Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sukiyaki Western Django

Thanks to a reference - though hardly a recommendation - by Grim, I recently watched Sukiyaki Western Django and I really liked it. It’s bloody, violent, and often gross but mesmerizing. I saw bits and pieces of a lot of different movies in it and developed the following viewing guide for anyone who is interested in getting the most out of this movie.

First, watch Sukiyaki Western Django with subtitles ON. They’re incredibly annoying because they cover part of the action but you really need them to understand the dialogue.

Then some weekend this winter when you’re snowed in or recovering from the flu (please wait until your fever is gone) or miserable with a cold, watch the following movies:

A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
For A Few Dollars More (1965)
Django (1965)
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
From Dusk Til Dawn (1996)
Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)
Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004)

The order isn’t terribly important except for sequels (A Fistful of Dollars should be watched before For A Few Dollars More and Kill Bill Vol. 1 should be watched before Kill Bill Vol. 2) but I’d probably watch Night of the Living Dead first (I seem to be the only person who watched Sukiyaki Western Django and saw Night of the Living Dead in it but hey, the Marshall) and Django last (it’s the clearest influence).

For extra credit you can also watch Yojimbo (1961) and Last Man Standing (1996), earlier and later versions respectively of A Fistful of Dollars.

Check out the “Other views” list at the end of this post. It’s now safe to read the reviews since spoilers don’t matter and the reviewers provide some background and will have seen things you didn’t. If you’re really snowed in or plan to be sick for quite a while you can watch the movies they reference.

If you want some historical perspective, read the Wikipedia entries on the Genpei War and the Battle of Dan-no-ura. If you prefer your history from the movies, try Gojoe (via Sarudama - I have not yet seen it) or the “Hoichi the Earless” story in Kwaidan.

Finally, watch Sukiyaki Western Django again without the subtitles.

Good luck shoveling out of that snowdrift and feel better soon.


Other views:

Here’s a look at a random group of reviewers and the allusions, references, and echoes they found in Sukiyaki Western Django. I’ve only listed what they saw that I didn’t.

Warning: Most of these reviews contain serious spoilers.

Hollywood Video sees Rio Bravo, Duel in the Sun, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, The Wild Bunch, Apocalypse Now, First Blood, plus Bruce Lee and Tex Avery.

KPBS sees West Side Story and suggests Duck You Sucker for companion viewing.

HorrorPhile suggests a pairing with Dead Man.

Rotten Tomatoes sees Desperado.

The Armchair Critic sees The Lord of the Rings referring to the Marshall as “Gollum-like”. (This was my husband’s take on the Marshall also.)

New York Times sees Reservoir Dog. (I assume they mean Reservoir Dogs.)

Slate lists The Good, The Bad, and The Weird, Tears of the Black Tiger, and Sholay as other examples of Asian Westerns.

Japan Navigator sees Raiders of the Lost Ark. I didn’t see it myself originally but oh, yeah.

Last but not least, Amoebablog sees turducken.

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