While Yojimbo is a kick-ass Western, it also deals with the conflicts of a society that is being heavily influenced by outside forces, specifically that of the United States.. An opening card in the movie tells us that the year is 1860 and the Tokugawa regime has come to an end. In Yojimbo, the theme of foreign influences is most visibly displayed in the duel between Mifune’s sword fielding superhero and his antagonist, the gun slinging samurai portrayed by Tatsuya Nakadai. One of the early influences on both Star Wars and Sergio Leone's The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly was Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo. Speaking of rain making everything more dramatic, the final entry in The Matrix trilogy is no stranger to this technique. Shots are predominantly asymmetric but perfectly balanced, and because of Kurosawa’s trademark use of long distance lenses, the picture is relatively flat and two-dimensional. Even more so, the film was a major influence on other filmmakers, immediately ushering in a new era of ultra-violent samurai films. Yojimbo established such a good standard for storytelling that Hollywood just had to keep recreating it. Kurosawa had been especially critical about the rampant financial and moral corruption that he saw around him, with many of his post war films dealing with the dark underworld of contemporary Japan. In 1964, Yojimbo was remade as A Fistful of Dollars, a Spaghetti Western directed by Sergio Leone and starring Clint Eastwood in his first appearance as the Man with No Name. Miyagawa was one of the great Japanese cinematographers, probably best known for his work for Mizoguchi, including in films like Ugetsu and Sansho the Bailiff. The climactic scene in The Two Towers, the Battle of Helms Deep, owes a lot to how Kurosawa handled Seven Samurai's final battle. In the 19 features that he had directed before Yojimbo, Kurosawa had time and time again been concerned with the question of how to live properly and responsibly, both on individual and social levels. Such an ending would not have been as beautiful without the rain to signify that even the gods and the weather are watching two titans fight on-screen. The similarities are stunning. For more information, take a look at the DVD and blu-ray sections of this website. Susumu Fujita, who worked as Kurosawa’s leading man for the director’s first four films, plays Homma, the fencing instructor who is replaced by the film’s hero, played by Toshiro Mifune, who had in real life replaced Fujita as Kurosawa’s leading man in the late 1940s. He admits, however, that the influence for his films, specifically Yojimbo, was born “out of a love for the Hollywood Western” (Frayling 122). Yet other permutations of Yojimbo include films that only use its main character, or those that copy its overall setup. First and foremost, Yojimbo is also a Japanese genre film which plays with the conventions of earlier samurai films, drawing from works going all the way back to the pre-war classics, including Sadao Yamanaka’s Humanity and Paper Balloons. Even the first draft of A New Hope took so much from Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress that it almost read like a straight adaptation. Although a period film, and one possibly influenced by folk tales, the broad themes found in Yojimbo are in fact fairly contemporary. Unsurprisingly, plenty of big films which have borrowed from Kurosawa's marvels have done well either critically or commercially. Another example is Django Unchained - a revisionist Spaghetti Western movie. The original is also where the "rain makes everything more dramatic" trope seemingly began. The final draft retained some of these original elements, such as a princess escaping war and two unlikely heroes helping her. The movie was essentially a Western remake of the 1961 Japanese samurai film Yojimbo, directed by Akira Kurosawa. NEXT: Japan’s 10 Best Samurai Films Of All Time, Ranked On Rotten Tomatoes. 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This time around, the influence comes from one of Kurosawa's lesser-known movies, Ikuru. He wanted to show how artificial samurai films usually were, and how gruesome and horrifying killing someone can actually be. Paradoxically, Richie has missed the Western influences upon Sanjuro , while Burch has missed its essential Japaneseness. The Seven Magnificent Gladiators (I sette magnifici gladiatori, 1983) It's about a father who suddenly has to face terminal cancer and wants to make his final days more meaningful, which is pretty much the same premise as Biutiful. It dichotomously pays homage to the genre it so immediately influences. With Toshirô Mifune, Eijirô Tôno, Tatsuya Nakadai, Yôko Tsukasa. However, out of all the directors that Western movies love to borrow from, Akira Kurosawa stands out as one of the more common. This Akira Kurosawa filmography page was last updated on November 1st, 2019. To begin with Spaghetti Western films, on the film the crew and the cast compose of people who come from different parts of … Actually, both men are wrong in that they … Much like The Two Towers, its final battle scene between Neo Anderson and Agent Smith took place in a showery arena. Illustrating just how significant Akira Kurosawa's movies and filmmaking techniques are, even Pixar adopted the definitive Seven Samurai plot of a poor defenseless village hiring some reluctant and unconventional defenders. It is a very fine film, but it is my film. His influence on Western directors ranges from homages and scene recreations to sometimes flat-out remakes. Kurosawa recognised the 1942 film noir adaptation of Dashiel Hammett’s novel The Glass Key as an influence on Yojimbo, and a few scenes in particular follow the Stuart Heisler directed film rather closely. The go-to source for comic book and superhero movie fans. Even fans of shows like Breaking Bad ought to find some resemblance here, as well. The theme of replacing the old with the new is also present on a level more personal for Kurosawa. A one-stop shop for all things video games. The film has been interpreted, especially by Stephen Prince, as an allegory on the destructive powers of capitalism. Additionally, despite Kurosawa himself never seemingly having acknowledged it, the story bears strong resemblance also to Hammett’s novel Red Harvest, indeed arguably more so than The Glass Key (see more here). The scene where the departing Homma waves goodbye to Mifune’s hero works as something of an inside joke, created for those who had been following Kurosawa’s career from the beginning. Both in Japan and the West, Yojimbohas had a considerable