Part one of Inagaki's Samurai trilogy - rapturously received in the West in the first flush of enthusiasm for Japanese cinema in the 1950s (it was even awarded an honorary Oscar for Best Foreign Film), all but forgotten now. Inagaki actually made the trilogy twice, first in 1940, then again as Toho's first colour production. Perhaps that explains the somewhat murky visuals - a lot of the film looks a stop underexposed - and solemn pacing, which is not to deny that it's also strikingly atmospheric and occasionally beautiful. Mifune is Takezo, a peasant with a yen for adventure and excitement, who goes to fight in the civil war and ends up a wanted man, hunted even by his own family. An unconventional Buddhist priest became his saviour and mentor - by locking him in a room for three years with dozens of Zen manuscripts. The film lacks Kurosawa's dynamism, but is not without interest.