It's Saturday morning. You turn on the Independent Film Channel and there on the screen a blind Japanese masseur is battling 50 samurai swordsmen. He wields his sword like nothing you've ever seen. As you watch, you come to learn his name, Zatoichi, and that he's a likeable, charismatic itinerate gambler. He wanders through 19th century Japan, protecting innocents and wreaking havoc on wicked men with his superior sword skill. By the end of the film, you're hooked. You want more.
So you tune in the following week. You find a unique, engrossing quality in these Japanese films from the 60s. They're hip, funny, and full of action. You go to Borders Books & Music, and there on the shelf are a dozen Zatoichi titles on DVD with the sticker, "As seen on IFC" -- you realize you're not alone, that thousands of people out there, just like you, have discovered Zatoichi.
You start looking into other samurai films. You pick up Kurosawa's Seven Samurai and Kobayashi's Harakiri. This stuff is great! As you surf the titles on Amazon and go through the samurai films in the Criterion Collection, you find your interest in this genre has grown to the point that you'd like to find a book that would give you some background, both about samurai films and Japanese culture in general. Such a book would really enhance your enjoyment of these films. Is there such a book?
There is. Stray Dogs & Lone Wolves: The Samurai Film Handbook is that book. Written in a lively, conversational tone and packed with reviews, production details, photos and cultural background, Stray Dogs & Lone Wolves is the perfect film companion for old and new fans of samurai films. People who like Japanese films in general will enjoy it, as will martial arts fans. In fact anyone interested in Asian and foreign film will find this a valuable addition to his or her library.
Patrick Galloway, the author of Stray Dogs & Lone Wolves: The Samurai Film Handbook, brings to the book both his passion for the samurai film genre and his encyclopedic knowledge of Japanese history, studios, directors, and actors. Written in an accessible and engaging manner, the book combines Patrick's casual yet erudite style with his knowledge of film history and film craft, with the result that Stray Dogs & Lone Wolves is as entertaining as it is informative.
Stray Dogs & Lone Wolves: The Samurai Film Handbook is a film history reference book focusing on Japanese films in the samurai genre from the 1950s to the present. It features over 50 original reviews of a wide variety of films, ranging from classics like Yojimbo to cult films like The Razor: Sword of Justice. And, of course, lots of Zatoichi! The book also features relevant graphical elements such as film posters, production stills, and traditional Japanese paintings.
Stray Dogs & Lone Wolves places the samurai figure within the history of Japan and assesses the way Japanese filmmakers have interpreted that history, creating a sword-wielding synthesis of fact, myth and epic.