Seven Samurai Maine 1959

In the summer of 1959 my grandmother dragged me from a croquet game with my siblings on her lawn in Westbrrok Maine and sat me before the black and white Zenith TV.

“I want you to watch this movie. THE SEVEN SAMURAI. It’s in Japanese with subtitles. They appear at the bottom of the TV, but you’ll be able to understand them”

I had been reading since age five thanks to Superman comics I bought at the drug store down Main Street across from the SD Warren paper mill.

I sat on the velvet sofa and Edith explained, “I saw this movie at the theater in Portland with my sister. It is a story about impoverished rice farmers who enlist seven unemployed samurai warriors to save them from a gang of bandits. The movie changed my view on the Japanese.”
World War II was thirteen years ago. They were still considered the enemy and none of us kids wanted to play war as fanatics.

My grandmother instructed me how to read the subtitles. As soon as music began, I was hooked and by the scene where two samurai test their skills, I suddenly understood that the Japs were people. Not just Japs. I was memorized by every second and I thank my grandmother for this gift of Akira Kurosawa’s epic.

I have never found a record of this screening on the public station from Orano.

I called the station today.

Maybe I’ll be liucky.

Kambei Shimada: This is the nature of war: By protecting others, you save yourselves. If you only think of yourself, you’ll only destroy yourself.

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