Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Samurai Thought for the Day #3

One of the most obvious differences I’ve noticed between the earlier samurai films from the mid-fifties to the middle period of samurai films in the mid-sixties is the addition of exaggerated slashing and slicing sounds during the fight scenes. In no small way this “style” became a distraction to some otherwise fine films. To me, at least, listening to the exaggerated sound effects is like listening to the lifeless synthesized drums of so much 80s music or the silly slapping sounds in a poorly dubbed kung fu movie. Except for very rare instances, these sounds are a put-off from the overall production. What were the filmmakers thinking? Were audiences so jaded by the more realistic sound effects that this was a way to artificial instill a sense of excitement?

2 comments:

Wagstaff said...

You're on to something here. I think it's just the various phases in the lifespan of a genre -- the later phases become mannerist, everything is amplified for greater and louder effects. Perhaps all these sound effects could be catalogued and catagorized. Then, just by listening to the sword play, you could date the samurai picture. It would be a sort of carbon half-life system for determining the year of a given samurai movie.

Harry L said...

It has been widely discussed how all kinds of "action" movies became bloodier and gorier in the 60's,but the sound effects of sword fighting
has not been mentioned much. My guess
is that it is just an attempt to exaggerate the violence, but I'd agree after a certain point that it becomes comical.