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A Fistful of Yojimbo: Appropriation and Dialogue in Japanese Cinema

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Abstract

There are many ways to read the relationship between a film and its remake: in terms of fidelity, imitation, plagiarism, appropriation, or other enactments of power. For the most part, such models rely on a binary system to analyse the relationship between two films in isolation from their surroundings. In this chapter I wish to examine such a relationship in terms of a wider model of understanding, based on possibilities of dialogue with a wider film genre. The case study will be the relationship between Akira Kurosawa’s film Yojimbo (Y¯ojimb¯o 1961) and Sergio Leone’s remake, A Fistful of Dollars (Per un Pugno di Dollari 1964).1 The two films themselves are very well known. Akira Kurosawa (1910–1998) made Yojimbo because he had always wanted to make a movie in the Western genre after the style of John Ford, whose movies he had seen as a child. Sergio Leone (1929–1989) was electrified by Yojimbo and made his own version starring Clint Eastwood, a relative unknown. Both films broke box-office records, inspired sequels and made huge stars of their main actors, Toshir¯o Mifune and Eastwood.

Keywords

  • Rival Gang
  • Original Film
  • Liminal Space
  • Border Town
  • Italian Film

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© 2007 Rachael Hutchinson

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Hutchinson, R. (2007). A Fistful of Yojimbo: Appropriation and Dialogue in Japanese Cinema. In: Cooke, P. (eds) World Cinema’s ‘Dialogues’ with Hollywood. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230223189_11

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