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Love this one. Jolly good show!
While you may deplore that Kurosawa, like so many top directors (think of Carol Reed)
went to bigger and bigger productions in their later careers,
this one and Kagemusha, immediately before it, really were worth it.
It was produced by Serge Silberman, the guy who used to produce the movies Luís Buñuel made after he came to Europe from South America, after Buñuel died. In that sense, it's Kurosawa's firstWesternmovie, by which I don't mean a horse-opera. Which, in a sense, it is nonetheless. Working with a plot based on Shakespeare's King Lear, the grapevine had it Kurosawa hand-picked all the horses appearing in it, and you can't help noticing what poor wasted carcasses we always get to see in those regular westerns. These are magnificent animals.
Tatsuya Nakadai is great, the best role I have seen in any Kurosawa movie; and that includes Mifune and Mihashi. Imagine an actor who used to be known asthe most beautiful man in the worldtaking out his fake dentures. And the ending is about the most impressive of any Kurosawa movie. Not as strong as that of High and Low, but very powerful just because it is much more subdued.
Before I forget, it's Kurosawa's own favorite.
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