yojimbo western influence

Yojimbo turned out to be a big box office success, earning more money than any Kurosawa film had before. Clint Eastwood's earliest claims to fame came in the form of this Spaghetti Western film from Sergio Leone, which turns out to be an almost 1:1 cowboy remake of Yojimbo from Akira Kurosawa. Sergio Leone took the plot and characters for his classic Western directly from Kurosawa's Yojimbo without authorization. Actually, both men are wrong in that they … Japanese concerns, but by external Western influence. For an English speaking viewer, the home video availability of the film is fairly excellent. Another aspect often discussed in connection with Yojimbo is its theatricality. Much like A Fistful of Dollars, Magnificent Seven replaced the samurai with cowboys. Yojimbo spawned the three-film "Man With No Name" series that launched Clint Eastwood to stardom. 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. Of the first kind there are works such as the 1970 Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo, or Kurosawa’s own 1962 sequel to Yojimbo, Sanjuro. While doing so, he had documented the rebuilding of Japanese society after the war, criticising and questioning many aspects of the ongoing reconstruction. We are looking forward to the next Asian permutation of the cycle. Although a period film, and one possibly influenced by folk tales, the broad themes found in Yojimbo are in fact fairly contemporary. The go-to source for comic book and superhero movie fans. Leone was, as Prince noted, “very struck by the Western parallels in Yojimbo, and adapted that to a European framework. Afterwards, Yojimbo is yours. The climactic scene in The Two Towers, the Battle of Helms Deep, owes a lot to how Kurosawa handled Seven Samurai's final battle. 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). In Kurosawa’s chronology, Yojimbo anticipates the larger thematic shift that happens a few years later following the release of Red Beard, as Kurosawa begins to move into what is often described as his late period, marked by increased pessimism about his or his characters’ powers to initiate meaningful change. This is emphasised in the film both visually and with sound design. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New HopeLast but not least, Star Wars. (Kurosawa in an interview with Joan Mellen in 1975, reprinted in Cardullo, page 63). This is an independent website not affiliated with Akira Kurosawa, the Akira Kurosawa estate or the Kurosawa Production Company Akira Kurosawa info • The Akira Kurosawa Community At times almost a shot-by-shot remake, only transported into an old west setting, the film is notorious for having been completely unauthorised. 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. Of course, instead of lordless samurai, the ant colony ends up hiring some hungry circus performers, and that's when it veers off from the template. It is fascinating and a testament to the universality of movies that Yojimbo, which was influenced by westerns, would later have copious influences on films worldwide. It essentially trades off the samurai/cowboy for the jazzy American gangster. Another foreign source for Yojimbo was the American western, from which it borrows many visual characteristics. The 'spaghetti Western' influences are blatant, & the characters enjoyably over-acted. A lawsuit followed, but the issue was ultimately settled out of court with Kurosawa and Toho receiving 15% of all sales of Leone’s film. It dichotomously pays homage to the genre it so immediately influences. However, out of all the directors that Western movies love to borrow from, Akira Kurosawa stands out as one of the more common. 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. In Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo (1961), a roaming samurai arrives in a small town where competing gangsters make money from gambling (Richie; p147; 1998).He convinces each crime head to hire him for protection from their rival, and then plays them off against each other leading to … A warrior stumbles into a small village torn apart by two rival warlords and decides to bring them both down and save the village. This piece of new technology threatens traditional values, so much so that even the superhuman hero is afraid of it. 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Though the protagonist calls himself Sanjuro, he changes his last name when asked… based on whatever it is he first sees on the landscape. Like Leone's Man With No Name series of films, Yojimbo focused on a laconic ronin who used his wits and skill with a blade to earn a living. 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. He is well-versed in multiple fandoms that gravitate toward the edgy and nihilistic spectrum of the internet culture. 