CD: Red Beard - Soundtrack


Red Beard - Soundtrack

Japanese CD Title

赤ひげ - Red Beard
[Akahige - Red Beard]

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Masaru Sato
Toho Music

Based On:

Red Beard



By: Anthony Romero

Thanks to Jessica Stan for sending this in.

This movie marks the last time that not just superstar actor Toshiro Mifune would collaborate with director Akira Kurosawa, but also the last time for composer Masaru Sato as well. On the plus side, Sato goes out on a positive note with an enjoyable, although not overly memorable, body of work here. Toho Music has also padded this soundtrack with an array of bonus material, although of sometimes questionable merit.

Starting with the score itself, which is the mono version, this is somewhat of a more “classical” score compared to some of the more contemporary and big band-style work that Sato was doing around this time. The movie’s main title is a perfect example of this, sounding sweeping with a lot of string work. Other tracks, like ‘Sahachi's Origin”, “Nurse I” and “Nurse II”, follow a similar style of sounding more traditional. In all, the soundtrack is often times upbeat, although not always so. The more ominous “Earthquake Town” is great example of this, and sounds more like Sato’s music of the era in contrast to the rest of the score. Fittingly, this theme was later reused in the Submersion of Japan (1973) trailer. Speaking of reusing, the unused track “The Mantis Woman” should sound familiar to listerens. This theme would end up being modified by Sato and reused in the Sword of Doom (1966)... before the almost same motif would resurface for Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (1966) when Godzilla is destroying the Red Bamboo base.

While the main score is mostly good, the bonus material provided by Toho Music is sometimes questionable. First up, are two tracks dubbed as part of the “reality sound” by the booklet. They are given cue numbers and while they feel like they should have been included with the main score… at the same time the tracks are very faint and distant sounding for the first, with a lot of unwelcome hiss to likely raise the volume level high enough to hear, and the second is largely just someone beating a drum ever so often for the wedding ceremony scene… for four minutes. Both could have been left off with no one missing them.

Next in the bonus material, the disc highlights the fact that Toho Music likely didn’t have access to a good version of the movie’s stereo score. This is most apparent in the fact that the “Main Title” is included twice with two stereo sources. The first is… shamefully a lame attempt to rip it from the movie itself, complete with faint dialogue. It honestly wasn’t worth including. The second is better, but is missing 40 seconds of music from the title and appears to be cut short. Beyond this, the disc includes the stereo versions for six other themes, for a total of 7 out of 26 tracks.

The last couple bonus tracks are a mixed bag, but the worst offender on the disc appears here: “Articulatory Scenery (Tuning)”. As it might imply, this track is literally the orchestra tuning their instruments. While it’s cool to imagine Toho digging up this from a 1960’s recording session… all the same it’s not something that should have been included. The disc rounds out its run time with a combo of the trailer theme and some outtakes.

Rating: Star Rating


  1. Main Title (M1)
  2. Masae's Visit (M2)
  3. Madwoman's Monologue (M3)
  4. Hairpin (M3A)
  5. The Mantis Woman (Unused • M3B)
  6. Yasumoto's Regret (M4)
  7. Red Beard's Honorable Call (Unused • M5)
  8. Sahachi's Origin (M6)
  9. Rokusuke's Death (M7)
  10. Rumblings (Unused • M7A)
  11. Sahachi and Onaka (M8)
  12. The Huge Earthquake of Kinoto-hitsuji (M9)
  13. Earthquake Town (M10)
  14. Onaka's Death (M11)
  15. Sahachi's Death ~ Resolution in the Morning Mist (M12 + M13)
  16. Outer Examination (M14)
  17. Interlude (M16)
  18. The Truth (M17)
  19. Nurse I (M18-T2)
  20. Nurse II (M19-T2)
  21. Otoyo's Jealousy (M20)
  22. Otoyo Sulks (M21A)
  23. Otoyo and Choji I (M22)
  24. Otoyo and Choji II (M23)
  25. A Small Prayer (M24)
  26. Ending (M26)

    Bonus Tracks
  27. Hilly Place (M15)
  28. Wedding Ceremony in Ascent (M25)
  29. Main Title (Stereo Source 1 • M1)
  30. Main Title (Stereo Source 2 • M1)
  31. Rokusuke's Death (Stereo • M7)
  32. Interlude (Stereo • M16)
  33. Nurse II (Stereo • M19-T2)
  34. Otoyo and Choji II (Stereo • M23)
  35. A Small Prayer (Stereo • M24)
  36. Ending (Stereo • M26)
  37. Articulatory Scenery (Tuning)
  38. Main Theme (Trailer Advance Notice)
  39. The Mantis Woman (Material Sound Demo • M3B)
  40. Nurse I (M18-T1)
  41. Nurse II (M19-T1)