New Tale of Zatoichi (Shin Zatôichi monogatari)
Directed by Tokuzo Tanaka
Written by Minoru Inuzuka and Kan Shimozawa
The first color film in the Blind Ichi series maintains the high standards of the two previous films.
Series keystone Shintaro Katsu continues in the title role. Our blind masseur/swordsman is minding his own business as usual and decides to visit his old village and the Master who taught him swordsmanship. He is pursued by the brother of one of his former defeated attackers, who has vowed vengeance.
The Master wants his sister to marry a wealthy man she does not love. She has fallen for Zatoichi and asks him to marry her. He is reluctant saying he is a bad man – killer, gambler, etc. But he loves her too and vows to turn over a new leaf. At first things work out in his favor, but circumstances just will not leave Ichi alone.
This series is becoming like an anticipated mid-afternoon pick-me-up. It’s something I put on knowing I will be entertained and impressed. Two more to go in 1963!
Trailer for the Criterion 25-film box set