Yojimbo & Fistful of Dollars

I posted to my personal blog on Tuesday by accident!

Yojimbo and A Fistful of Dollars were more alike than they first appeared, being that the first wass about a samurai and the second was about a cowboy. Although they took place in two different parts of the world, they both featured a town with open space in the middle of the buildings that held fights. In these fights the weapons may have differed, but the fighting styles were the same. Also, similar props and effects were used to symbolize imminent danger.

First of all, the town setting of both movies were the centralized places of fighting. Both movies involved the hero, Two-Bit or the cowboy, fighting against a group of tough looking guys set to kill him. When it came down to the final battle, the hero epically stood on one side of the open space, while the bad guys lined up opposite of him until a battle commenced. The similarities between the fight scenes of both movies show the style of the genre. 

Another thing I noticed about the setting was the wind and smoke. They seemed to make an appearance every time trouble was about to happen. The wind blew around leaves, dust, and specifically in A Fistful of Dollars, the classic Western tumbleweed as if to say trouble was stirred up. For example, wind surrounded the bad guys in Yojimbo when they plotted to kill Two-Bits, and wind definitely added to the dramatization of the final fight scenes. Smoke also played a role in symbolizing the destruction of wealth and safety, as shown in Yojimbo when the silk factory was burned down and Seibei’s house was destroyed.

Overall, both heroes won their battles, while the bad guys ended up dead. A quote from Two-Bit stood out to me as he watched his enemy die: “Let him die as recklessly as he lived.” This statement fits the death of the main antagonist in both movies, since they both suffer from their reckless decisions.

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One thought on “Yojimbo & Fistful of Dollars

  1. The wind and the smoke and the tumbleweed is a characteristic of the western genre. But many elements of the western genre showed up in 1961 from Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo. It can almost be said that Akira Kurosawa is the father of the modern western. All the qualities surrounding Yojimbo stood out as western/film noir. The drama and the shadows play up the “film noir-iness” of the film, the lighting is beautiful which only adds value to the overall mise-en-scene and allows Sanjuro’s emotions to be more heavily dramatized. Also I agree with your commentary on the quote you mentioned, because the antagonists downfalls were because of their recklessness and disregard for the human condition. But if you are looking for a movie that sympathizes with the human condition neither one will do you any good because Yojimbo and A Fistful of Dollars are both the epitome of gritty, kick ass action!

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