In his prolific and much-lauded career, Toshiro Mifune worked with director Hiroshi Inagaki even more often than he did with his more celebrated collaborator Akira Kurosawa — the best-known product of these collaborations is the Miyamoto Musashi trilogy, with Mifune playing the title character. Working for the Toho studio, Inagaki was a very well-respected writer/director during the 1950s and 60s with a bit of a specialisation in period action films: his Musashi films and his version of The 47 Ronin… (read more)
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)
Hiroshi Inagaki’s celebrated third Samurai film, Duel at Ganryu Island, brings to a close his series chronicling the life of historical figure Musashi Miyamoto. The first film, Musashi Miyamoto, followed the young villager Takezo as he sought fame and fortune in battle. The second, Duel at Ichijoji Temple, tells the story of his enlightenment and induction into the world of the samurai. In the third film, Musashi is known throughout Japan and sought after as both a … (read more)
Like all good reviewers I’m reviewing the first film (Samurai 1) after the second one (Samurai 2), don’t worry I did watch them in the right order.
This is the great first episode of the famous trilogy based on the life of Musashi Miyamoto, its star, everyone’s favourite screen samurai, Toshiro Mifune (well, mine at least).
Musashi really existed, but much like Wong Fei Hung in China his life has been mythologized and his story has … (read more)
A few years ago I decided to work my way through the classics of cinema. Many of them I really enjoyed, but there were some that were a bit of a struggle to sit through, at the end I would say that was a bit of a struggle, but it was a worthy film. The Samurai Trilogy was on my list but I hadn’t been able to get to it (partly because of the lack of availability, which has been … (read more)