatoichi, searches for proof an imprisoned man's innocence.

Director: Kazuo Mori
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Kanbi Fujiyama, Eiko Taki
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

After being wounded in a fight, Zatoichi is nursed to health by a young woman and her father. Now indebted to the family, he works to protect their ferry business from local thugs.

Director: Kazuo Ikehiro
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Tatsuo Endô, Takashi Etajima
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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
Edit

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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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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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 Zatoichi and the Chest of Gold (1964) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Katsu directs the darkest of all Zatoichi films
12 January 2007 | by (NYC) – See all my reviews

Katsu Productions was at a high level of output at this time. Katsu was producing the Zatoichi series, the Lone Wolf series, the Hanzo the Razor trilogy, the Mute Samurai television series and the Lone Wolf television series. All within a span of two years. In addition to acting in several of these efforts (of course) he also took the director's chair on several occasions. This man had a lot of energy.

While sometimes actors who take the helm show a lack of concern with the visuals preferring to focus on the performances, Katsu is an exception. The visual style here is unlike any other Zatoichi I've seen and in fact unlike most other chambara films. Everything is shot in deep focus with moody lighting and stark saturated colors. The style is somber and depressing. The next (and last in the series) Zatoichi film is back to the standard look. If you like this film I would suggest looking into Katsu's Oshi Samurai series which continues the atmosphere.

One of the best Zatoichi films but not similar to the others. Recommended but prepare for a somber experience.


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