influence on various forms of entertainment. These are Spaghetti Western film, influence of Yojimbo, differences and similarities from mainstream Western films and the idealization of characters. Both in Japan and the West, Yojimbo has had an influence on various forms of entertainment. It arguably helped the Spaghetti Western craze go worldwide when Sergio Leone made an uncredited remake named A Fistful of Dollars* with a taciturn Clint Eastwood. Therefore, Kurosawa had the opportunity of growing up watching films. Born 29 years before the Second World War began, the future filmmaker was taught in his early years about how he was a descendent of samurai. Post-war Japan was, of course, undergoing a strong transformation into the economic powerhouse which it is today, but not without the type of problems mentioned earlier. In Yojimbo, the town’s problems are the result of a conflict between two competing corrupted commercial interests, and the only offered solution is the destruction of that world. Yojimbo was Kurosawa’s third widescreen film and features some of his best and most innovative explorations of the widescreen space, for which much praise should be given to his cinematographers Kazuo Miyagawa and Takao Saito. (Galbraith, page 309). The film was very influential also outside of Japan, where its violence was similarly embraced. Featuring a heavy dose of over-the-top violence, Django had a number of sequels and remakes, and also influenced the 2007 Japanese film Sukiyaki Western Django by Takashi Miike, whose works often embrace the kind of violence portrayed in Yojimbo. The name itself is indicative enough - The Magnificent Seven from 2016 is a loose remake of the 1960's classic, The Magnificent Seven, which was a Western remake of Kurosawa's Seven Samurai. Leone and his production company failed to secure the remake rights to Kurosawa's film, resulting in a lawsuit that delayed FistfulTemplate:'s release in North America for three years. Influence: The Hidden Fortress (1958) Last Man Standing (1996) This mid 1990’s offering by Walter Hill is a different take on Kurosawa’s masterpiece Yojimbo (1961). Particularly in Episode IV: A New Hope, some of C-3PO and R2-D2's dialogue were homages to Kurosawa's films. This page is part of Akira Kurosawa info's information section. The visuals make it very easy for us to spatially understand how places and people are geographically related to one another. RELATED: 10 Best Movies By Black Directors, According To IMDb. Yet, if we were to describe Yojimbo solely as a Hammett adaptation with John Ford influences, we would be missing a great deal. One of its most renowned champions is Yasujiro Ozu, who supplemented traditionalism with a cinematographic style enriched with patience and, to an extent, In 1996, several decades after A Fistful of Dollars, out came Last Man Standing, featuring Bruce Willis in a Prohibition-era America. Here, perhaps more than in any of his other films, his admiration of John Ford shows up, and Yojimbo is probably the closest that he ever got to making a western. The Outrage and The Magnificent Seven, both re-makes of the Kurosawa films Rashomon and Seven Samurai respectively, are two examples of Kurosawa's influence on American westerns. The Bruce Willis vehicle moves the story to a western setting with a mercenary getting caught between the conflict of … It's a torrent of rain on a battlefield in which the heroes are outnumbered and outgunned. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is no exception, and while it has its own source material, it still gazed at films like Seven Samurai for its cinematic flair. Western Influence. The character was created for the film Yojimbo (1961), an unofficial adaptation of Dashiell Hammett’s novel Red Harvest, directed by Akira Kurusawa).Korusawa never admitted publicly that his film was an adaptation of the novel, but acknowledged that he was familiar with Hammett’s work, and was indebted to him as a story-teller. Another film worth mentioning in connection with Yojimbo is Django (1966), which much like A Fistful of Dollars is a spaghetti western with a storyline similar to that of Yojimbo. "Yojimbo" had a heavy influence on Sergio Leone and the spaghetti western in general, with star Toshiro Mifune as the Clint Eastwood ‘man with no name’ prototype. Yojimbo & Sanjuro (The Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray) Thanks to perhaps the most indelible character in Akira Kurosawa’s oeuvre, Yojimbo surpassed even Seven Samurai in popularity when it was released. He had tried to show the ugliness of violence, but had perhaps misjudged and made it look cool and stylish. He attacks, and the music crashes to life in his wake, with the thumping, invigorating main theme that underlies many of the action sequences. Even Eastwood's Man With No Name is inspired, perhaps, by the samurai in "Yojimbo." You can see its influence on many western films to this day. Another foreign source for Yojimbo was the American western, from which it borrows many visual characteristics. Yet, according to both Miyagawa and Saito, the shots used in the final cut of Yojimbo are in fact predominantly assistant cameraman Saito’s, whom Kurosawa gave near total freedom to find interesting and unexpected ways to shoot the action (see for instance Galbraith, page 308). Ironic, that having borrowed from the Western, Kurosawa inspired one: Sergio Leone's "A Fistful of Dollars" (1964), with Clint Eastwood, is so similar to "Yojimbo" that homage shades into plagiarism. Spaghetti Western movies definitely owe a lot to Akira Kurosawa and would not have been the same without his films. Outside of being a writer for Screen Rant, he also works as a journalist and has risked his life for mere warzone photos. Impressively enough, he manages to kill a whole squad. Akira Kurosawa's influence on Western films is widely discussed, from big franchise films, like Star Wars: A New Hope, to Quentin Tarantino's movies. Even audiences that have never watched movies like Rashomon, Seven Samurai, or Yojimbo will be familiar with their influence on western pop culture. (Kurosawa in an interview with Joan Mellen in 1975, reprinted in Cardullo, page 63). This was the time period that the American Commodore Perry came to Japan and forced them to begin trading with the … RELATED: 10 Best Final Films from Directors. S 10 Best samurai films is my film of capitalism misjudged and made it look and... ( Birdman, the film is notorious for having been completely unauthorised Sanjuro... Also for its soundtrack and sound design been the same without his,. 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