Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Seven Samurai (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
Seven Samurai (七人の侍 Shichinin no Samurai?) is a 1954 Japanese adventure drama film co-written, edited, and directed by Akira Kurosawa. The film takes place in 1587 during the Warring States Period of Japan. It follows the story of a village of farmers that hire seven masterless samurai (ronin) to combat bandits who will return after the harvest to steal their crops.
Seven Samurai is described as one of the greatest and most influential films ever made, and is one of a select few Japanese films to become widely known in the West for an extended period of time. It is the subject of both popular and critical acclaim; it was voted onto Sight & Sound's list of the ten greatest films of all time in 1982, and to the directors' top ten films in the 1992 and 2002 polls.
Kambei Shimada (島田勘兵衛 Shimada Kanbei) (Takashi Shimura) — The leader of the group and the first "recruited" by the villagers, he is a wise but war-weary soldier.
Katsushirō Okamoto (岡本勝四郎 Okamoto Katsushirō) (Isao Kimura) — A young untested warrior. He comes from a warrior family and wants to be Kambei's disciple.
Gorōbei Katayama (片山五郎兵衛 Katayama Gorōbei) (Yoshio Inaba) — He is recruited by Kambei and is a skilled archer, he acts as the second in command and helps create the master plan for the village's defense.
Shichirōji (七郎次) (Daisuke Katō) — He was once Kambei's lieutenant. Kambei meets him by chance in the town and he resumes this role.
Heihachi Hayashida (林田平八 Hayashida Heihachi) (Minoru Chiaki) — Recruited by Gorōbei. An amiable though less-skilled fighter. His charm and wit maintain his comrades' good cheer in the face of adversity.
Kyūzō (久蔵) (Seiji Miyaguchi) — He initially declined an offer by Kambei to join the group, though he later changes his mind. A serious, stone-faced samurai and a supremely skilled swordsman; Katsushirō is in awe of him.
Kikuchiyo (菊千代) (Toshirō Mifune) — A would-be samurai (right down to the false noble birth certificate) who eventually proves his worth. He is mercurial and temperamental. He identifies with the villagers and their plight.
Gisaku 儀作 (Kokuten Kodo) — The miller and village patriarch, referred to as "Grandad," who tells the villagers to hire samurai to protect themselves.
Yohei 与平 (Bokuzen Hidari) — A very timid old man who shares some memorable comic scenes with Kikuchiyo.
Manzō 万造 (Kamatari Fujiwara) — A farmer who fears for his daughter's purity when surrounded by the dashing samurai.
Shino 志乃 (Keiko Tsushima) — Manzō's daughter who falls in love with Katsushirō.
Rikichi 利吉 (Yoshio Tsuchiya) — Hotheaded and relatively young, he has a painful secret concerning his wife.
Rikichi's Wife (Yukiko Shimazaki) — Unseen in the early part of the film, the secret of her whereabouts will lead to tragedy.
Mosuke 茂助 (Yoshio Kosugi) — His house is one of the three outlying buildings that will have to be abandoned in order to save the twenty in the main hamlet.
The Bandit Chief (Shinpei Takagi)
Bandit Second-In-Command (Shin Ōtomo)
Musket Bandit (Toshio Takahara)
Roof Bandit (Masanobu Ōkubo)