10 October 2010
“The Hours and Times” article by Kenneth Turan describes the art of epic storytelling of director Akira Kurosawa of his three hour and twenty seven minute film, Seven Samurai. Turan justifies and explains why the film is the long length that it is. Turan describes that Seven Samurai “unrolls naturally and pleasurably, like a beautiful scroll or valuable rug…” We are informed by Turan that the film originally was fifty minutes longer, but Toho Studios did not think that the average Westerner could withstand a film that long. Turan explains that the film uses every minute of its length to contribute to the essence of the story. One main reason for the long length of the film is to display the passage of time. The passage of time helps us know more about each individual character and connects us better with them.
I have to admit that after I read Turan’s “The Hours and Times” article, my opinion on the length of Seven Samurai sort of changed. I still think that the film could have been told just as well without being so lengthy. For example, the scene in the beginning where the one samurai comes in drunk could have been shorter. The whole point of that scene could have just as easily got across to the audience if it was shorter. The article made me think twice about my opinion because it explained why it needed to be the length it was. It described that the length was crucial in order to tell the story. I definitely agreed when Turan talked about how the length of the film lets the audience get to know the samurais and other characters because it really did. Overall, Seven Samurai was way too lengthy for me, but I now can at least appreciate and respect the reasoning for its length.