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Link (Charles Bronson), a rough-riding gunslinger, teams up with Kuroda (Toshiro Mifune), an honorable samurai warrior, in a grisly tale of revenge set in the lawless southwest of the 1870s. A gruesome train robbery involving a priceless samurai sword throws the two bitter enemies together.
A classic Western Epic! --Risingsunproductions.net
The of the best westerns ever! --Fightingspirit.com
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Getting these four international actors together in the same plot isn't as strange as you think. Mifune is Kuroda Jubie, a guard for the Ambassador from Japan who is currently en-route to Washington D.C. where he is to deliver a magnificent sword as a present from the Emperor of Japan to the President of the US. Their train is robbed by Bronson, playing outlaw Link Stuart, but he is betrayed mid-robbery by his partner Gauche (Alain Delon) who takes the gold-encrusted sword. Joining together in a wary truce, Mifune and Bronson hunt Delon to recover their lost honor and stolen treasures. Andress is Delon's woman, but someone who can easily be convinced to switch her loyalties if the price is right.
What is so amazing about this film is that, aside from its impressive international cast, is that is just a really good movie. What could have been played for laughs, as happened in the much later Shanghai Noon, is instead treated entirely straight, and a subtle story of honor and revenge is laid out with patience and perfection. Although technically a "Spaghetti Western", none of the tropes are brought into play, and everything is handled with respect and intention. Mifune is not Bronson's wacky sidekick, and Delon is no French buffoon.
As an interesting note, this is the first film I have seen where Mifune speaks English. It was quite a surprise, and he does an able job with his lines, although they are not flawless. His character here is a straight-laced servant to his lord rather than the dangerous rouge from Yojimbo, and the scenes between him and Bronson are fantastic.
This DVD presentation is a little lacking. It is strictly bare-bones, and the video looks to be a PAL transfer. It would be nice to see this gem get a deluxe Region 1 release, but until then I am just happy to have it in any format.
Tough guy Charles Bronson is best known for his "Death Wish" films that seemed to go on forever. He appeared in more than 150 films and in 1972 was voted the World's Favorite Male Actor at the Golden Globes. His most memorable performances are in "The Magnificent Seven", "The Great Escape", "The Dirty Dozen" and "Once Upon a Time in the West", and he had his own TV series "Man with a Camera" (1958). Director John Huston once described him as "a grenade with the pin pulled." Sergio Leone said he was the best actor he ever worked with.
Toshiro Mifune was the Japanese John Wayne. Mifune made more than 150 films, most of them Japanese, but he also made several films in Hollywood, the most famous of which were "Hell in the Pacific" (1968) with Lee Marvin, "Midway" (1976) as Admiral Yamamoto, and "The Challenge" (1982) with Scott Glenn. He also appeared in the TV mini-series "Shogun" (1980) as Lord Toranaga. Mifune won Volpi Cup awards in Venice for his work on "Yojimbo" (1961) and "Red Beard" (1965), was Emmy nominated for his role in "Shogun" and won many awards in Japan.
If you're not familiar with samurai films, you will be amazed by Mifune's speed and skill. One of the scenes in "Sanjuro" involves Mifune locking himself in a room and killing more than a dozen soldiers (a similar scene came from Yojimbo). In total, nearly 30 people are dispatched in the film. Mifune's style is the classic Japanese "tateyaku" - the heroic loner. He reprises this role in "Red Sun."
Alain Delon is well known in France where he was nominated 3 times for the Cesar, winning once ("Notre historie") in 1984. Only occasionally has he appeared in US films ("The Assassination of Trotsky" in 1971, "Lost Command" in 1966). He is a favorite of director Luchino Visconti ("The Leopard").
Ursula Andress is best known as one of the Bond girls (Honey Ryder in "Dr. No" and Vesper Lynd in "Casino Royale"), but she's made dozens of other films and was voted the World's Favorite Female Actress at the Golden Globe in 1966.
Capucine was a French actress who appeared in nearly 40 films, and is most famous for her comedy in films such as "The Pink Panther" (1963), "What's New Pussycat" (1965), and "The Honey Pot" (1967). She was nominated for an Oscar in 1960 for "Song Without End"
Terrence Young is best remembered as a director of the best James Bond films ("Dr. No", "From Russia with Love", "Thunderball") among the 30+ films he made. He also directed "Wait Until Dark" that earned Golden Globe nominations for Audrey Hepburn and Efrem Zimbalist Jr., and he worked with Bronson again in "The Valachi Papers" (1972).
William Roberts is one of the screen writers. He worked on "The Magnificent Seven" (1960) with Charles Bronson, as well as other Westerns ("Posse", "The Legend of the Lone Ranger") as well as action films (e.g., "The Bridge at Remagen", "The Devil's Brigade").
This is the most famous of the sushi western films. Less famous (deservedly so) examples are "The Stranger and the Gunfighter" (1974) with Lee Van Cleff, "Return of Shanghai Joe" (1975) with Klaus Kinski, "Walk Like a Dragon" (1960) with Jack Lord, and the comedy "Shanghai Noon" with Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson. The best example of the sushi westerns was the TV series "Kung Fu" (1972-5) starring David Carradine.
While the film is OK and the scenes with Mifune are great, the film comes nowhere near its potential considering the director and the cast. Delon doesn't look nor act the part of a gunslinger, and the host of Europeans playing westerners looks silly. I have the same problem with Leone's westerns as well.
The film will appeal to fans of Bronson and to fans of Mifune. This mixing of western and samurai film may also appeal to fans to "Kung Fu".
I always think of this movie when I am watching "The Maltese Falcon" (1941); the conversation between Sam Spade and Kasper Gutman where Sam insists that he can not be influence by the threat of death. If they killed him then they would not get the bird. Kasper says it takes a fine balance and not to push too hard, as there is no telling what a man may do in the heat of the moment and forget where his interests lie.
Well this film has a lot of heated moments and a lot of funny moments when the different cultures clash. This is definitely worth viewing.
My DVD had NO option of turning them off.
So I could get English Audio with Simplified Chinese, Chinese, or English subtitles. You can only have subtitles