Sunday, November 30, 2014

Pat's Picks: Samurai on hulu

Here are some fabulous samurai films I was surprised to find on hulu plus (most, if not all, are reviewed in my books):

Shinsengumi Chronicles
Excellent, warts-and-all portrayal of the notorious pro-shogunate ronin militia and their bloody hijinks during the Bakumatsu period.

Samurai Saga
Toshiro Mifune doing Cyrano. A classic.

The Secret of the Urn
Great Gosha treatment of crazy one-eyed, one-armed ronin Tange Sazen (wonderfully portrayed by Kinnosuke Nakamura).

Samurai Vendetta
Shintaro Katsu and Raizo Ichikawa’s first on-screen teaming. (During filming, the studio sent a car for Raizo; Katsu had to take the bus … )

Hunter in the Dark
My favorite 70s era Gosha, a decade in which he made a number of awesome yakuza epics. This is the best of the bunch.

Bandits vs. Samurai Squadron
Another one, not the best (a couple of flaws, which I mention in Warring Clans) but still pretty awesome. Keep the book handy — this one may require some help keeping up!

Under the Blossoming Cherry Trees
Tomisaburo Wakayama chops off heads for his lady love in this shocker from Japanese new wave enfant terrible Masahiro Shinoda.

3 comments:

JV Fuentes said...

This is great! Going to join tonight! The lack of Chanbara on Netflix is a real bummer. Also, just ordered Sleepy Eyes of Death, vol 3 as a self gift. Can't wait!

Patrick Galloway said...

Glad to hear you're getting SEOD #3 -- great boxes all.

As for hulu, here are some more must-see Japanese titles:

Black Lizard (1962): This is the original film interpretation of the renowned Edogawa Rampo crime novel, predating Fukasaku's more famous drag act version.

Fighting Elegy (1966): Hideki Takahashi is the angry young street fighting man (years before he became Kenji Misumi's Last Samurai ... ).

Black River (1957): Tatsuya Nakadai's screen debut in a dark Kobayashi flick (is there another kind?).

The Third Shadow Warrior (1963): The original Kagemusha starring a young Raizo Ichikawa. One of many rare Daiei gems thought lost forever.

Crazed Fruit (1956): For my money,the best of the juvenile delinquent "sun tribe" films. Young cast is electrifying, especially husband & wife team Yujiro Ishihara and Mie Kitahara.

Pale Flower (1964): Film noir, Japanese New Wave style, courtesy of one of the movement's best, Masahiro Shinoda.

Early Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer, End of Summer, Late Fall: Whatever the season, Ozu never goes out of fashion!

JV Fuentes said...

Awesome! Thanks for the suggestions! Especially looking forward to Black River, TN and MK are golden!