10 November 2019 | boblipton
A Military Jazz Funeral
It's August of 1945 and Japan is still fighting in China. Sergeant Toshiro Mifune is ordered to an advanced position, along with a troop just out of training... as military musicians, although all they seem to want to play is "When the Saints Go Marching In." Mifune is ordered to take that unit, a cook and a gravedigger who spent a quarter of a century as a civilian mortician, and take a fort that has fallen under the control of the Chinese guerrillas.
It's a movie that rocks from farce to satire to deadly combat drama under the direction of Kihachi Okamoto. Learned viewers will recognize the debt it owes to BEAU GESTE, although Mifune is no Lejaune, but a trained professional who cares about the inept musicians in his impossible mission. It's one of many movies that came out about that time about the futility and stupidity of the Second World War to comment on the Viet Nam War. Like most of them, its uneasy mixture of comedy and tragedy do not quite meld, but it's a valiant effort, and it's always good to see Mifune in warrior mode.