Seven Samurai...(poss. spoilers for any crazy folk who ain't seen it!)

Colin Droidmilk

Sr Member
Just watched this again for the first time in about 7 years. Even though I've seen it many times before, the sheer power of the thing to move the soul took me unawares all over again. I was getting wet-eyed during just the first exchange of glances between lead samurai Kambei and Mifune (while Kambei has his head shaved prior to dealing with the thief). And by the time we got to the scene where Kambei finally takes pity on the farmers and agrees to help, overcome as he is by their sacrifice of their only pitiful resource, their rice, my face was an embarrassing sopping mess. Why the tears? I dunno - a mixture of being destroyed by the overwhelming magnificence of every single aspect of the film in technical and artistic terms (in the way one might cry on encountering an oasis in a desert) and the sheer overpowering force of Kurosawa's humanity. Or something. I guess. Or maybe I'm just a big puff. Anyway, I thought, 'Bloodyhell how am I going to get through this? Am I gonna sit here weeping for the next 3 hours?' I managed to hold it in for most of the time, but there were many eruptions...really embarrassing.

In reading up on the movie I was intrigued to see that during script development Samurai warriors had presented Kurosawa with the same problems that Jedi warriors later presented to George Lucas in his search for a SW story. Namely, how to avoid the boredom of a row of dedicated, slightly Zen-headed warriors. Thus was born Mifune's character. Kurosawa realised he had to have an off-the-wall, fun, flaky kind of Samurai to leaven the brew. Lucas found a successful solution too: Han Solo. The word 'prequels' will make no appearance in this post other than in this sentence.

So yeah... and when the film ended, me and the GF just sat there watching the dvd menu for about 20 minutes, just unable to let go, just watching that loop of slowed down shots from the final battle roll past over and over again...
 

terryr

Sr Member
Han Solo is more from The Hidden Fortress, being the bad boy that the princess falls for.[with her two goofy assistants. Samurai 1,2,& 3 has a farmboy trained by a monk to be a warrior. Also a great trilogy.]

But anyway, Seven Samurai is a great movie. I like the old translation. Supposedly the new translation is more accurate, but I like the original. Perhaps it's just because I saw it first.

Fun fact; I read that the Seven Samurai was called the Magnificent Seven, until the cowboy remake, when they changed the english name to keep them separate.
The cowboy version is nothing in comparison. Seven Samurai has such strong themes all the way through.
 

cayman shen

Master Member
I have both Criterion translations. The second is superior, but there are a few things that seem like anachronisms ("screw samurai" replaces "to hell with samurai" for instance).

99.99999% sure you're incorrect about the original title being Mag. Seven terryr.

This is easily my favorite movie, and one of the most perfectly visually composed films ever made. I watch it once a year, minimum, and expose American high schoolers to it in my Film Studies class.

I've seen this movie dozens of times, and I still get choked up when Kyuzo and Kikuchiyo die. And the music is just...visceral. When the banner is first hoisted and that music swells, it just kills me.

This movie is incredibly long, and I wouldn't trim one flawless second.

When I first started shaving my head, I intentionally cultivated rubbing the stubble in honor of Kambei :)

(Side note: I'm listening to the audio books of my favorite series, the Dark Tower. I'm on the Seven Samurai book right now, Wolves of the Calla. Good fun. Much better than A Bug's Life as remakes go :lol).
 
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cayman shen

Master Member
I think he felt the need to carry the big sword precisely because he WASN'T a samurai. Making it pretty significant when it breaks and he uses a conventional sword, as if by fighting with the true samurai he's finally earned the right to.
 

SSgt Burton

Sr Member
One of my all time favourite films as well. Mifune's monologue (in which he reveals he is the son of a farmer) is brilliantly played. I am utterly moved by it every time despite it being subtitled.

So the only version I own is a vhs copy- I assume this is the original translation?

I'm going to have to save my pennies and buy the bluray.


Kevin
 

terryr

Sr Member
99.99999% sure you're incorrect about the original title being Mag. Seven terryr.
Maybe had it backwards;

Trivia - Seven Samurai

The American release was cut even further by distributor RKO from the export version and was called The Magnificent Seven until John Sturges's 1960 Western remake caused all prints of the original to be recalled.
This is also interesting;

The only three samurai survivors, Shichiroji, Katsushiro and Kambei, were the first three title character actors to die in real life: Daisuke Katô; (Shichiroji) died in 1975, Isao Kimura (Katsushiro) died in 1981 and Takashi Shimura (Kambei) died in 1982. Whereas Minoru Chiaki, who played Heihachi, the first Samurai killed, was the last of the title character actors to die in real life (in 1999).
 

Jedi2016

Sr Member
It's funny, I never really learned their names.

Anyway, I never saw this film until a year or so ago when Criterion released their Blu-ray version of the film, and I picked it up sight-unseen based on the feedback that the film has gotten over the years.

And every bit well-deserved. This film is the very definition of a masterpiece. I couldn't believe it when I re-read the summary of the film after watching it to confirm that it really was almost three and a half hours long, because it sure as hell didn't feel like it. This is the single best example I've seen of the mastery of pacing and editing. At no time throughout the entire three and a half hours was I bored. This is the ONLY film of this length that I can say this about.

And when I look deeper, and examine things like the writing, the acting, the cinematography... I still can't find anything to fault, even if I try. And I don't want to try!

Absolutely sublime from start to finish, and perhaps THE definitive example of filmmaking in the twentieth century. I wonder how long it will be until we see another like Kurosawa, and another film like this one? Will we ever?
 

nick daring

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Good flick.

I always give millet a funny look when I see it in the grocery store because of this movie.



it's really not as bad as they make it out in the movie.

:)

Nick
 

Colin Droidmilk

Sr Member
More random 7 samurai goodness:

The running. The way the actors run is just incredible.

The way the farmers as a crowd are this surging mass of motion obeying Kurosawa's every desire - they flow around the screen almost like an animated crowd of forest animals from a 40s Disney picture.

The stages through which the contract between the farmers and samurai moves. First, we feel the samurai are doing them a favour, then that the farmers deserve to be abandoned for plundering wounded samurai, then, through Kikichio (Mifune) we see that the samurai have an actual social responsibility toward the farmers, that they shouldn't be seeing this as a favour they're loftily bestowing from on high, but a moral duty. And as the battle nears, the contract changes finally into comradeship and unity of purpose. This development is expressed in the fallen Heihachi's banner, which just makes it all the more killing when Mifune raises it on the roof. And it's brilliant the way Kurosawa has the camera scroll down that banner not once but twice, underlining the bond that now exists between farmer and samurai and filling them with new courage. It's a subtle political point Kurosawa's making but he blends it with the pathos of Heihachi's death, resulitng in a knockout emotional punch.
 
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MooCriket

Master Member
I'm ashamed to admit, that I had not watched this film prior to looking at this thread. Thanks to your thread, and the comments here in, I quickly have remedied that. Thank you. What a truly masterpiece of a film!
 

Colin Droidmilk

Sr Member
I have both Criterion translations. The second is superior, but there are a few things that seem like anachronisms ("screw samurai" replaces "to hell with samurai" for instance).
No, wouldn't like 'screw samurai'. On my version I've got 'you damned Samurai'...guess there must be a few translations knocking about.

Also, my version (British Film Institute) claims to be the longest version available yet wiki says this is 207 minutes. Mine's 190 minutes. How many minutes you chaps got?

MooCriket, I'm so glad the thread made you check out the film. Great!
 

cayman shen

Master Member
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