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Kagemusha (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

137 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Just as many American studio-era directors found acclaim abroad that was denied them in their home country, by 1980 Akira Kurosawa's reputation outside Japan exceeded his esteem at home. As uncompromising as ever, he found considerable difficulty securing backing for his ambitious projects. Unsure he would be able to film it, the director, an aspiring artist before he entered filmmaking, converted Kagemusha into a series of paintings, and it was partly on the basis of these that he won the financial support of longtime admirers Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas. Set in the 16th century, when powerful warlords competed for control of Japan, it offers an examination of the nature of political power and the slipperiness of identity. For some time, Shingen Takeda Tatsuya Nakadai has been able to stay removed from the heat of battle by using his brother Nobukado Tsutomu Yamazaki as a double. As the film opens, Nobukado offers another option, having discovered a condemned thief (also pla

Special Features

Restored high-definition digital transfer (with DTS-HD Master Audio 4.0 soundtrack on Blu-ray edition)
Audio commentary by Kurosawa scholar Stephen Prince
Lucas, Coppola, and Kurosawa, a 19-minute interview piece in which directors George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola discuss Kurosawa and Kagemusha
A 41-minute documentary on the making of the film
Image: Kurosawa’s Continuity, a 44-minute video piece reconstructing Kagemusha through Kurosawa’s paintings and sketches
Suntory Whiskey commercials made on the set of Kagemusha
Gallery of storyboards painted by Kurosawa and images of their realization on-screen
Theatrical trailers and teasers
PLUS: A 48-page booklet featuring an essay by scholar Peter Grilli, and an interview with Kurosawa by renowned critic Tony Rayns

Product Details

  • Actors: Tatsuya Nakadai, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Daisuke Ryu
  • Directors: Akira Kurosawa
  • Producers: Akira Kurosawa
  • Format: Black & White, Widescreen, Subtitled, Blu-ray
  • Language: Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: June 1, 2010
  • Run Time: 180 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (137 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002AFX52S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,753 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Kagemusha (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

87 of 92 people found the following review helpful By keviny01 on April 9, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
KAGEMUSHA is the great 1980 drama involving a clan of 16th-Century Japanese warlords who want to deceive their enemies by having a common thief impersonate their murdered leader. This is a thought-provoking film about reality and illusion, as well as a visually inviting work filled with many striking scenes and compositions that Kurosawa films are known for. A memorable 6-minute opening shot of three identical-looking men, an elaborate dream sequence, and a harrowing montage of the aftermath of the final battle are among some of Kurosawa's finest moments in his long film career. Lead actor Tatsuya Nakadai was only in his 40s when he made KAGEMUSHA, playing a much older man and effectively conveying the guile and conflicted feelings of the imposter. Nakadai would also play the lead role in Kurosawa's next film, RAN, 5 years later, again unrecognizably playing a much older man.

Criterion has released the definitive video edition for KAGEMUSHA: a Region-1, 2-disc DVD of the uncut, 180-minute version of film. The anamorphic widescreen video quality is generally very good, except for some occasional graininess. The original Japanese audio is in Dolby Digital 4.0 surround (3 front, and 1 mono rear channels), although surround effects are infrequently used.

The best supplement on the disc is Stephen Prince's full-length audio commentary, which, due to the film's length, is able to elaborate on many topics in great details. Much of Prince's narration (I would say half of it) is more on the historical background of the film's period than the filmmaking and art of the film. He compares certain plot details against historical facts to show how Kurosawa uses his artistic license to convey his own ideas.
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126 of 137 people found the following review helpful By dsrussell VINE VOICE on April 14, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Wow, what a movie experience! "Kagemusha (The Shadow Warrior)" is my favorite film from direct Akira Kurosawa, which is saying one heck of a lot when one considers "Rashomon", "Seven Samurai", and "Ran". I sat riveted to the television screen during the entire presentation. It is a story of a petty thief who, because he looks very much like the great Warlord Shingen, is given the chance to redeem himself and play the great Warlord's double. The heart of the film is the inner change and new found strength that progresses through the thief as he learns to become the Warlord. Awesome in its imagery, "Kagemusha" will mesmerize you and move you. Between 1 and 10, this powerful Kurosawa classic gets a 10. With his passing, along with Stanley Kubrick, the world has lost two great treasures.
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81 of 91 people found the following review helpful By John Noodles on April 14, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
William Goldman, and American screenwriter, admonished aspiring screenwriters to begin scenes as close to end as possible. This is the sort of pacing that audiences--American audiences, at least--are accustomed to. Akira Kurosawa's "Kagemusha" is quite a different sort of movie than would ever be produced by the American or even the European mainstream movie industry.. Its scenes are long and talky, with periods of silence, and still cameras. The scenery, make-up, and mannerisms of the actors are exaggerated and often melodramatic, like you would find in formal Japanese cinema. Anyone seeing this movie expecting a medieval action flick along the lines of, say, "Exalibur," is very likely to be disappointed.
Which would be a shame. This is a magnificent movie. The photography and set design alone are breathtaking. This is more a historical piece than a character study--the characters remain, for the most part, two-dimensional. The focus remains tightly on the strategies and deceptions involved in keeping together the Shingen Takeda clan when their leader has died.
Scenes are often long and patiently filmed. In one quietly dramatic scene, we see two lines of cavalry come galloping over an incline from a great distance. The thunder of the racing horses builds, and the lines converge before us. In this single shot, not much else happens, but the composition and sound create a powerful effect. This movie is filled with subtle, magnificent moments like this.
The battle scenes--well, no one can beat Kurosawa here. The final scene depicts devestation and defeat with surprisingly little gore, yet is no less powerful (and, arguably, more) than, say, the graphically violent scenes in "Saving Private Ryan."
This is a must-see for any movie buff.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Naoki Nomura on December 5, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
It is about time to get this film's definitive version.

I am Amazon user in Japan and already own the original LD release and huge, expensive DVD boxes(cost me about $1,0000.....), and I can assure you that this Criterion version will be "THE BEST" one.

While Japanese version was created from same new Hi-Definition transfer, all features, three-hour movie and 45minits documentary, are bundled in dual-layered disc, which is too much to take in one, and the sound bit rate is 338kbps instead of 448kbps.

I expect, likewise "Red Beard","Hidden fortress" and "Ikiru", one disc will be devoted to the feature presentation and the extra to the other disc on Criterion version so that the quality can be maximized, and can be better than original Japanese release.

Still, among the Japanese original box set, I can say that the quality of "Sansiro Sugata" and two-disc set of "Seven Samurai" are great. I can't wait to see what the folks at Criterion will do to the rest of Kurosawa film releases.

For the first time, in documantary, Mr.Nakadai talks about taking over the title role from great Shintaro Katsu(Zatoich)who was originaly cast for Shingen and Kagemusha. Simply amazing.
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Kagemusha Criterion BD region coding
Based on their other BD releases it will most likely be locked to region A.
May 28, 2009 by Amazon Customer |  See all 3 posts
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Kagemusha (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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