After discussing Rashomon and Drunken Angel in the past two months, the Akira Kurosawa Online Film Club will move on to Yojimbo in July.
Perhaps Kurosawa’s most popular film, Yojimbo centres around a nameless samurai (Toshiro Mifune) who arrives in a small town plagued by rival crime gangs. According to Richie, Kurosawa had for some time wanted to make a film about someone caught between two evils, and who — unlike a normal person — would be able to stop the senseless violence.
Yojimbo also marked the first time Kurosawa used Tatsuya Nakadai in a major role (he had earlier briefly appeared in Seven Samurai). After Yojimbo, Nakadai starred in four other Kurosawa movies, perhaps most memorably as Lord Hidetora in Ran.
What you need
The only thing you need to participate is a copy of Yojimbo. In case you are planning to purchase the film, I recommend taking a look at my Kurosawa DVD Buyers’ Guide, which covers the English-friendly DVD releases of the movie.
You should also know that the discussion starts at the forums on July 1st, and in order to keep the discussion together, you should not post on Yojimbo before that. For more information about the Film Club rules, see the Film Club page.
What you may also be interested in
The standard Kurosawa literature is well worth having, as always.
In addition to the standard literature, there are plenty of works that are in one way or another related to Yojimbo. Here is a quick run down:
– The American crime writer Dashiell Hammett’s novels The Glass Key and Red Harvest served as sources for the story. Kurosawa himself acknowledges the former, while many critics rather point to the latter. You may also be interested in the film noir adaptation of The Glass Key, which may in fact have been the source for Kurosawa rather than the novel.
– Another clear source are the films of John Ford, giving Yojimbo that distinct feel of westerners.
– Kurosawa’s own 1962 film Sanjuro is a sequel of sorts to Yojimbo.
– Sergio Leone’s 1964 A Fistful of Dollars was an unauthorised remake of Yojimbo set in the wild west.
– The 1966 western Django is another spaghetti western that was heavily inspired by Yojimbo.
– Last Man Standing is a 1996 gangster film remake of Yojimbo that stars Bruce Willis.
– Kaze no Yojimbo is a Japanese animated TV-series that aired in 2001 and 2002. It adapts Yojimbo into 25 episodes, and sets it in more modern times.
– The 1984 fantasy film The Warrior and the Sorceress takes its basic storyline from Yojimbo.
– 1963’s yakuza film Youth of the Beast also uses elements very similar to Yojimbo at its core.
– Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo is a Japanese movie made in 1970 that stars Toshiro Mifune in a role very similar to the one he plays in Yojimbo.
– The PlayStation 2 game Way of the Samurai features a setting and many characters similar to those found in Yojimbo.
Did I miss something?