Rousing, good story, told with vigor and visual excitement by Akira Kurosawa, and splendidly acted by Toshiro Mifune, this has ideal remake material for a Yank company. [Pic was in fact remade by an Italian company, as Fistful of Dollars, 1964.]
Tale set in 1800s concerns a wandering samurai who arrives in a village split into two rival and warring factions. He offers his services to one, then to the other gang leader. Lured by a big pay-off, he almost joins one side, only to learn they want to kill him once he’s won the battle for them. Going over to the rivals, he starts a series of fights, duels, kidnappings, until he unselfishly frees some prisoners giving them his money.
Though this lacks the epic stature of Seven Samurai, Kurosawa here again shows his mastery of the medium. His choice of backdrop characters is also adroit and colorful, as is his ever-exciting use of the camera. Music by Masaru Sato rates a special nod for the way it keys the serio-comic tone of various sequences.