East / West remakes … a film tradition …

There’s Remakes … and then there’s this:

In Yurusarezaru mono – a Japanese remake/adaptation of Clint Eastwood‘s iconic Western, Unforgiven (1992) we discover a cinematic tradition of Remakes that goes back a ways … pardner.

Legendary Westerns film Director John Sturges‘* The Magnificent Seven (1960) is well known to have borrowed from Japanese Director/Film maker Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 Japanese film Seven Samurai.

seven samurai - poster
Seven Samurai / 1954 / Akira Kurosawa
akira kurosawa
Akira Kurosawa
The Magnificent Seven - 1960 - poster
The Magnificent Seven / 1960 / John Sturges
John Sturges - Director
John Sturges – Director


Seven Samurai / Akira Kurosawa
Seven Samurai / Akira Kurosawa
The Magnificent Seven - 1960
The Magnificent Seven – 1960

In fact, the ‘borrowing’ of themes and story lines between the Orient and the West is sometimes so inbred and intertwined that it’s hard to know who started what … and where???

In this outstanding article/research by Kristen Brennan we see just how deep the rabbit hole goes:

Excerpts: “Kurosawa Films” http://moongadget.com/origins/kurosawa.html

” … many elements from Kurosawa‘s work remain, including the two bickering peasants (who evolved into the droids – C3P0 and R2D2), elements of the Obi-Wan/Luke relationship and the queen who often switches places with her handmaiden. The Darth Vader-like evil general who has a change of heart at the end wears a kamon (commonly called simply a “mon”, a Japanese family crest) that looks very similar to the Imperial Crest.”

“Star Wars borrows a lot of great stuff from Yojimbo, (Akira Kurosawa film) including the cantina scene: several men threaten the hero, bragging how wanted they are by authorities. There’s a flash of blade and suddenly an arm lies on the ground. Mifune is offered “25 ryo now, 25 when you complete the mission.” (A ryo is a gold coin.) Jeremy Bulloch, the actor who played Boba Fett, said the character was based on Clint Eastwood’s version of The Man With No Name. You can hear a little cowboy-spur jingle when Fett enters the dining room in The Empire Strikes Back, soft and subtle enough that it’s probably meant to trigger our emotional association with the character without our conscious awareness.”


MFW: Speaking of Remakes: we’re still waiting for ANY news about Tom Cruise‘s “The Magnificent Seven” Remake. Not a peep has been heard in months. I’m guessing Cruise is waiting on the Writing – which has to be excellent – and trying to figure out the ALL IMPORTANT casting – which has to somehow match (if that’s possible) the cast from the original movie: Yul Brunner, Steve McqueenCharles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter, and Horst Buchholz – most of whom enjoyed superstar film careers. No word yet if Cruise is (wisely) attempting to get the rights to the original magnificent sound track theme music by Elmer Bernstein.

The rumor mills are churning and you can bet that there are many actors campaigning and begging Cruise for a part of the action.


Yurusarezaru Mono Poster 3
Yurusarezaru Mono Posters


*John Sturges Westerns:

Escape from Fort Bravo (1953) / Bad Day at Black Rock (1955) / Backlash (1956) / Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957) / Saddle the Wind (1958) / The Law and Jake Wade (1958) / Last Train from Gun Hill (1959) / Sergeants 3 (1962) / The Hallelujah Trail (1965) / Hour of the Gun (1967) / Joe Kidd (1972) / Chino (1973)

Unforgiven … Sushi Western ?

Unforgiven - Yurusarezaru Mono title

unforgiven japanese
Image borrowed from:

Unforgiven - Yurusarezaru Mono

This so-called remake of Clint Eastwood’s Oscar winning
Unforgiven (1992 Best Picture) is of special interest to me – having worked on the original film as a set painter.
And indeed looking at these trailers it does appear to follow the story:


Trailers are not yet in English – or sub-titled (how’s your Japanese, hombre?)

You may well recognize international Film Star Ken Watanabe – for his work in The Last Samurai, Batman Begins, Inception

Unforgiven Japanese style

Smart marketing – Watanabe will sell big in the international marketplace.

Curiously, Yurusarezaru Mono seems to translate as The Man in White

Should be interesting.

Release Date: September 13, 2013

Home on the Range …

Where to go next … ?? There is no end of possibilities.  So many great Westerns … so little time.

I’ve received two suggestions: Eastwood’s Academy Award winning Unforgiven – Academy Awards Best Picture in 1992. (Wow, was it really that long ago?)

And Open Range (2003) a worthy duster (also shot in Alberta) with Kevin Costner and Robert Duvall.

Unforgiven 1992
Open Range wallpaper
Open Range (2003)

I worked as a set painter on Unforgiven which was shot near Longview, Alberta – the small Western town set was built on some (well guarded and secluded) private property. I wish I could tell you that it was a glorious experience where I smoozed with Movie Stars, Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Gene Hackman, and Richard Harris. But it wasn’t.The set was tight and strict – high security. I never saw any of the Stars at all, but there was strict rules not to approach or talk to them unless invited.
My work has hot, dirty and tough. And even dangerous. I recall being up 3 storeys on a rickety scaffold – painting the back a building – by myself – that never even appeared in the film.
I made 8 dollars an hour – working alongside carpenters who were making 100 dollars an hour – or more.
Aw yes … the romance of film. Eastwood had a couple of henchmen whose only job seemed to be to go around kicking ass and hustling chicks on the set … who all mysteriously got better jobs. It’s not what you know …
We worked hard long days – bused in at 5 in the morning and often leaving sometimes late in the evening.
As I said, I never saw any of the Stars. There were several Locations in the area and I always seemed to working somewhere else.
Later, I got a temporary job with an outfit called F&D (Fast & Dirty) Scene Changes building the train station that was used in the movie – in a large hanger in Calgary. The station was then dismantled and shipped down to Senora California (that’s where the train was) and reassembled for some scenes that really take very little time in the movie. Clint has a blank cheque in Hollywood – his movies make money.
I hope I don’t sound too jaded – it was a worthy experience.
I’m sure I can come up with a few dozen  more anecdotes surrounding my experience with Unforgiven … and I will.

Westward Ho !!!