October 27, 1996
When Kurosawa produced his version of the Western in _Seven
Samurai_, what did he add to that genre by way of originality and/or
commentary? One innovation was the change of setting, meaning that the
film was a Western in all but its location in time and space (with
whatever changes were necessary to fit the changed setting). In that
sense his film is a model for sci-fi Westerns like _Outland_ and maybe
What else is new, or fairly close to new in his film?
One possibility: I don't recall any Westerns where the stranger
who comes in and cleans up the town is not one person but a group formed
specifically for that occasion. Ford's _My Darling Clementine_ is not a
counter-example because, although it features more than one Earp, they
had previously worked together as a group. Even the addition of Doc
Holiday does not seem to make it a counter-example because Holiday was
already there and joined with the Earps *after* they came to town.
If anyone can suggest a citation of a group formed for the
purpose of cleaning up the town in a Western before _Seven Samurai_, I
would appreciate it.
Also any other suggestions about substantial changes/contributions/
commentary on the genre made by Kurosawa in this film would be
Thanks. Kendall D'Andrade
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