From a postmodernist perspective, perhaps there is nothing left to art but the deconstruction of what’s already been created, piecing together the ideas of those you admire. In that case, then perhaps Sergio Leone was ahead of his time in 1964 when he made “A Fistful of Dollars,” the first film in the spaghetti western ‘Dollars’ trilogy, which was in fact a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s 1961 samurai epic “Yojimbo.”
By the same hand, Kurosawa adapted ideas from Dashiell Hammett’s brilliant novel “Red Harvest,” though he claims he modeled the film after “The Glass Key,” but historians — and myself as a reader of both books — beg to differ. In “Red Harvest” the protagonist — who comes to a small town trying to stop the corruption amongst local gangs and the law — has no name, thus inspiring the mysterious leads in both Kurosawa and Leone’s films.
In this intricate mashup, Alejandro Villarreal puts the two films side-by-side (to the tune of Ennio Morricone, naturally), and perhaps you can see why Toho, the Japanese production house, sued Leone before his film was released. The men with no name in each film — Clint Eastwood and frequent Kurosawa star Toshiro Mifune — carry out the tasks they set out to in the first place, perhaps preserving a little justice along the way.
What’s your favorite Leone or Kurosawa moment? Let us know in the comments below.