Review: ‘Shichinin No Samurai’

High adventure and excitement are stamped all over this solid-core film about a group of seven Samurai warriors who save a little village from annihilation at the hands of a group of bandits in 15th-century Japan. Besides the well-manned battlescenes, the pic has a good feeling for characterization and time.

High adventure and excitement are stamped all over this solid-core film about a group of seven Samurai warriors who save a little village from annihilation at the hands of a group of bandits in 15th-century Japan. Besides the well-manned battlescenes, the pic has a good feeling for characterization and time.

Bandits are waiting to attack an isolated village as soon as the rice is ripe. Some of the men go to look for help and run into a sage old Samurai warrior who consents to help them. Then follows a series of deft bits as the seven men are gathered and head for the village to prepare defenses, train the men, and get ready for the onslaught. They finally vanquish the bandits but not without losses.

Director Akira Kurosawa has given this a virile mounting. It is primarily a man’s film, with the brief romantic interludes also done with taste. Each character is firmly molded. Toshiro Mifune as the bold, hairbrained but courageous warrior weaves a colossal portrait. He dominates the picture although he has an extremely strong supporting cast.

Lensing is excellent, as is editing in bundling together the immense footage and making its battle scenes monumental and exciting. Music is also helpful in mood, vacillating between western and eastern themes for telling effect.

[Version reviewed was 161-min. international one, first shown at 1954 Venice festival.]

Shichinin No Samurai

Japan

Production

Toho. Director Akira Kurosawa; Producer Shojiro Motoki; Screenplay Shinobu Hashimoto, Hideo Oguni, Akira Kurosawa; Camera Asakazu Nakai; Editor Fumio Yanoguchi; Music Fumio Hayasaka; Art Director So Matsuyama

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1954. Running time: 200 MIN.

With

Takashi Shimura Toshiro Mifune Yoshio Inaba Seiji Miyaguchi Minoru Chiaki Daisuke Kato

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