by Chris MaGee
Everyone loves a mystery, a guessing game, and there are few more beloved guessing games for cinephiles than what films will be added to the highly regarded Criterion Collection. For us Japanese film fans the guessing game is all the more fun, or vexing depending on your cinematic tastes. If we didn't already work ourselves up enough writing up lists of hopeful titles or Photoshopping faux Criterion DVD covers, The Criterion Collection themselves occasionally like to stir us up even more by posting enigmatic cartoon drawings hinting at future releases. Such was the case about a week ago when the above drawing was posted on The Criterion Collection's Facebook page.
Now, who are those three samurai up in the corner wielding... broad swords? Clubs? There has been a bit of confusion as The Criterion Collection has already announced a Bluray release of Hideo Gosha's 1964 chanbara classic "Three Outlaw Samurai", so who exactly are these top-knotted trio? Many folks think they have it figured out. Those aren't broad swords or clubs the samurai are wielding. They're boat paddles. This would refer to Hiroshi Inagaki's "Musashi Miyamoto" starring Toshiro Mifune, and the scene in which Miyamoto wins a duel with Sasaki Kojirō by using a carved boat oar. If this is true this would mean a reworked DVD release of Inagaki's "Samurai" trilogy, a Bluray release, or both.
Let's hope this is true, and to fuel our dreams here's the trailer from Inagaki's first film in his classic trilogy.