A Synthesis of Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo and Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars





A Synthesis of Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo and Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars

Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo and Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars retain apparent themes that are particularly similar. In fact, acknowledging the basic points of both films’ concurrence is imperative. Accordingly, the respective motion pictures depict the narrative of an unattached combatant roving into a settlement torn by violence and corruption. The antihero eventually becomes aware of the factors that cause the repressive situation evidenced by this specific setting. Apparently, the relentless competition between two criminally influenced merchant families has led to the division of the people’s loyalty between them. As an outcome of this, the families have influenced the occurrence of a ‘civil war’, which has posed negative ramifications on innocents as well as persons taking part in the scuffle. Offering his services at price, the warrior causes destruction for both families, rescues a peasant family, undergoes a savage beating from the dominant family, escapes, and destroys the last batch of criminals permanently. Indeed, Yojimbo’s most incidental elements are evident in A Fistful of Dollars. Hence, it would be possible to integrate details from both films into a single motion picture.

One aspect that would remain consistent in a collapsed version of Yojimbo and A Fistful of Dollars involves the familial power structure. Even though Kurosawa’s film callously tells apart between the henchmen and the patriarchs responsible for managing the business, Leone’s movie retains the generic familial power framework as seen in Yojimbo. Specifically, one family is run by a triad of brothers while the other family is headed by a dominating woman with a weak husband and a coward son. The latter family seems weak due to the submissive roles assumed by the male members. In this respect, the pistol acts as a source of power for the woman and her respective household. Eventually, the confrontation between the family’s pistol and the triad’s sword acts as a riveting and powerful representation of conflict between the patriarchal order as raw power and the deviant feminist as skill. In the end, the pistol, which is seen as the weaker one, dominates and affirms the benefits of honor and skill over unrefined power.

In Yojimbo, the merchants of silk act as gunrunners while the sake businesspersons constitute liquor smugglers. As the narrative progresses, the same dealer evolves into a cantina owner, the crier into a ringer, and the coffin maker retains his original position. The same kin places its power on the patriarch’s younger brother who owns the gun. The weapon provides him with an edge over the wrestlers and the swords people who comprise the town’s combatants. In Leone’s version, the ownership of the Winchester by Ramon Rojo establishes an edge over pistol wielders in the town. The collision between the pistol and the sword in Yojimbo and the pistol and gun in A Fistful of Dollars is similar due to the outcome whereby the weapon deemed weaker dominates over other forms or measures of combat.

Another aspect that would be present in a collapsed version of Yojimbo and A Fistful of Dollars comprises dust. Dust asserts a significant role in both films. From the beginning to the end, the element may be seen as an imperative illustration due to the accentuation posed on the realities of the films’ wider contexts. Simply, the dust emphasizes geographic realism by becoming a representative of the harsh actualities of the peasant life. In both films, the protagonists subliminally act as saviors of the peasant families due to the oppression they face under the warring, domineering families. Even though their intentions are subjective at first, the betrayals that they suffer at the hands of the manipulative families influence them to fight for their dignity and freedom. In the end, the respective protagonists become similar to majority of the townspeople who are exploited by the dominating families. Therefore, the quest for vengeance evolves into an act of independence for them as well as the innocent families affected by the familial rivalry.

In Yojimbo, the younger brother who wields the pistol surfaces from a blur of dust. However, in A Fistful of Dollars, the scene is different. In this particular film, the dramatic impact materializes prior to the climax. As such, the Man with No Name enters from the blur that has taken place. In this respect, the cloud does not occur as an outcome of natural causes as seen in Yojimbo. Instead, the Man with No Name introduces himself via smoke created by a series of random explosions engineered by the antihero. Even though this part is significant, the natural smoke evidenced in Kurosawa’s version would be a more beneficial substitution in Leone’s film. The use of real dust in A Fistful of Dollars would place emphasis on the presence of the Man with No Name as the man responsible for delivering the town from a state of obscurity.

In conclusion, the films, Yojimbo, and A Fistful of Dollars, retain similar aspects that particularly align with each other. As such, it is possible to integrate certain parts in the latter film due to its likeness to Kurosawa’s version. Foremost, the power structure of the ruling families can be retained in Kurosawa’s film. The same aspect, which is evident in Leone’s version, would also be retained in the blended film. Both elements are important since they establish the narrative for the whole film. Lastly, the use of natural dust would be incorporated in both versions due to the geographic realism supplanted to the film.

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