Film Study: Yojimbo (1961)
We’ll be taking a look at Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo from Thursday through Tuesday.
Yojimbo (用心棒 Yōjinbō) is a 1961 jidaigeki film directed by Akira Kurosawa. It tells the story of a rōnin, portrayed by Toshiro Mifune, who arrives in a small town where competing crime lords vie for supremacy. The two bosses each try to hire the newcomer as a bodyguard.
Toshiro Mifune achieved international stardom in Kurosawa’s films of the 1950s, emerging as an actor of compelling power, capable of a great range and subtlety of expression. But as Sanjuro, no subtlety is necessary—sheer physical presence suffices. In a film in which a company of fine actors have become puppets and caricatures, Mifune’s Sanjuro is vital and almost credible, dominating the screen in a characterization conveyed centrally by a toothpick, a hitch of the shoulders, and the wholly assured swordsman’s walk whose rhythm and power are enhanced by the music that usually urges him forward.
Also: Came across this awesome fan art mash-up by comic book artist Ron Wimberly: