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The Samurai Trilogy (Criterion) (1954-1956)

Cast: Koji Tsuruta, Kaoru Yachigusa, Rentaro Mikuni, more...
Director: Hiroshi Inagaki, Toshiro Mifune
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Criterion
Genre: Action, Drama, Foreign, Romance, Japan, Adventure, Samurai, Sword & Sandal, Criterion Collection
Languages: Japanese
Subtitles: English

Synopses
The Samurai Trilogy (Criterion) (Disc 1 of 3): Musashi Miyamoto (1954)

The Samurai Trilogy, directed by Hiroshi Inagaki and starring the inimitable Toshiro Mifune, was one of Japan's most successful exports of the 1950s, a rousing, emotionally gripping tale of combat and self-discovery. Based on a novel thats often called Japan's Gone with the Wind, this sweeping saga fictionalizes the life of the legendary seventeenth-century swordsman (and writer and artist) Musashi Miyamoto, following him on his path from unruly youth to enlightened warrior. With these three films--1954s Oscar-winning Musashi Miyamoto, 1955s Duel at Ichijoji Temple, and 1956s Duel at Ganryu IslandInagaki created a passionate epic thats equal parts tender love story and bloody action.

The Samurai Trilogy (Criterion) (Disc 2 of 3): Duel at Ichijoji Temple (1955)

Toshiro Mifune furiously embodies swordsman Musashi Miyamoto as he comes into his own in the action-packed middle section of the Samurai Trilogy. Duel at Ichijoji Temple furthers Miyamoto along his path to spiritual enlightenment, as well as further from the arms of the two women who love him: loyal Otsu (Kaoru Yachigusa) and conniving yet tragic Akemi (Mariko Okada). The film also brings him face to face with hoards of rivals intent on cutting him down, especially his legendary rival Kojiro (Koji Tsuruta). The titular climax is one of Japanese cinemas most rousingly choreographed conflicts, intensified by Jun Yasumotos color cinematography and Ikuma Dans triumphant score.

The Samurai Trilogy (Criterion) (Disc 3 of 3): Duel at Ganryu Island (1956)

A disillusioned Musashi Miyamoto (Toshiro Mifune) has turned his back on the samurai life, becoming a farmer in a remote village, while his nemesis Kojiro (Koji Tsuruta) now works for the shogun. Circumstances bring them back together for one final face-off. Though its marked by a memorably intense final battle sequence, the rousing conclusion to the Samurai Trilogy is engaged with matters of the heart as well, as Miyamoto must ask himself what it is that makes a warrior and a man.


GreenCine Member Ratings

The Samurai Trilogy (Criterion) (Disc 1 of 3): Musashi Miyamoto (1954)
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