Three bank robbers go on the run from the police
and hide out at a lodge in the mountains of Japan.
Snow Trail (1947)
Directed by Senkichi Taniguchi
Written by Akira Kurosawa and Senkichi Taniguchi
Starring Takashi Shimura, Toshirô Mifune, Yoshio Kosugi,
Akitake Kôno, Setsuko Wakayama, Kokuten Kôdô
Akira Kurosawa is a writer/director that I’ve been wanting to research for quite some time. I finally started that journey with a film he wrote in the 40’s. He’s one of the most influential Japanese film figures ever and he teamed up with another multi-talented Japanese writer/director by the name of Senkichi Taniguchi a bunch back in the day. Snow Trail is a precisely made film that has introduced me to two awesome Japanese creators.
Eijima, Nojiro, and Takasugi are bank robbers who hide out in the mountains of Japan after running away from the police. The weather is brutal so they stop at this lodge that serves as an inn but the employees have no idea that they are wanted criminals. They are just nice people and one of them even offers to help them hike over the mountains because he knows the area so well. Eijima doesn’t care about the hospitality and gets paranoid as they start traveling, which causes an intense standoff.
Snow Trail was the first film that Toshirô Mifune ever got cast in. He plays Eijima to perfection and an extremely long career came after it. Takashi Shimura gives a hell of a performance as well as Nojiro. Snow Trail contains way more comedy than I expected which gave it a tremendous balance. I love how well this film uses its elements, meaning the giant mountains that surround the lodge. It also was the first film that legendary composer Akira Ifukube ever worked on. He went on to write the music for God fucking Zilla. Snow Trail isn’t a mind-shattering film, maybe even predictable at times, but it offers some great entertainment through its really strong performances and classic score.