Retrospective 2016


Der Leibwächter
Kurosawa Akira
Japan 1961
111 min

A jobless and vagrant samurai comes into a nineteenth-century Japanese town where two lawless and vicious factions are battling for control. He goes to the local tavern, orders sake, gets briefed on the local situation, and offers his sword for hire. He will work as a bodyguard (yôjimbô) for the side that makes the better bid. (Bosley Crowther)

“The story is so ideally interesting that it’s surprising no one else ever thought of it. The idea about rivalry on both sides, and both sides are equally bad. We all know what this is like. Here we are, weakly caught in the middle, and it is impossible to choose between evils. It was truly an enormous popular hit. Everyone at the company said it was because of the sword-fighting. But that is not so – the reason was the character of the hero and what he does. He is a real hero, he has a real reason for fighting. He doesn’t just stand by and wave his sword around.” (Kurosawa Akira, interviewed by Donald Richie)

  • Mifune Toshiro - Kuwabatake Sanjuro
  • Tono Eijiro - Gonji
  • Fujiwara Kamatari - Tazaemon
  • Takashi Shimura - Tokuemon
  • Kawazu Seizaburô - Seibei
  • Kikushima Ryuzo
  • Kurosawa Akira
  • Miyagawa Kazuo
  • Ishii Choshiro
  • Mikami Choshichiro
  • Shimonaga Hisashi
  • Kaneko Reiko
  • Sato Masaru
  • Muraki Yoshiro
  • Kato Masahiro
  • Muraki Yoshiro
Kurosawa Productions, Toho Co. Ltd.
35 mm
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