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Sanjuro (Widescreen) (The Criterion Collection)

4.4 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Toshirô Mifune, Tatsuya Nakadai, Keiju Kobayashi, Yûnosuke Itô, Yûzô Kayama
  • Directors: Akira Kurosawa
  • Writers: Akira Kurosawa, Ryûzô Kikushima, Hideo Oguni, Shûgorô Yamamoto
  • Producers: Ryûzô Kikushima, Tomoyuki Tanaka
  • Format: Black & White, Dolby, DVD-Video, Letterboxed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: PG-13
  • Studio: Criterion / Paradox
  • Release Date: Oct. 1 2002
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews
  • ASIN: 0780022491
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #72,456 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

Toshiro Mifune swaggers and snarls to brilliant comic effect in Kurosawa's tightly paced, beautifully composed Sanjuro. In this companion piece to Yojimbo, jaded samurai Sanjuro helps an idealistic group of young warriors weed out their clan's evil influences, and in the process turns their image of a "proper" samurai on its ear. Criterion is proud to present Sanjuro in a gorgeous Tohoscope transfer.

Akira Kurosawa's sequel to Yojimbo is more lighthearted and less cynical, a rousing adventure with Toshirô Mifune reprising his role as the scruffy mercenary who becomes an unlikely big brother to a troupe of nine naive samurai. Shuffling into a secret meeting where the proud young men discuss the graft choking their clan, Mifune's Sanjuro scratches his scraggly beard and distractedly rubs his neck like some common peasant while giving them advice on appearances and truths: "People aren't what they seem," he warns the dubious lads. "Be careful." Naturally they aren't, and Sanjuro grudgingly adopts the well-meaning but hopelessly ill-equipped heroes, giving the starry-eyed youths a series of lessons in real-world honor and respect while saving their skins from reckless attacks and impulsive plans. It isn't the subtlest of Kurosawa's films--the repetitious lessons and speeches delivered to the thickheaded samurai are rather obvious--but it's one of his most entertaining. Mifune, gruffly at ease with the boys, is hilariously discomforted in the presence of a cultured lady, who sees through his shaggy exterior and imparts a little wisdom of her own. Mifune bounds into action in a number of impressive sword fights--wonderfully choreographed lightning-quick battles in which Mifune leaps all over the widescreen image--but an increasing sense of waste, of futility, hangs over the action scenes, culminating in a tense but meaningless duel of honor. The accompanying trailer on the DVD features brief behind-the-scenes glimpses of Kurosawa directing Mifune through an action sequence. --Sean Axmaker

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I've never been fond of sequels, and when I found out Akira Kurosawa, a film maker I respect and admire more than any other, had done a sequel to his classic "Yojimbo," I had to wonder just how it was. I saw it and needless to say I was very impressed. This is with out a doubt probably one of the best sequels I've ever seen.
Sequels are commonly one of two things: 1) a rehash of the first movie, or 2) a continuation of a story that should have ended with the first film. "Sanjuro" is none of the two - instead, its just another adventure for our ronin friend Sanjuro in his quest for money. This time he finds himself accidentally nearby where some clueless samurai retainers are trying to figure out who in their clan is plotting to take over while their lord is away. Sanjuro steps in to help them out (almost out of aggravation at just how incompetant his new acquaintances are). He guesses correctly that it is the Super-Intendant and not the Chamberlain (as originally guessed) who is the traitor, and the story continues from there.
"Sanjuro" has all the right doses, and even more, of what you got in "Yojimbo." There are more fight scenes - or perhaps I should say there are more chances for Toshiro Mifune to slash through a crowd of hapless enemies. There are also more chances for our hero to figure out traps and plan ways out of sticky situations. With out a doubt, I think Sanjuro ranks as one of the most clever heroes I've ever seen on film, and you just get a joy at his wit and quick-thinking (I especially like how he got the villains to throw petals into the stream).
I would suggest any one who loved "Yojimbo" to give this film a good chance. It's just as enjoyable as its predecessor, and hey - if it has the name Akira Kurosawa on it, it can't be the least bit bad.
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Format: DVD
Kurosawa's sequel to his classic Yojimbo doesn't pack the same punch that its predecessor did. That's not to say Sanjuro isn't worth the time; far from it. Mifune, as before, growls and scratches to brilliant effect in this considerably lighter, more tongue-in-cheek film. As the masterless Sanjuro, Mifune ends up coaching nine foolhardy samurai in their quest to rescue the leader of their clan.
This time Kurosawa emphasises comedy over the bleakness of Yojimbo. It's an interesting shift in tone and the movie moves quickly enough, though there's a few too many scenes of the samurai getting ready to run off into more trouble before Sanjuro cooly suggests otherwise. The moments of action are blindingly fast and as stunning as they were presented in Yojimbo, perhaps even more so. Mifune slices through thirty-odd baddies in literally moments. As always, whenever he's on the screen he's a mesmerising presence. However the supporting cast equip themselves well, particularly Tatsuya Nakadai as Muroto. The scenes between Nakadai and Mifune are electrifying - a tense atmosphere prevalent throughout - leading to an unforgettable finale that is an all-time classic scene.
The Criterion DVD isn't as good as some of their other Kurosawa releases - notably Yojimbo and Seven Samurai - and the picture is far from perfect, but it's not like we have a choice of releases here.
The DVD aside, as a companion piece to Yojimbo, Sanjuro is an entertaining watch and another feather in the cap for Kurosawa, one of the greatest directors who ever lived.
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Format: DVD
Aftering watching Yojimbo, (which I thought was a little campy), Sanjuro puts in a more serious and deliberate plot. Although I was hoping for more background on the situation that Toshiro Mifune's character is getting into, it helps to understand that events like this were happening all over Japan in that time period. (the usual political intrigue, deception, usurping, etc) That aside, the story is told brilliantly, the troubled samurai of Mifune doing what good he can, all the while being surrounded by incompetents and evil men. His conscience takes the form of an older lady that he helps to rescue, and after receiving bits of wisdom from her (she immediately discerns his true character and gives him a short phrased bit of advice) his every action is dictated by his desire to heed her wisdom. Mifune's samurai then has to impart this lesson onto the bumbling young group of samurai with a horrifying display of martial skill used against the enemy, slaughtering a dozen men himself without a scratch, and later on at the end of the film, a 'quick-draw' with swords, which is so fast that you have to pause the motion to see where the hands of the actors are. The entire film sums up a part of the Bushido code itself that speaks about the level of skills that a trainee, adept and master have, from ignoramus (and therefore a useless person) to one so skilled that it becomes impossible to impart the accumulated knowledge/wisdom even by teaching. Mifune's samurai never seems overly concerned with his own life or the risks he takes to save the town from itself.
As for the DVD itself, agreed with others that the lack of extra features is the only reason for 4 stars instead of 5. The picture quality is excellent, the film quality itself is great, and the subtitles are well done. So far my favorite movie by Kurosawa next to Ran and Seven Samurai.
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