The Tale of Zatoichi

"Very Good"

The Tale of Zatoichi Review


Spawning 26 sequels and 100 TV episodes, Shantaro Katsu's Zatoichi is a legendary hero of Japanese entertainment. Which makes it kind of wierd, I think, that I've never heard of him before now.

In this, his first feature film appearance, now appearing on DVD, Zatoichi shows the same kind of gumption that makes Clint Eastwood's characters such unlikely heroes -- but heroes nonetheless. For starters, what audience will identify with him? He's a blind masseur who lives by the Yakuza mercenary code, wandering from village to village while vanquishing his tormentors with a sword he wields with deadly accuracy. Though blind (and, let's face it, ugly and nearly obese), he can still toss a candle into the air, draw his sword, and slice it in two... lengthwise, with both sides still burning.

There's something about Zatoichi that makes him endearing to the common man, the Japanese laborer, maybe, who feels that even though he's put-upon at work, he might be able to slice a candle in two.

The story in his debut film is really a miss, however -- Zatoichi finds himself stuck between warring Yakuza factions, saddled with a middling love story and an obvious conclusion. But maybe that's what the Japanese audiences were looking for: No surprises.

Aka Zatoichi Monogatari.



The Tale of Zatoichi

Facts and Figures

Run time: 95 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 18th April 1962

Distributed by: Criterion Collection

Production compaines: Daiei Motion Picture Company

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 7

IMDB: 7.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Keji Misumi

Starring: as Zatoichi, Masayo Banri as Tane, as Sasagawa yakuza boss, Hajime Mitamura as Hanji of Matsugishi, Shigeru Amachi as Hirate, Miki, as Yoshi / Hanji's wife, Ikuko Môri as Yutaka / Shigezô's wife, Michirô Minami as Tatekichi / Tane's brother / Saki's lover / Iioka yakuza member, as Sukegorô of Iioka / Iioka yakuza boss, Toshio Chiba as Masakichi / Iioka yakuza member, Manabu Morita as Seisuke / Tane's ex-lover / Iioka yakuza member, Yoichi Funaki as Yogorô / Sasagawa yakuza member, Kinya Ichikawa as Mokichi / Sasagawa yakuza member, Eigoro Onoe as Rihei / Sasagawa yakuza member, Yoshito Yamaji as Yahei / Father of Tane and Tatekichi, Yukio Horikita as Kanaji / Sasagawa yakuza member, Ryuuji Fukui as Daihachi / Iioka yakuza member, Masayoshi Kikuno as A coolie, Hajime Koshikawa as A farmer, Akira Shiga as A dice-roller, Masashi Hamada as Iioka yakuza member, Hiroyoshi Nishioka as Iioka yakuza member, Gen Kimura as Sasagawa gambler spy, Taizô Sengoku as Ishichi / Sasagawa yakuza member, Noboru Taniguchi as Tomozô / Sasagawa yakuza member, Shingo Hosotani as Iioka yakuza member, Katsuyoshi Baba as Iioka yakuza member, Yô Yuuki as Iioka yakuza member, Keiko Awanami as Saki / Tatekichi's lover, Kanae Kobayashi as Kane the Sasagawa innkeeper, Jun Katsumura as Iioka yakuza

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

The Big Sick Movie Review

The Big Sick Movie Review

It may be rather long for a romantic comedy, but this film has such a...

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

There's no reason why this animated comedy adventure needed to be this pointless. Solidly entertaining...

Advertisement
England Is Mine Movie Review

England Is Mine Movie Review

While this is billed as a film about The Smiths' singer-songwriter Morrissey, it's actually an...

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

It's been 20 years since French filmmaker Luc Besson shook up the sci-fi genre with...

Dunkirk Movie Review

Dunkirk Movie Review

Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one...

Killing Ground Movie Review

Killing Ground Movie Review

From Australia, this dark and edgy thriller is skilfully made by writer-director Damien Power to...

City of Ghosts Movie Review

City of Ghosts Movie Review

This award-winning documentary plays like a thriller as it traces the work of a group...

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.