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Throne of Blood

directed by
Akira Kurosawa

Doing Shakespeare one better, this is Kurosawa's version of Macbeth, not a bad little play at all. The generally held superstition in the theater world (and ho boy, are they superstitious!) is that all productions of Macbeth are flops; well, this one was not.
Later, Kurosawa based Ran on Shakespeare's King Lear.

If you ever took the three witches seriously, you might as well believe the medium in Rashomon has real occult gifts; or that there's a real ghost spooking Mifune. Along the same lines, I also love the way the creepy magical wood has been only too obviously faked—you must notice. The last scene, where Mifune definitely goes all ape and, pierced with arrows, crawls around like a veritable porcupine, never fails to make me howl with laughter; but some, maybe more impressionable or less unsensitive, people feel it's High Drama. Which is fine with me. Enjoy!

Kurosawa's screenplay was intended to be filmed by someone else, but Toho figured it would be a very expensive production and asked him to direct himself. Which is why the movie is visually very rich, as Kurosawa habitually put in more visuals in scripts for other directors than for himself. (Like many of the pearls of wisdom you occasionally encounter on these pages — no doubt much to your surprise _ this comes from Donald Richie's book. I really can't recommend it highly enough.)
Can't help it: refer to P.G. Wodehouse when, about Banquo's ghost suddenly turning up,
he says something like Shakespeare makes little effort to conceal Macbeth's astonishment.

the Longest Lenses
in the World

Nature Movies Dept.:
Porcupine crawling by Toho's
Magnificent Magic Mist Machine

Produced by Toho
Japan 1955

Toho Co. Ltd.

110 minutes, B/W
Academy screen





    —after Shakespeare's photographed
art director

sound recording
music by
Shojiro Motoki
Akira Kurosawa
Shinobu Hashimoto
Ryuzo Kikushima
Hideo Oguni
Akira Kurosawa
Asakazu Nakai
Yoshiro Muraki
Kohei Ezaki
Fumio Hayasaka
Masaru Sato
Taketoki Washizu
Asaji, his wife
Yoshiaki Miki, his friend
Yoshiteru, Miki's son
Kuniharu Tsuzuki
Kunimaru, Kuniharu's son
Noriyasu Odagura
Toshiro Mifune
Isuzu Yamada
Minoru Chiaki
Akira Kubo
Takamaru Sasaki
Yoichi Tachikawa
Takashi Shimura
Chieko Naniwa

Throne Of Blood
Akira Kurosawa transforms "Macbeth" into an outstanding samurai saga starring Toshiro Mifune as the tragic ruler fated by the forewarnings of three witches. Also stars Isuzu Yamada, Takashi Shimura.
Standard; Soundtrack: Japanese mono; Subtitles: English; alternate subtitles; audio commentary; theatrical trailer.

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