7.1/10
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5 user 5 critic
The story of a decent samurai who is widely considered a scum and a criminal. His bad luck and numerous misunderstandings drag him down the social ladder straight to the gutter.

Director:

Buntarô Futagara
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Cast

Cast overview:
Tsumasaburô Bandô Tsumasaburô Bandô ... Heisaburo Kuritomi
Misao Seki Misao Seki ... Hyozan Matsusumi
Utako Tamaki Utako Tamaki ... Namie, Hyôzan's daughter
Kensaku Haruji Kensaku Haruji ... Shin'nojo Esaki, her husband
Momotarô Yamamura Momotarô Yamamura ... Shinpachiro Namioka
Kotonosuke Nakamura Kotonosuke Nakamura ... Kokichi
Shigeyo Arashi Shigeyo Arashi ... Nekohachi
Kichimatsu Nakamura Kichimatsu Nakamura ... Jirozo Akagi
Zen'ichirô Yasuda Zen'ichirô Yasuda ... Santa
Shizuko Mori Shizuko Mori ... Ochiyo
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Storyline

The story of a decent samurai who is widely considered a scum and a criminal. His bad luck and numerous misunderstandings drag him down the social ladder straight to the gutter.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

samurai | See All (1) »

Genres:

Action | Adventure

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Details

Country:

Japan

Release Date:

20 November 1925 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Serpent See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original title of the movie was supposed to be "Outlaw", but the Japanese censors and police banned the title, because the depiction of an outlaw as a hero was seen as a very dangerous suggestion. The title was later changed to "Serpent", describing how Bando Tsumasaburo wiggles when he fights back, and how even in death, a serpent still look terrifying. Confused, the censors allowed the title. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Give a Dog a Bad Name
27 April 2018 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

I've long known that Samurai movies have a long history in Japan -- one of the Lumiere actualities from 1898 is ACTEURS JAPONAIS: BATAILLE AU SABRE. However this movie is the earliest full-fledged Samurai feature I've seen. In it, Tsumasaburô Bandô is a young samurai with ideals and a short temper. He develops a reputation as a bully and gets kicked out of his position for trying to defend the reputation of his calligraphy master's daughter -- no one will listen to his explanations. He takes to the road as a ronin and falls in with bad companions, always wondering why no one will see the good heart beneath his fearsome reputation.

This movie is offered as a tragedy of society's failure (the version I watched had a simultaneous Japanese and Russian audio track that made me think it must have done well in Soviet Russia as an indictment of Pre-Revolutionary society). I thought it was an indictment of people who failed to show a little forethought in their actions; if Our Hero (as the narrator referred to him) had shown a little discretion, he might have done a lot better for himself.

Nonetheless, one watches westerns for the riding and the gunplay, and one watches Samurai movies fo the fight scenes, and there are some fine ones here, particularly the big finale. Although my cynical take on Our Hero rendered many serious sections comic, this is well worth watching as an early example of the genre.


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