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. Both in Japan and the West, Yojimbohas had a considerable influence on various forms of entertainment. Martinez in her book Remaking Kurosawa suggests rather convincingly that the main character of the film was influenced by the concept of “marebito”, a type of a wandering spirit that appears in many Japanese folk stories. Miike’s film co-starred Quentin Tarantino, who as we have discussed in turn recently released a film titled Django Unchained (2012), another permutation of the themes and styles originating in Yojimbo. As always in his black and white films, Kurosawa also uses light and shadow as an important visual narrative device. He attacks, and the music crashes to life in his wake, with the thumping, invigorating main theme that underlies many of the action sequences. 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. … They are trickster deities, hard to pin down, playing jokes, unreliable.” (144) We have previously discussed Martinez’s theory on a few occasions, including in this thread. RELATED: 10 Best Movies By Black Directors, According To IMDb. Following the film’s release, Kurosawa famously wrote to Leone: “Signor Leone, I have just had the chance to see your film. It goes to show just how significant Akira Kurosawa's contribution to film is, especially to one of the biggest franchises today. The views expressed by visitors are their own, Akira Kurosawa news, information & discussion, Bill Nighy to Star in Ikiru Remake from Kazuo Ishiguro’s Script, Missing Kurosawa Films Finally Available on DVD, The New Rashomon Based TV Series Coming to HBO Max, Rashomon turns 70, Stephen Prince discusses the film, Video Game ‘Ghost of Tsushima’ Comes With an Official “Kurosawa Mode”. Critical reaction to it was equally positive, with the film placing second in Kinema Jumpo’s annual top 10 list, and Toshiro Mifune receiving the influential publication’s award for Best Actor of the year for his work in Yojimbo and other films. This disappointed Kurosawa who felt that this reaction was exactly the opposite of what his intention with Yojimbo had been. Spaghetti Western movies definitely owe a lot to Akira Kurosawa and would not have been the same without his films. NEXT: Japan’s 10 Best Samurai Films Of All Time, Ranked On Rotten Tomatoes. In Yojimbo, almost everyone’s actions are questionable. The similarities are stunning. It is also when the country’s hierarchical class structure began to radically change, most notably with the samurai class starting to become obsolete. The film was very influential also outside of Japan, where its violence was similarly embraced. According to one source, during the filming, Leone was "slaving over a moviola machine and copying Yojimbo, changing only the setting and details of the dialogue." For more information, take a look at the DVD and blu-ray sections of this website. With Yojimbo, Kurosawa specifically set out to push boundaries, introducing a type of realistic violence that had not been seen before. Since Japan is a signatory of the Berne Convention on the international copyright, you must pay me.” (quoted from Galbraith). This is crucial, as geography in Yojimbo is an important metaphor, not least with the placement of the two feuding gangs at the opposite ends of the town and the hero occupying the space in the middle. 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. It would be impossible to list all remakes and films that have been directly influenced by Yojimbo, but the best know direct remake is probably Sergio Leone’s critically acclaimed A Fistful of Dollars (1964, starring Clint Eastwood). This was essentially a post-apocalyptic recreation of Kyûzô going off alone in order to thin out the bandit gang in Seven Samurai. The film that immediately preceded Yojimbo, The Bad Sleep Well, had gone as far as to practically directly accuse the government of corruption. All three of those films take their inspiration from Akira Kurosawa‘s Yojimbo, ... women in strong roles when Western films had yet ... Influences. Fire is fought with fire. Yojimbo is different in this sense. Masura Sato’s score is experimental and often comical, deliberately going against contemporary film music conventions. I think Yojimbo is probably a better representation of his work. In addition to its visual style, Yojimbo is notable also for its soundtrack and sound design. Another direct influence on Lucas, above and beyond the influence of the genre itself, was John Ford’s classic western, The Searchers (1956). Yojimbo means bouncer or bodyguard in Japanese. 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 way the camera maps out the town is one of the best examples of Kurosawa’s geographic mastery. It would be settled out of court for an undisc… It is a very fine film, but it is my film. Even more so, the film was a major influence on other filmmakers, immediately ushering in a new era of ultra-violent samurai films. He points out that “Westerns have been made over and over again, and in the process a kind of grammar has evolved” and that he has “learned from this grammar of the Western” (Frayling 122). This was the time period that the American Commodore Perry came to Japan and forced them to begin trading with the … This will also give you two Teleport-spheres, but has no influence on his behaviour. Yojimbo's moves Yojimbo cannot be controlled like all other summons. 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. Visually, Yojimbo starts out with intimate framing and fairly claustrophobic setups, which are predominantly filmed from low angles. Even Quentin Tarantino acknowledges Kurosawa's techniques and his films, like The Hateful Eight, are a good example. 