Best samurai movies

Aaron Gerow gerow
Fri Jan 26 00:26:55 EST 2001

>I wish I could study cinema with Aaron. The only ones I have are #6, 8 and
>10. There is scant information on the IMDb on many of the remaining seven.
>For example, although they list #1, they do not show a director -- I thought
>you meant Juzo Itami at first, and you sent my imagination racing!

Well, admittedly it is a bizarre list, though most are films well-known 
by die-hard fans and scholars in Japan.  If I was a real otaku, I could 
have come up with something more obscure.  The first film, Kokushi muso, 
was directed by Itami Juzo's father, Itami Mansaku, and only exists in an 
abridged version.  But it was highly regarded when it was released and 
still reveals that brilliance.

>I notice that #3 stars Denjiro Okochi, one of my favorite actors.

Good taste.  Arai's Mito Komon is a nicely preserved three-parter 
featuring Okochi in a dual role (including Mito Komon).  Not only is it a 
solid entertainment film, it reveals how talented Okochi was.  Though my 
mood changes, I frequently find him my favorite of the prewar jidaigeki 
stars.  (Chiezo was a great visionary and Bantsuma mad more star 
presence, so both are close in the running.)  If you're in Kyoto, visit 
Okochi's house in Arashiyama: the man had taste!

>I'm hoping Aaron can answer something else for me -- do you know anything
>about the 1965 Sanshiro Sugata in which Mifune plays Yano, the role played
>by Okochi in Kurosawa's film?

Having not seen it, I can't say much except what's in the books.  It's 
apparently not even on video in Japan.

Aaron Gerow
Associate Professor
International Student Center
Yokohama National University
79-1 Tokiwadai
Hodogaya-ku, Yokohama 240-8501
E-mail: gerow at
Phone: 81-45-339-3170
Fax: 81-45-339-3171

More information about the KineJapan mailing list