by HELEN GEIB
This month on Photo Play: after Kurosawa comes homage… three years after Yojimbo, a rival man with no name
Last Week: The Magnificent Seven (1960)
Coming Next: Star Wars (1977)
I gotta get me a poncho.
You know… I still haven’t watched this film. And it’s mainly because of two reasons: 1) I love and respect Yojimbo too darn much. I know that Leone loved Yojimbo and wanted to remake it but that’s no excuse… and 2) it’s, apparently just a pretty good film, overall. It, apparently doesn’t even come close to For a Few Dollars More (a great film) or The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (another great film). And he’s never made a Western better than Once Upon a Time in the West. :O)
But I do like he symmetry in the photo play posted above. :O)
@Dave: Mr. Eastwood still has THE poncho hanging in his closet, but a quick Google search turned up several companies that would be happy to sell you a replica. :D
@Nir: “A Fistful of Dollars” is a pretty good movie but it’s not a patch on “Yojimbo” or “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” It’s worth seeing though even if only to watch the development of the Man with No Name character/persona.
I don’t have an issue with Leone re-making “Yojimbo” per se; as with “Seven Samurai” the story translates well to the Western genre, and “Yojimbo” is itself based on the Hammett crime novel “Red Harvest”. However, it is to his discredit that it was an unauthorized remake and Kurosawa had to sue for royalties.
@Helen, you know, I read “Red Harvest” sometime in the past year and I don’t see the connection to Yojimbo at all. I didn’t even know of their link until you’d posted that statement.
Plus, The Man With No Name, for me, doesn’t develop throughout the films but rather is a stand-alone character in each individual film. I never understood why it was a Man With No Name trilogy when the films are entirely unrelated. And I know that Eastwood wears that poncho and smokes those cigarillos in each film but his character is different in each film.
But I’ll probably watch it one day (begrudgingly – j/k).
And I’m half way through The Magnificent Seven; I like everything about it except for Horst Buchholz. His personification of Kikuchiyo is childish, annoying, and smug. I don’t like that at all. Plus, he’s too young for the role. I know that I shouldn’t compare the two films but it’s impossible, seeing that they’re identical.
Brynner (Kanbei!), McQueen, Wallach, Bronson, Coburn (Kyuzo!), Brad Dexter, and Robert Vaughn are awesome; it’s a dream cast. But I really dislike Buchholz; he’s just plain annoying.
I’ll finish watching the film in the next couple of days. :O)
Lastly, I’m not a huge Chandler fan, as he tends to drone on and on about details, but I love the stories of Hammet. He’s the man!
Well, it’s not an adaptation exactly, but novel/movie share the premise of the lone man coming into a gang-ridden town and cleverly setting the gangs against each other. The part where the yojimbo is taken prisoner, beaten, and escapes by hiding in the trunk is based directly on an episode in another Hammet novel, “The Glass Key”.
Re Buchholz’s character, it’s an amalgam of Kikuchiyo (backstory) and the not-yet-a-man samurai (personality, character arc), weighted toward the latter. Add the two “Seven Samurai” characters’ ages together and divide by two and you get a young man in his 20s, which fits Buchholz perfectly! I kid a little, but the character is more kid than Kikuchiyo.
Meant to add: I actually find Buchholz’s character quite endearing, in contrast to the kid samurai, who annoys me rather intensely and is the only thing I don’t like about “Seven Samurai”.
I liked Buchholz the first time that we see him and then the time that he’s angry and drunk. But after that he just felt like Kikuchiyo-lite. 0_<
Oh, and when I first saw Buchholz's character I thought that he'd be the young aristocrat samurai, but I was wrong. lol
And now that you mention it, I do remember the detective in "Red Harvest" setting everyone against each other. I remember blasting through that book because of Hammett's terrific prose and the "thriller" aspect and pacing of the story. And I was shocked to realize that 17 (or maybe 14) characters were murdered in one week in that story. It's an awesome novel.
getting back to that poncho – I’ve seen it live and in person (so to speak)! Several years ago the Gene Autry museum in LA had a really excellent special exhibit devoted to the western films of Sergio Leone. Many of the iconic props were on display and several recreated set fragments, eg the train station porch from OUATITW.
Sadly, I passed up the chance to purchase my own replica poncho in the gift shop. I don’t think The Man With No Name paid the kind of price they were asking either.
@Miriam: Funny you should mention that exhibit, an article about it was where I read that Eastwood still has the poncho (the exhibit had it on a personal loan). It stuck in my mind because it’s so fun that he should have kept it all these years.
I’ll admit it, I do also like that poncho. But outside of films it does look rather silly. lol
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