Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Hidden Fortress (1958)

Director: Akira Kurosawa

Starring: Toshiro Mifune, Minoru Chiaki, Kamatari Fujiwara, Susuma Fujita, Takashi Shimura, Misa Uehara, Eiko Miyoshi

More info: IMDb

Plot: In the Sixteenth Century, in Japan, Tahei (Minoru Chiaki) and Matakishi (Kamatari Fujiwara), two rascals and greedy peasants, are trying to return to the city of Akizuki through Hayakawa, after an unsuccessful attempt of making money with the war between the clans of Yamana and Akizuki. While warming themselves in a fire, they find gold with the symbol MT. Suribachi of the Akizuki hidden in the firewood, and they decide to search for other branches. Tahei and Matakishi meet General Rokurota Makabe (ToshirĂ´ Mifune), who is secretly protecting Princess Yukihime (Misa Uehara), and without knowing their identities, they accept to escort and help them in the transportation of the gold through the enemy lines to Akizuki.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again? Nah. Twice is enough.

So I won't watch it again? WTF? It's a Kurosawa movie. How can anyone say that? Yeah, I know. I REALLY like Kurosawa's films but this one takes the prize as my least favorite. That doesn't mean I didn't like it, it's just that there are two things that bother me enough that will keep me from coming back - the two corball leads. They're way to silly for my taste - obnoxiously silly. The actress that plays Princess Yuki yells every line of dialogue and that gets old quick, too.

I first came to this film many years ago after hearing that this was a big inspiration for George Lucas when creating STAR WARS (1977). The only thing he took from this was the bigger story as told through two goofballs (ala C3PO and R2D2 - there is a princess but that's coincidental), although I'm stunned he had the restraint not to make them as over the top as Kurosawa did. The rest of the this picture is fantastic. The camera work, the music, the story (which goes in small directions you don't anticipate), Mifune's performance - all of those things work very, very well. I just can't abide by those obnoxious peasants and the screaming princess. It's just too much.

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