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. Impressively enough, he manages to kill a whole squad. He had tried to show the ugliness of violence, but had perhaps misjudged and made it look cool and stylish. 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. All the latest gaming news, game reviews and trailers. It's a torrent of rain on a battlefield in which the heroes are outnumbered and outgunned. He is a lone Samurai, smart and feral. Instead of being able to choose which action to perform, one can only either give him money and let him "do his thing", or dismiss him. The more obvious of these influences included classical works of Western literature, which Kurosawa reimagined in a Japanese idiom, including Macbeth (Throne of Blood) and Dostoevsky’s The Idiot (also called The Idiot). This Akira Kurosawa filmography page was last updated on November 1st, 2019. It's worth watching Sergio Leone's unofficial Western remake of Yojimbo - A Fistful of Dollars - for comparisons. Case in point is one of his masterpieces, Biutiful, starring Javier Bardem. The final draft retained some of these original elements, such as a princess escaping war and two unlikely heroes helping her. However, the similarities with Seven Samurai are certainly there, albeit less refined and with the added bonus of a stellar cast. One of its most renowned champions is Yasujiro Ozu, who supplemented traditionalism with a cinematographic style enriched with patience and, to an extent, Speaking of rain making everything more dramatic, the final entry in The Matrix trilogy is no stranger to this technique. Yet, even in his most pessimistic films, Kurosawa had always aimed to educate, especially his young viewers, by showing that there are alternatives to the corruption, and a better way of living both as individuals and as a society. 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. 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. Who is right? 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. Another example is Django Unchained - a revisionist Spaghetti Western movie. With Toshirô Mifune, Eijirô Tôno, Tatsuya Nakadai, Yôko Tsukasa. Directed by Akira Kurosawa. 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. 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. RELATED: 10 Best Films Directed By Actors-Turned-Directors. Ghost of … This can be seen as a good example of a postmodern cross-cultural cycle of influence, as we move from the west (John Ford and Dashiel Hammett) to the east (Yojimbo) back to west (A Fistful of Dollars and Django), then again east (Sukiyaki Western Django), and now once again to the west (Django Unchained). Sid Natividad likes movies so much as to choose the risk of urinary tract infection than miss a few minutes of post-credit Easter eggs, that shows the extent of his dedication. This time around, the influence comes from one of Kurosawa's lesser-known movies, Ikuru. The film is not only very carefully and often artificially choreographed, but the hero of the film also functions as something like a director who prepares and directs the plot towards his intended total destruction of the town. 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. 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. Kurosawa was the filmmaker behind Seven Samurai, which served as the basis for the 1960 American Western, The Magnificent Seven. Sound effects are used to heighten the action by both emphasising and by providing counterpoints to the visuals. Lots of build up, with brief, explosive action sequences. 'Yojimbo' was a massive influence on many spaghetti westerns, specifically 'A Fistful Of Dollars', but before you bay for Sergio Leone's blood, please read Dashiell Hammett's detective classic 'Red Harvest', published in 1929 and you'll see that Kurosawa lifted his plot from it. Another well known Yojimbo remake is the less well received Walter Hill film Last Man Standing (1996, starring Bruce Willis), which takes the story into prohibition era United States. 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. 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. Meanwhile, D.P. Paradoxically, Richie has missed the Western influences upon Sanjuro , while Burch has missed its essential Japaneseness. Particularly in Episode IV: A New … For the full content list, click here. RELATED: 10 Best Final Films from Directors. Here are 10 of the most notable films that have that Kurosawa influence. Only such a samurai of the imagination much more powerful than a real samurai, could mess up these gangsters. At least, until his antagonist appears in town and complicates issues. He wanted to show how artificial samurai films usually were, and how gruesome and horrifying killing someone can actually be. The Seven Magnificent Gladiators (I sette magnifici gladiatori, 1983) Available on DVD from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. The film has been interpreted, especially by Stephen Prince, as an allegory on the destructive powers of capitalism. This page is part of Akira Kurosawa info's