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Sugata Sanshiro, final scene, locomotive, anachronism

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    Fred

    As a steam engine enthusiast, I was interested to find out more about the locomotive shown in the final scene of Sugata Sanshiro (part 1). My question was answered in a modeling and railroad forum. As it turns out, the movie is set in the 1880s, but the British steam locomotive shown did not get imported into Japan until 1914. Getting all the resources to make a movie in 1943 must have been extremely challenging. I am not surprised that Kurosawa had to resort to a slight anachronism.

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    Ugetsu

    Oh, nobody loves detail more than a train enthusiast! That is quite fascinating – I’d wondered about it when I saw that scene for the first time, its such an unusual engine. It is most unusual to catch Kurosawa out on an anachronism, but I can well understand why he wanted to shoot that cute little train.

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    Vili Maunula

    Fascinating! I must say though that I would have been quite surprised had Kurosawa actually filmed a historically correct train model.

    But then again, I’m the sort of a person who might recognise as an anachronism if they put a bullet train into a film taking place in 1880, but if it was a diesel train I would probably not give it a second thought.

    This reminds me of my experience with Robert Redford’s recent film The Conspirator. After watching the film, I wanted to learn more about how historically accurate it is. Well, based on what I found online, it is very accurate indeed. Yet, many of the websites discussing the film’s historical accuracy nevertheless manage to collect long lists of the tiniest possible details that the film got wrong. Things like the colour of a horse, or something. It’s quite amazing reading, actually. And the film’s well worth watching, I think.

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    Longstone

    Yes , interesting , as someone who doesn’t drive , I have a soft spot for trains and travelling by rail ( though the U.K. isn’t the best for rail travel these days, ) . When I visited Japan I was blown away by the experience of blasting across the country by Shinkansen , such amazing views ( the changing scenes of Mount Fuji as I travelled from Tokyo to Nagoya were mind blowing in clear weather) and then you can get pretty much anywhere by branch line . Japanese cinema is rather good for trains on film , there are some in almost every Ozu movie for example .

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