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Zatoichi in Desperation (1972)

Shin Zatôichi monogatari: Oreta tsue (original title)
Not Rated | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 21 February 1973 (USA)
After accidentally causing an old lady's death, Zatoichi seeks out her daughter to atone for the tragedy, consequently getting into all sorts of trouble.

Director:

Shintarô Katsu

Writers:

Minoru Inuzuka, Kan Shimozawa (story)
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Zatoichi returns to his home village for the first time in over ten years to find much has changed and that corruption abounds.

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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.

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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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Zatoichi meets an infamous blind leader of a gangster organization as he contends with a gloomy ronin widower.

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    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.

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

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

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 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
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

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.

Director: Satsuo Yamamoto
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Rentarô Mikuni, Kô Nishimura
Drama | Adventure | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 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.

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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
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    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.

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Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Michiyo Yasuda, Kunie Tanaka
Action | Adventure | Drama
    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
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Cast

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

21 February 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Zatoichi in Desperation See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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's Vengeance (1966) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Dark and tragic
7 January 2007 | by wanderingstarSee 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.


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