With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

ACF 498: Zatoichi On The Road at Japan Society NY on March 20th at 5:00 PM

Zatoichi On The Road: Fighting Journey / Zatoichi kenka-tabi
Directed by Kimiyoshi Yasuda
Starring Shintaro Katsu, Reiko Fujiwara, and Shiho Fujimura
Japan, 1963, color, 87 min.

Japan Society's Double-Edged Sword series of chambara films starring Shintaro Katsu and Raizo Ichikawa continues this Saturday afternoon, March 20th, 2010 at 5:00 with this, the fifth, entry in the Zatoichi series.

Also known as Zatoichi and the Scoundrels, this film has the blind masseur fulfilling his promise to a dying man that he will get the young and lovely O-Mitsu back to her family. Unfortunately, her father is wealthy, and rival groups seek to take her from Zatoichi in the expectation of being amply regarded for returning her.

I've now watched a fair number of films in the series. For me this one is among the best. Every film pretty much has the same components: Zatoichi goes somewhere, encounters at least one lovely female, has a run-in with at least one gang, and kills a lot of bad guys. What enabled the series to be so successful, and to still be so wonderful to watch years later, are the variations in the stories and their execution. Zatoichi On The Road does a superb job of getting all the ingredients right; it's a must see.

Zatoichi On The Road, and all other screenings in the Double Edged Sword series, will be at Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street (between 1st and 2nd Avenues), New York, NY 10017.

For the Japan Society webpage on Zatoichi On The Road, which includes a link to buy tickets online, click here.

Those of you not in New York, or who just can't make it to the screening, are not out of luck. Zatoichi On The Road, like other titles in the series, is available on DVD from Home Vision Entertainment. I do seem to recall reading, however, that HVE's rights to the first six titles in the series have expired, or soon will. So if you want to add the title to your collection, you might want to do so right away.

And here's a heads-up on another film in the Double Edged Sword series:

Scar Yosaburo
, starring Raizo Ichikawa, also will be shown on Saturday, at 7:00 PM. Note that this is not a double-feature. There are separate admission charges for each film. I'll have some info about Scar Yosaburo in tomorrow's post.

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