I myself am one with those who wonder how on earth this Criterion version of Yojimbo ended up having that huge, ugly scratch mark on the print. It just stops me from giving it a full 5-star mark.
But that aside, this DVD is still a great DVD. It's actually my favorite among the Kurosawa-Mifune movies, simply because it is so much fun. the Mifune swagger, perfectly timed with the catchy beat of the soundtrack, is unforgettable. his huge confidence, his arms still drawn in, his shirt sleeves hanging limp and empty while his enemies menacingly surround him, is almost too funny. The lines I like the most come from the "coffins" chapter, where Mifune tells the wannabes "you have such cute faces", then proceeds to tear through them with ease, then with typical panache, tells the cooper (coffin maker) to make two coffins, no, make that three. I don't think I have seen any Hollywood actor, except perhaps the young Paul Newman, act so cool under stress. Even Clint Eastwood's turn in "A Fistful of Dollars" pales in comparison.
Then of course, the twists and turns as he manipulates both gangs. Even the way he mocks the boss' wife by calling himself a "nobody", taking the name of some vegetable he saw in the garden through the window.
Then his low moments. The way he recovers his strength, the way he prepares to neutralize the enemy's pistol by mastering knife-throwing. You'd think he doesn't stand a chance, until it happens. Those harrowing death scenes. And finally, the sight of Yojimbo leaving town, arms drawn in, sleeves empty and limp on his sides, swaggering to the beat of the soundtrack as the movie ends.
It's worth it. And you can always trade-in that crappy "Last Man Standing" to pay off some of the cost of "Yojimbo". It's a trade I would make anytime.