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Sword Of Doom (1966)

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Sword of Doom is an acclaimed action film from director Kihachi Okamoto. It tells the story of a ruthless swordsman who is deadly with his sword. The fact that the central character is a very unlikeable character makes the movie different from many of the samurai films that have come out of Japan.

Ryunosuke Tsukue is this central character. He kills a man in a sword fight despite promising the man’s wife that he will give up winning if she … (read more)

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The 47 Ronin (1962)

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The 47 Ronin has been called Japan’s national epic, a dramatic legend based on real events at the beginning of the 18th century. These events almost immediately inspired both kabuki and bunraku plays, some of which are still performed today. In addition, the story of the 47 Ronin has been filmed many times, a testament to its popularity inside Japan and abroad. Most popular amongst the film adaptations are Kenji Mizoguchi’s wartime version, released in 1941, and this version: Toho … (read more)

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Red Beard (1965)

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Thank god for Toshirô Mifune. Heretical as it may be, I can’t say I’m a big fan of this one. This loose and only fitfully engaging drama marks a frustrating end to one of the great director/star collaborations in the cinema, and appropriately Mifune is by far the best thing about it.

Mifune plays the title character, one of those doctor types you see quite a lot in fiction who is both grizzly and deeply humane, and is never less … (read more)

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