A ronin (Toshiro Mifune) overhears a conversation among a group of samurai who suspect a public official of being involved with organized crime… but the ronin thinks they’ve got it backwards. The sequel to Yojimbo (1961) continues in the same vein and throws our anti-hero straight into a new, complex conflict in the first scene that will test loyalties in several ways. The story is nothing much, but entertaining and beautifully filmed in intimate environs that are significantly more peaceful than the violent intrigues. The final duel is bizarrely, famously bloody and underscores the ronin’s contempt for violence.
1962-Japan. 96 min. B/W. Widescreen. Produced by Ryûzô Kikushima, Tomoyuki Tanaka. Directed by Akira Kurosawa. Screenplay: Akira Kurosawa, Ryûzô Kikushima, Hideo Oguni. Novel: Shûgorô Yamamoto. Cast: Toshiro Mifune (The Samurai), Tatsuya Nakadai (Hanbei Muroto), Takashi Shimura (Kurofuji), Yuzo Kayama, Reiko Dan.
Trivia: Original title: Tsubaki Sanjûrô. Remade in Japan in 2007.
Last word: “Shrugging and scratching myself were my own ideas. I used these mannerisms to express the unemployed samurai, penniless, wearing a dirty kimono. Sometimes this kind of man felt lonely, and these mannerisms characterize the loneliness.” (Mifune, Film Daily)