- Gallery of original theatrical stills
Zatoichi the Blind Swordsman, Vol. 1 - The Tale of Zatoichi
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Zatoichi, the wandering masseur and master swordsman, is a mercenary hero with a difference: he's blind, and no less deadly for it. In his debut, Ichi shuffles into a gangster-run town like a wry con man, fleecing the dim-bulb gambling thugs and sponging off a local mob boss who wants the deadly Ichi on his side in an impending gang war. Released the same year Akira Kurosawa unleashed Yojimbo, stocky Shintaro Katsu's modest and soft-spoken Ichi couldn't be more different from the dynamic Toshiro Mifune's swaggering and arrogant Yojimbo. Director Kenji Misume can't match Kurosawa's searing cynicism or dynamic action, but when Ichi finally lets loose after avoiding conflict for the entire film, his spare, sudden attack makes a startling contrast to the usual flashing swords and furious movements. Zatoichi returned in 25 sequels and a long-running TV series, always played by Shintaro Katsu.
The newly restored DVD features a small stills gallery, a fold-out insert with an essay by Tatsu Aoki (a self described "Ichi Freak"), and four collector cards. --Sean Axmaker
From the Back Cover
This is the movie that introduced the legend of Zatoichi and its star Shintaro Katsu, ushering in a new era of the Japanese samurai film. Practicing his trade as a masseur in a small province, Satoichi finds himself caught in a turf war between rival yakuza gangs. Aware of Zatoichi's reputation as an undefeatable swordsman, yakuza leader Sukejoro tries to hire him-unsuccessfully-as a mercenary. But it's too late. The other gang leader, Shigezo, hires a warrior with an equally fierce reputation to challenge Zatoichi. Thus the legend of Zatoichi begins with intensely choreographed battle scenes and an expertly crafted story.
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Top customer reviews
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There is a story here. The basic plot of two rivel yakuza gangs fighting over the same turf. Common enough story. But that's just it - the movie stays on the story. Little or no sword fighting happens till the end of the film. Most of the scenes, most of the energy, focus on the characters and their interaction. The details that made a fair movie great overflow from the screen. Zatoichi is not a Hero or a Samurai, just a blind masseur trying to make a buck and stay out of trouble.
I would suggest it to any fan of Samurai films or even a beginner who wants to see an uncommon Samurai flick.
96 minutes and in the original widescreen.
Most recent customer reviews
Rating = ***
Director: Kenji Misumi
Producer: Ikuo...Read more