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Throne of Blood (Criterion Collection) (1957)

Cast: Toshiro Mifune, Toshiro Mifune, Isuzu Yamada, more...
Director: Akira Kurosawa, Akira Kurosawa
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: HVE
Genre: Classics, Drama, Foreign, Costume Drama/Period Piece, Japan, Classic Drama, Classic Drama, Shakespeare, Samurai, Criterion Collection
Running Time: 109 min.
Languages: Japanese
Subtitles: English
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Macbeth is reimagined as a samurai in feudal Japan in director Akira Kurosawa's classic adaptation of the Shakespearean tragedy. Familiar with Orson Welles's more faithful adaptation, Kurosawa chose to place a more personal stamp on his version by translating the events and characters to historical Japan. The equivalent of the tragic Scottish lord is Taketoki Washizu (Toshiro Mifune), a valiant warrior whose life is transformed by an encounter with a ghostly female spirit. The spirit offers several predictions, finally stating that Washizu will rise to power over the current warlord. When these predictions begin coming true, he and his ambitious wife decide to ensure his ascendancy to power by murdering the current ruler. As with Macbeth, Washizu achieves his goal, but his guilt and the suspicions of others soon bring about his downfall. The shift to Japanese settings is seamless, creating a historically accurate and resonant work with a culturally distinct visual style. The supporting performances also recall Japanese tradition, particularly Isuzu Yamada's creepily unemotional take on Lady Macbeth, while Mifune proves consistently gripping in the sheer intensity of his performance. The intelligence of Kurosawa's alterations retains the drama's tragic impact, especially during the conclusion, in which Washizu makes a memorable final stand against an advancing army. Impressive in every regard, Throne of Blood seems secure in the pantheon of superior film adaptations of William Shakespeare. ~ Judd Blaise, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

3 Things by randomcha January 15, 2008 - 2:37 PM PST
0 out of 3 members found this review helpful
1. The horsemen galloping around in the fog, utterly lost. Nothing can be seen except for the horses, a patch of ground with a few weeds, and the steam coming from the horses' mouths.
2. His wife vanishing into the dark room, then reappearing with a jar of saki. David Lynch must have seen this shot, or else at least have had the same idea when he made "Lost Highway."
3. The streams of arrows. The arrow through the neck.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 8.12)
289 Votes
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Moveline's 100 Best Foreign Films
This list was published in Moveline's July 1996 issue.
best 15 gc-rented must-see films 4 "high-brow"

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