The mise-en-scène of both Yojimbo and A Fist Full of Dollars was quite elaborate. Although both films differ in one being colored and the other one not, the costumes and set designs lay out the tone of both films while props and character makeup, fine tune how the film is presented.
Although I wasn’t fond of Yojimbo, this was my first Japanese film experience so maybe I’m not use to how plots and stories are played out in this culture? However, some of the dominant factors illustrated in this movie are the various set designs. Because the movie is in black and white, emphasis of how the rundown town is presented to the audience is needed. This is done through long shots of the towns main road with stronger-than-normal winds that lift up the dust and old debris on the road. This portrays the hopeless place this society lives in. Furthermore, two opposing “gangs” exist and fight for territory and supremacy. All the while, nothing can be done by the inhabitants of the town but stand and watch due to lack of power, money, and above all respect from those associate with each side.
Further visual artful ways Kurosawa use to surpass black and white and make the films detail appreciated was the use of elaborate costume designed along with make up (eye shadow, eyebrows, hair, etc). When Sanjuro is introduced to one of the gangs, one can notice all these details: tattoos, scars, and character personalities, are just some ways the audience gets a feel for the setting of the movie and the mood of the town as a whole.
On the contrary, A Fist Full of Dollars still pays the same attention to detail except here we notice how color helps the audience get in touch with the town. The faded colors of buildings and character clothes, the time of day by different shades of sunlight that cast upon the town, and the difference between clothing material between those of wealth compared to the poor. Another technique used in this film, which is common in many old western movies (also used by Kurosawa) was close up shots of the characters faces. This builds up suspense and allows for the make up or certain attributes of each character to be emphasized.
Above all, both movies paid great attention to detail and are fun to analyzed based on the knowledge applied. But if I had to pick, I would choose A Fist Full of Dollars with Clint Eastwood along with his great flow (hair).