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Samurai II: Duel at Ichijoji Temple (1955)

Zoku Miyamoto Musashi: Ichijôji no kettô (original title)
Not Rated | | Action, Adventure, Biography | 20 October 1967 (USA)
Musashi Miyamoto returns to Kyoto after years of absence. After a series of fights against the Yoshioka School, he challenges its master to a duel.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Musashi Miyamoto (Takezo)
Kôji Tsuruta ... Kojiro Sasaki
Mariko Okada ... Akemi
Kaoru Yachigusa ... Otsu
... Dayu Yoshino
... Oko, Akemi's mother
... Seijuro Yoshioka
Daisuke Katô ... Toji Gion
Kurôemon Onoe ... Priest Takuan
Sachio Sakai ... Matahachi Honiden
Yû Fujiki ... Denshichiro Yoshioka
Machiko Kitagawa ... Kogure
Eiko Miyoshi ... Osugi, Matahachi's mother
... Baiken Shishido
Kenjin Iida ... Jotaro
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Storyline

After years on the road establishing his reputation as Japan's greatest Samurai, Takezo returns to Kyoto. Otsu waits for him, yet he has come not for her but to challenge the leader of the region's finest school for Kendo. To prove his valor and skill, he walks deliberately into ambushes set up by the school's followers. While Otsu waits, Akemi also seeks him, expressing her desires directly. Meanwhile, Takezo is observed by Sasaki Kojiro, a brilliant young fighter, confident he can dethrone Takezo. After leaving Kyoto in triumph, Takezo declares his love for Otsu, but in a way that dishonors her and shames him. Once again, he leaves alone. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

20 October 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Duel at Ichijoji Temple  »

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(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Trivia

[All trivia items for this title are spoilers.] See more »

Goofs

The levels of water and the mud in the rice paddies at Ichijoji Temple vary between shots. See more »

Connections

Followed by Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island (1956) See more »

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User Reviews

 
What a mess

I enjoyed the first movie in the famous Samurai trilogy, but I was considerably less impressed with this middle film.

The disjointedness of the first movie is even more noticeable here. There are a lot of characters and subplots and characters that don't really go anywhere.

Much of the movie is laughably absurd, such as the way women fall at their feet over the rather bland protagonist (Mifune isn't nearly as memorable in these films as in his Kurosawa movies), and the determination of the students of a fighting school have in protecting their master at the expense of his reputation makes little sense, especially as Musashi keeps mowing them down.

The whole looking-for-people-to-kill premise seems a bit weird as well; in American westerns it's usually the bad guys who keep picking fights. And the rather standard "there's more to being a Samurai than killing" message seems murky; it's no wonder Musashi takes so long to get it.

Some of this may just be cultural, with tropes that make sense to the Japanese. But I can't see any way to excuse the use of master swordsman Sasaki. He's a really interesting character, well acted by Koji Tsuruta, but the whole movie is his just happening to be in the right place at the right time, and it's an incredibly lazy screen writing crutch.

As in the previous movie, the sympathetic Otsu and women in general are treated by dirt even by those who care about them. That may be accurate, but it's also depressing.

Visually the film is striking, and the combat scenes are well done and pretty entertaining, but overall this movie is poorly structured and generally absurd.


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