A general and a princess must dodge enemy clans while smuggling the royal treasure out of hostile territory with two bumbling, conniving peasants at their sides; it’s a spirited adventure that only Akira Kurosawa could create. Acknowledged as a primary influence on George Lucas’s Star Wars, The Hidden Fortress delivers Kurosawa’s inimitably deft blend of wry humor, breathtaking action and humanist compassion on an epic scale. —The Criterion Collection
The son of an army officer, Kurosawa studied art before gravitating to film as a means of supporting himself. He served seven years as an assistant to director Kajiro Yamamoto before he began his own directorial career with Sanshiro Sugata (1943), a film about the 19th century struggle for supremacy between adherents of judo and jujitsu that so impressed the military government, he was prevailed upon to make a sequel (Sanshiro Sugata Part Two). Following the end of World War II, Kurosawa’s career gathered speed with a series of films that cut across all genres, from crime thrillers to period dramas. Among the latter, his Rashomon (1951) became the first postwar Japanese film to find wide favor with Western audiences. It was Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai (1954), however, that made the largest impact of any of his movies outside of Japan. Although heavily cut for its original release, this three-hour-plus medieval action drama, shot with painstaking… read more
Vibrant, sprawling photography within an epic canvas of war and rebellion; jidaigeki mural passing as adventure, yet one of exceptional staging, as forerunner to Kagemusha, Ran. And nevermind Seven Samurai, as Hidden Fortress presents more dynamic look at master-servant relationships between the ruling and feudal classes, in teaming hapless peasants - here vociferous in greed - with their Edo overlords, now towards gracious, fleeting reconcilement. A slender, luxuriant brew of genre, spectacle and social commentariat.
Is "Hidden Fortress" the best introduction to Kurosawa? I think not! "Sanjuro" is the most accessible Kurosawa, IMHO. "Hidden Fortress" IS the best introduction to all things Japanese though... It is a challenge in that regard, but "Hidden Fortress" ultimately rewarding. I think this film influenced "The Lord of the Rings" and "Blade Runner" just as much as it is supposed to have influenced "Star Wars."
Akira Kurosawa’s “Hidden Fortress” (1958) – a duel episode between two generals. Only one of the generals is fighting to kill – the other one is using the fight not in order to kill or wound or humiliate… read review
An amazing film, one of Kurosawa’s best. Despite some minor plot flaws, “The Hidden Fortress” is a great film, filled with great acting, great characters, a great story and great cinematography/direction… read review