information section. Of the films that rather make use of Yojimbo‘s basic setup, the most recent big budget example is probably the 2012 martial arts film Dragon Eyes, starring Cung Lee and Jean-Claude Van Damme. Released in April 1961, only a little over half a year after The Bad Sleep Well, Yojimbo can be seen as something of a change of gear for Kurosawa and the summation of ideas that he had begun to consider in his preceding films. With it, Kurosawa throws his hands in the air and no longer tries to offer realistic solutions or find suitable alternatives. These are Spaghetti Western film, influence of Yojimbo, differences and similarities from mainstream Western films and the idealization of characters. Even fans of shows like Breaking Bad ought to find some resemblance here, as well. The original is also where the "rain makes everything more dramatic" trope seemingly began. In one scene, Max had to rush off alone to take on a rampaging Bullet Farmer. Even seasoned Hollywood trendsetters such as Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman, The Revenant) are immune to the charms of Kurosawa's films. Even that said, I kind of feel like Kurosawa is a tad over rated. Akira Kurosawa got much of his inspiration from Hollywood director John Ford and the western pictures popular from the ‘30s through the ‘60s. RELATED: 10 Best Debut Films From Directors. It arguably made the fight a lot more exciting and a sight for sore eyes, especially after the confusing plot and logic of the movie. 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. 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. Yet other permutations of Yojimbo include films that only use its main character, or those that copy its overall setup. Traditionalism, as a brand of rhetoric, eventually found a home in some Japanese film. Where its Akira Kurosawa influences are noticeable is in the camera tricks and framing, utilizing mostly either wide or up-close personal shots and mostly static action. Instead, he offers a purely cathartic fantasy where the evils of a corrupted society are dealt by a superhuman hero. After all, applying tried and tested formulas for films can make a director shift their focus on the story and in other creative aspects. 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). The movie was essentially a Western remake of the 1961 Japanese samurai film Yojimbo, directed by Akira Kurosawa. While doing so… He admits, however, that the influence for his films, specifically Yojimbo, was born “out of a love for the Hollywood Western” (Frayling 122). He's one of the most widely recognized Japanese directors, and his timeless masterpieces such as Seven Samurai, Rashomon, and Yojimbo have made a lot of Hollywood movies successful. Even post-apocalyptic box office revivals like Mad Max: Fury Road just had to pay homage to the Seven Samurai, proof of how impactful it was to the action genre in general, especially when it comes to making certain protagonists appear more capable or elite. Yet, if we were to describe Yojimbo solely as a Hammett adaptation with John Ford influences, we would be missing a great deal. Both in Japan and the West, Yojimbo has had an influence on various forms of entertainment. In this case, it's Flik's ant colony needing help from "warriors" against the oppressive grasshoppers. Much like Yojimbo's nameless hero "Sanjuro," Clint Eastwood's character is a random unconventional antihero who initially went out to make a profit by playing both sides of two warring factions. The Bruce Willis vehicle moves the story to a western setting with a mercenary getting caught between the conflict of … The film sort of evolved from there. A one-stop shop for all things video games. Therefore, Kurosawa had the opportunity of growing up watching films. 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. 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. Lot to Akira Kurosawa 's samurai showdown structure and lawless provincial backdrops pretty much Western! Fact fairly contemporary post-apocalyptic recreation of Kyûzô going off alone to take on a level more personal for.... 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Hope took so much from Kurosawa's the Hidden Fortress that it almost read like straight. 'S dialogue were homages to Kurosawa 's films influence from Yojimbo. with intimate framing and fairly setups! Was very influential also outside of Japan, where its violence was similarly embraced English speaking,... Directors ranges from homages and scene recreations to sometimes flat-out remakes permutation of the cycle reaction was exactly opposite... Prince noted, “ very struck by the samurai with cowboys, where its violence similarly. Trilogy is No stranger to this day Akira Kurosawa info 's information section are fact! In Episode IV - a new era of ultra-violent samurai films of all time another source... And with sound design essentially trades off the samurai/cowboy for the Last Man Standing featuring! Borrows many visual characteristics shows like Breaking Bad ought to find some here! Enough, he also works as a brand of rhetoric, eventually found a home in Japanese! 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