The Tale of Zatoichi

1962 [JAPANESE]

Action / Adventure / Drama

6
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 100%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 87%
IMDb Rating 7.6 10 5005

Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
February 25, 2021 at 04:19 PM

Director

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720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
884.64 MB
1280*534
Japanese 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 36 min
P/S 1 / 1
1.6 GB
1920*800
Japanese 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 36 min
P/S 2 / 11

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Witchfinder-General-666 10 / 10

A Blind Samurai Star is Born

"Zatôichi Monogatari" aka. "The Tale of Zatoichi" (1962) is the fantastic start to the longest and most famous series of Samurai films, the wonderful "Zatôichi" series about the eponymous blind swordsman, gambler and masseur impersonated by the great Shintarô Katsu. Katsu is one of my personal favorite actors, and I am equally an admirer of the brilliant director he often worked with, the great Kenji Misumi. This first film in the series, as well as several more to come, was directed by Misumi, in my opinion one of the greatest Japanese directors of all-time. My personal favorite films by Misumi will always be the brilliant "Kozure Okami" (aka. "Lone Wolf And Cub") films (1972-1974) starring Shintaro Katsu's equally great brother Tomisaburo Wakayama (four out of the six films were directed by Misumi). The outrageous Samurai-Exploitation classic "Hanzo The Razor - Sword Of Justice" (OT: "Goyôkiba") starring Katsu himself also has a special place in my heart. It was the "Zatôichi" films, however, that made Misumi a known director and brought Katsu to stardom, and the series has long obtained an enormous cult-status. In total, Katsu played the role of Zatoichi in 26 films as well as in a 100-episode TV-series that ran between 1974 and 1979. Misumi directed six of the films, as well as many episodes of the series.

The reasons why the Zatôichi franchise enjoys such an enormous cult-status are numerous, but I will stick to the most important ones. The eponymous hero, Zatôichi must be the most likable character ever in cinema to work as a hired sword. Zatôichi, a blind masseur, has obtained his sword skills because he was tired of being looked down upon by others, as usual for blind people in Feudal Japan. Due to his excellent sword-skills, he makes a good living as a hired swordsman. His senses of smell and hearing are as excellent as his swordsmanship, which makes him one of the most powerful swordsmen. Even so, Zatôichi is a kind, gentle and humorous man by nature, who will rather solve problems otherwise than having to kill someone. Shintaro Katsu is brilliant in the role of his life, and I cannot imagine for anyone else to fit the role like Katsu did. Cult-filmmaker Takeshi Kitano (of whom I am a great fan) took a new turn on the role in 2003 - Katsu had passed away in 1997 - and did so greatly. Yet, to me, the only true Zatoichi will always be Shintaro Katsu. This first film in the series is one of only two that were filmed in black and white, and it already epitomizes what makes the brilliance of the series. "Zatôichi Monogatari" mixes Smurai Action with Comedy, Drama and philosophical elements. The film begins with the crafty Zatôichi, who tricks a bunch of fellow gamblers into underestimating him... The film marks the beginning to a great and highly successful series that may not be missed by any lover of Japanese cinema. I had seen several other "Zatôichi" films with Katsu, as well as the 2003 film with (and by) Kitano before seeing this one. The action is great in this first film, but it is the plot that outweighs the fighting by far. Overall, "Zatôichi Monogatari" is a fantastic piece of cult-cinema and everybody even remotely interested in Japanese films must see it.

Reviewed by eam4375 10 / 10

Action Adventure before it was cool!

I normally wouldn't dare rate a movie a 10. However for the first Zatoichi film (and maybe the second) I make an exception. An incredible tale of a flawed man at peace with the fact that he is a gangster. Zatoichi is forced into situation after situation where honor and compassion make us side with this blind man, not because of his handicap, but because he is doing the right thing. Filmed in black and white the action is superbly choreographed to convey the intensity of each situation without one bright red spray of blood across the screen. If you only watch one Samurai movie, make it this one. If you love it, then the first 25 of these masterpieces are coming to Blu Ray courtesy of Criterion this November.

Reviewed by dustinkdye 8 / 10

A charming samurai classic

"The Tale of Zatoichi" was a cultural phenomenon in Japan in the 1960s, spawning 25 sequels, a 112-episode TV series and a remake.

Set toward the end of the feudal Edo period (1603-1868), the film stars Shintaro Katsu as Zatoichi, an itinerant blind masseur/swordsman. He stops in the town of Iioka one day to stay with a yakuza boss, Sukegoro, who he had met on an earlier journey.

Zatoichi is humble, but has a quiet intensity. Even though he is blind, he perceives more in the situations around him than the other participants with normal eyesight. In an early scene, Sukegoro's gangsters try to take advantage of Zatoichi in a game of dice, but he uses their underestimation of him to his advantage, and hustles the gamblers out of all their money.

Zatoichi insists his impressive skills with the katana are nothing more than parlor tricks, but Boss Sukegoro hires him to stay on, as he has plans to go to war with a rival gang in nearby Sasagawa. Sasagawa boss Shigezo hires a ronin samurai, Hirate, to counterbalance Sukegoro's Zatoichi.

Zatoichi and Hirate develop a sort of friendship, but their affection toward each other has less to do with their love of fishing or drinking than on their common code of honor. Even though they know they will be expected to fight to the death in the war between Iioka and Sasagawa, this doesn't stand between their personal friendship.

So it follows that the most interesting conflict in the movie is not the yakuza warfare between the Iioka and Sasagawa gangs, but the conflict between Zatoichi and Hirate. Hirate is dying of consumption, and seems to prefer death by Zatoichi's sword rather than let his illness or an unworthy gangster take his life.

"The Tale of Zatoichi" is both fun and stylish. But rather than being a by-the-numbers action flick, the filmmakers took the time to develop characters the audience can actually care about, which elevates Zatoichi above other films of this genre.

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