I found there to be an uncanny amount of similarities between Yojimbo and A Fistful of Dollars. I really didn’t expect to see so much resemblance between a Japanese film and a western film. Although they were filmed in the same time period, the location and assumed cultural differences between the movies led me to believe they would be completely different. Having similar plots is one thing, but there were so many details that matched up very well.
Some examples of similar mise-en-scene included setting, characters, lighting, and music. In Yojimbo, there was a coffin maker who was “the only one making money” in the town (which in itself was just depressing and somehow ironic). There was also a crazy man running around banging on a prayer drum in a somewhat annoying and very repetitive fashion when everyone was lying dead on the ground. A Fistful of Dollars had a lot of these similar elements, from the snippets that we saw in class. There was a coffin maker and a crazy guy ringing a bell when everyone lying dead and the sounds he created were also very impactful and repetitive.
The settings were also surprisingly similar: they both were rundown and seemingly abandoned towns with one dirt road going down the middle. As soon as I saw the western scene I immediately began to notice similarities. The plots of the two films were obviously very much the same overall and ended almost exactly the same way: the skilled shooter/warrior came in and had to pick a side to help fight to win power of the town, betrayed someone along the way, and ended up winning with cunning moves and skills.
Even though there are plenty of films out there with similar plots, I found it very intriguing that the little ghost towns were lit the same way at night, had the same quirks, and extremely similar stories going on. I guess that shows that even if it’s in western America or Japan, mise-en-scene can still be very much the same.