Miyamoto Musashi Miyamoto Musashi

In 1973, Shochiku Studios released Tai Kato's updated two-part version of Miyamoto Musashi, this time with Hideki Takahashi in the title role. In Part I we see the young would-be swordsman setting out to achieve greatness in war, achieving nothing because fighting on the losing side, & then beginning his long period of wandering & training, with the goal always in mind of his duel with Kojiro. Part II builds toward that great duel on Ganryu Island, with considerable focus on Musashi's planning & forethought as to how to gain an advantage. Rather than the Zen questor of Inagaki & Uchida's versions, we come to realize by watching Kato's film that this Musashi is a calculating, cold- blood trickster, scientific in his approach. This is close to the truth of Musashi's historical self, for he was an opportunist first & sentimentalist last.

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A compendium of noteworthy films released in this most glorious year, in no particular order.