One of the most celebrated screen adaptations of Shakespeare into film, Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood reimagines Macbeth in feudal Japan. Starring Kurosawa’s longtime collaborator Toshiro Mifune and the legendary Isuzu Yamada as his ruthless wife, the film tells of a valiant warrior’s savage rise to power and his ignominious fall. With Throne of Blood, Kurosawa fuses one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies with the formal elements of Japanese Noh theater to make a Macbeth that is all his own—a classic tale of ambition and duplicity set against a ghostly landscape of fog and inescapable doom. —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
I saw this for the first time last night. A mind-blowing experience in a theatrical setting. The cinematography alone is quite astonishing. The performances superb and perfectly cast. All this topped off with an unforgettable conclusion. Yet further proof of Kurosawa's mastery of his cinematic craft.
4 Kurosawas seen, all rated 5 stars, must be a good sign, eh? This is wondrous filmmaking of the highest order, just brilliant, the cinematography is so atmospheric.
Akira Kurosawa’s transplanting of ‘Macbeth’ into feudal Japan is unfortunately an incredibly uneven film. It’s a visual masterwork, with extraordinary imagery that’s some of the best Kurosawa – and… read review