As part of JAPANORAMA I am inviting fellow movie sites to join in. This one is a double-whammy from Michael over at It Rains… You Get Wet. who has sent over a paragraph review of Samurai / Ronin movie Goyokin (below), and posted a simultaneous look at its oddly intriguing American remake, The Master Gunfighter (1975), on his site: here. You can follow Michael on twitter @le0pard13
Goyokin (御用金 Goyōkin, also called Official Gold or Steel Edge of Revenge) (1969), directed by Hideo Gosha, starts so unexpectedly for what ‘chambara‘ (sword-fighting) genre fans would expect, viewers must think they’re in another movie. Imagine Alfred Hitchcock transporting the whole of Bodega Bay across the Pacific, planting them down onto another seashore town, only to have them discover their old friend, genus Corvus, waiting to finish them off…in Japanese. Make no mistake; this is a samurai flick, one of the best, in fact. The brilliant tyrant filmmaker, Gosha, co-wrote the tale of a samurai wrought by guilt over his unwitting part in a massacre of a small village three years earlier. Now ronin, displaying his skills to earn money, he learns, after an attempt on his life, of a scheme by his old clan to repeat the same crime for more gold (the Goyokin in the title). Determined to stop them, he endures great hardships in an attempt to atone for his earlier mistakes and prevent further bloodshed. While the character Magobei (the great Tatsuya Nakadai) excels at making amends, he only contributes to the latter. In essence, mowing down a boatload of mercenaries, clansmen to stop a wholesale slaughter. Hmm… Clearly, redress only worked one way with the guy expert at chopping fish and those who get in the way with a katana.