Author Topic: Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman (Criterion Collection)  (Read 15551 times)

Antares

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Re: Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman (Criterion Collection)
« Reply #60 on: February 17, 2015, 04:44:31 PM »
Final Recap

Zatoichi and the Fugitives (1968) 85/100
Zatoichi's Cane Sword (1967) 84/100
Fight, Zatoichi, Fight (1964) 82/100
Zatoichi's Pilgrimage (1966) 80/100
Zatoichi's Vengeance (1966) 78/100
Zatoichi on the Road (1963) 78/100
The Tale of Zatoichi (1962) 77/100
Zatoichi Meets the One Armed Swordsman (1971) 77/100

Zatoichi and the Chess Expert (1965) 76/100
Zatoichi's Revenge (1965) 74/100
Zatoichi Goes to the Fire Festival (1970) 74/100
New Tale of Zatoichi (1963) 73/100
Zatoichi Challenged (1967) 72/100
Zatoichi in Desperation (1972) 72/100
Zatoichi the Fugitive (1963) 70/100
Zatoichi’s Flashing Sword (1964) 70/100

Zatoichi and the Doomed Man (1965) 69/100
The Tale of Zatoichi Continues (1962) 68/100
Zatoichi and the Chest of Gold (1964) 66/100
Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo (1970) 66/100
Adventures of Zatoichi (1964) 65/100
Zatoichi's Conspiracy (1973) 64/100
Samaritan Zatoichi (1968) 64/100
Zatoichi at Large (1972) 60/100

Zatoichi the Outlaw (1967) 56/100

Twenty five films makes for a protracted investment in personal time and in the end, this marathon, and the investment I made in the DVD set was well worth it. Should Toho have continued the series after the dissolution of Daiei Studios in 1968, for all intensive purposes, I have to say no? The high water mark of this franchise was during the Daiei period, with some really entertaining romps with the blind yakuza masseur. I think what made this such a successful set of films, is that Daiei used different directors, giving certain films their own unique style. My favorites all tended to be directed by Kenji Misumi, who I found, equally balanced the action with drama and comedy. I also have to give credit to the star of the series, Shintarô Katsu, who never for a moment, dialed in a performance. He saw what a great character he was lucky enough to land, and he nurtured the development of Zatoichi, from a Yakuza killing machine, to one of a philosophical vagabond who really comes across as a Japanese version of Robin Hood. Katsu would move his beloved masseur to the small screen, while creating another character that would have a shorter series on the widescreen, Hanzo the Razor.
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1SO

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Re: Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman (Criterion Collection)
« Reply #61 on: February 17, 2015, 05:57:44 PM »
Glad you did a recap, because I'm not done. I just have other things prioritized. When I return, I'll likely start at the top of this list and go down, skipping the ones I've seen, until I've had enough.
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smirnoff

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Re: Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman (Criterion Collection)
« Reply #62 on: February 17, 2015, 06:06:11 PM »
What's next for Antares?

Antares

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Re: Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman (Criterion Collection)
« Reply #63 on: February 17, 2015, 09:44:04 PM »
I was planning to do the Lone Wolf & Cub series with Katsu's brother Tomisaburo Wakayama, but I just found the Nemuri Kyoshirō series (Sleepy Eyes of Death) starring Raizo Ichikawa on YouTube. I'm downloading as many of the twelve as I can find.
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Dave the Necrobumper

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Re: Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman (Criterion Collection)
« Reply #64 on: February 18, 2015, 02:55:56 AM »
Lone Wolf and Cub is very enjoyable. with 1,2 and 6 being the highlights for me. I look forward to your views on them Antares.

Dave the Necrobumper

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Re: Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman (Criterion Collection)
« Reply #65 on: May 23, 2015, 08:14:30 AM »
Zatoichi's Flashing Sword (1964 - Kazuo Ikehiro)

For me this has been the best of the series so far. The simple story and the characters worked very well. However it was the camera work by Yasukazu Takemura that lifted this film right up, it is just beautiful, from the opening scenes to the final fight. The superb print in the Criterion collection helped a lot here.

Rating: 79/100

Dave the Necrobumper

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Re: Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman (Criterion Collection)
« Reply #66 on: May 31, 2015, 07:36:39 AM »
Fight, Zatoichi, Fight (1964 - Kenji Misumi)

As a result of a murder, Zatoichi takes on a baby boy and decides to return the baby to its father. As always a band of killers is on Zatoichi's trail intending to kill him. There are some lovely poignant moments in this film, between Zatoichi and the baby. The performance of Ikuko Môri as a thief who joins with Zatoichi was very good. She appeared in 6 of the Zatoichi films, as different characters. The one other thing I noted was a couple of shots that appeared to have been influenced by the French new wave (the scene is about 58 minutes into the film). My view on this was probably influenced by a short video on the influence of the French New Wave (found here, it is rather good).

Rating: 76/100

Dave the Necrobumper

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Re: Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman (Criterion Collection)
« Reply #67 on: July 11, 2016, 06:51:27 AM »
Zatoichi the Outlaw (1967 - Satsuo Yamamoto)

Well as Antares said this is a film with firsts. For me one particular first was the opening music, it has a real feel of the Italian Spaghetti Western music. It uses guitars and not more traditional Japanese instruments. It was the first time that it really stood out. While there are several weak threads in this movie, the overarching theme was consequences which was covered in an acceptable manner. One disappointment was the lack of strong connections present in this film, there was no single character that Zatoichi strongly connects to. The previous film (Zatoichi's Cane Sword) was much better in this respect.

Rating: 73/100
« Last Edit: July 11, 2016, 07:03:09 AM by Dave the Necrobumper »