Category Archives: 1954

Seven Samurai (1954)


Find hungry samurai.

— Gisaku

The next person in the LAMB director’s chair for this month is the Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. Known for his samurai epics, most of his filmography was in the Criterion Collection as was his best known epic, Seven Samurai. It is currently ranked #14 of the Top 250 of All Time on IMDb. It was nominated two Academy Awards in 1954.

Not being familiar with Kurosawa’s work, I wanted to see the grandaddy of them all. Watching the movie, it was good film, but you really have to invest your body and soul to it.

Taking place in 16th century Japan, the movie is about a group of villagers that are besieged by a team of bandits that want to pillage their rice and wheat. Being that it was not harvest time, the bandits to come back when the rice is ripe to take it.

Scared for their safety, a couple of villagers Rikichi (Yoshio Tsuchiya), Yohei (Bokuzen Hidari) and an samurai apprentice, Katsushiro Okamoto (Isao Kimura) set out on a journey to find a samurai suggested by the village elder, Gisaku (Kokuten Kodo) to help them protect their village when the bandits come back.

On the journey, they meet an older but wiser samurai, Kambei Shimada (Takashi Shimura) that has the job to recruit six other samurai to protect the village. He recruits Gorobei Katayama (Yoshio Inaba), Kyuzo (Seiji Miyaguchi),  Heihachi Hayashida (Minoru Chiaki), Shichiroji (Daisuke Katô) and Kikuchiyo (Toshirô Mifune).

During the course of the movie, the seven samurais train the villagers to defend themselves against the rebels that will eventually come.

The performances were very good, especially Toshirô Mifune as Kikuchiyo. He is crazy and dirty. Loved him so much. When the movie got boring in parts, he makes you want to watch more. What is he going to do next?

The score by Fumio Hayasaka was so good. There was so much tension in his simplistic sounds.

This is a very simple story. Does it need to be dragged out for three and half hours? I was happy for the intermission in the middle, but when the final credits rolled. I was physically exhausted.

Judgment: A well made film that needs your undivided attention to fully enjoy it.

Rating: ****1/2

Rear Window (1954)

I really hate overrated films that get a whole lots of attention that they don’t deserve it. After seeing Burn After Reading, I wanted to see a GOOD movie. I went back to 1954 for a great movie that I haven’t seen, but I know the premise.

There was a big fuss over Disturbia ripping off the premise of Rear Window. I have to say that I think that Shia LaBeouf vehicle did borrow some elements from Alfred Hitchcock classic film. It not a complete ripoff.

This film was #16 on the top 250 on imdb. I love this movie. It was nominated for 4 Oscars. I think that Alfred Hitchcock was vastly overlooked as a director/filmmaker.

Grace Kelly epitomized her name. The first of her in the movie was film magic. She was luminous as Lisa Carol Fremont. I was gripped with her possible imminent danger. Was she in peril by the Mr. Thorwald?

My favorite character is the film was Stella, played by Thelma Ritter. She was very frank and blunt with her dialogue. I enjoyed every time that she was onscreen.

The movie was very cheeky. There was a glimpse of a woman topless for an instant. She was facing away from the camera, of course, but was on celluloid. There was almost a suicide in it. I just wanted to point that out.

I have one gripe about this movie, Jimmy Stewart’s voice. I don’t know what it is. It sounded like he came back from the dentist.

My rating: ****1/2 stars.

%d bloggers like this: