Saga of Anatahan (1954)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
Critic Reviews for Saga of Anatahan
Josef von Sternberg's final film, an uneven but compelling drama produced in Japan.
Audience Reviews for Saga of Anatahan
A true oddity from Von Sternberg. The story of a naval crew stranded on a remote island whose inhabitants are one man and one woman... a "Lord of the Flies"-esque scenario where civilization gradually breaks down. The odd part? The tale is based on a Japanese novel, and the entire cast and crew is Japanese, with English narration by JVS himself. The narrator is supposedly as one of the participants, though it's never revealed which one. The whole thing has a thick dreamlike quality, aided by a haunting score from Akira Ifukube (who has a long, long resume, including a lot of Zatoichi films, a number of Toho monster movies, and most notably The Burmese Harp). For most of the cast, this was their only role, or one of a small handful. For "Queen Bee" Akemi Negishi, however, it would be the beginning of a fruitful career, including several collaborations with Kurosawa. A strange and fascinating film, with thoughtful narration.
A unique piece of cinema. Entirely in Japanese with no subtitles but with an American narrator explaining what is going on. The story of these Robinson Crusoes is first and foremost an ode to films shot inside studios. The jungle, the village, the island, everything is recreated in an apparently small studio and the effect is glorious. The feeling is somewhat similar to the one you get watching Moonfleet. The observation of a group of men lost on an island is also wonderful. Nature comes back. The alpha males fight for the one woman. Overall the film is beautiful, interesting and above all extremely original. A must see.
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