Those in the mood for a bit of authentic swordplay (sans Tom Cruise, that is) would do well to catch Zatoichi #4: The Fugitive this Saturday night. In this 1963 episode of the renowned Japanese film series, the legendary blind samurai Zatoichi arrives in the village of Shimonita (in America, it would be Deadwood or Dodge), where he learns a local gang has put a bounty on his head. A powerful hired ronin (who looks nothing like Jack Palance) attacks our man Ichi and fails to kill him, but when a defenseless woman is slain by the assassin, the hero's ire is aroused and he singlehandedly annihilates the entire gang of thugs. His final confrontation pits blind rage against superior swordsmanship, with appropriate results. Half a dozen Japanese film directors contributed to the famed Zatoichi series. This little masterpiece was in the hands of Tokuzo Tanaka.
Zatoichi #4 will screen Saturday, July 17, in the Midnights at the Esquire series. Landmark's Esquire is at 590 Downing Street. For information, call 303-352-1992 or log on to www.landmarktheatres.com.