The Hidden Fortress (The Criterion Collection)
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(May 22, 2001)
The Criterion Collection
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Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
- Exclusive video interview with George Lucas about The Hidden Fortress
- New transfer with restored image & sound
- New & improved English subtitle translation
Top Customer Reviews
This was the first movie that Kurosawa made that was widescreen, and therefore the first that will derive maximum benefit from DVD. (Read through the early reviews of the DVD of SEVEN SAMURAI to see some of the confusion over this.) His use of the wider angle is magnificent, presenting the view with extraordinary vistas again and again. Kurosawa never seemed to struggle with the technical aspects of filmmaking, and would later make a similarly effortless transition to color.
This is one of Kurosawa's finest films. It is difficult to say that it is his best, since his very best films are among the greatest ever made. Suffice it to say, that the film bears in every way the mark of greatness. The camera work is flawless. Though black and white, the film is gorgeous to look at every moment. The acting is impeccable, with Mifune giving a somewhat difference performance in this one. If we are more accustomed to think of him as a more fiery character, as in RASHOMON or SEVEN SAMURAI or THRONE OF BLOOD, in this one he is magisterial and aristocratic.
I think the parallels to STAR WARS are rather overblown, and anyone coming to this film looking for tones of George Lucas rather than Akira Kurosawa just may find themselves disappointed. Yes, there is a princess, and yes, there are some very small plot parallels, and yes, there are two comic characters included to provide light entertainment and to move the plot along. But none of these are crucial elements of THE HIDDEN FORTRESS.Read more ›
This film is often described as the impetus for Star Wars. After seeing the prequel trilogy I half expected The Hidden Fortress to be an exact blueprint for Episode IV, but they're really not that similar. It turns out that George Lucas was talented back in the day. If you're looking for simularities you'll find them, but if Lucas himself hadn't mentioned how much this film influenced him I doubt anyone would be drawing parallels. For example, the two peasant characters, Tahei and Matakishi, are supposed to be the inpirations for R2-D2 and C-3PO, but they're not similar in the least. Tahei and Matakishi are slow, bumbling, greedy, and selfish. They're a far cry from Lucas' creations. R2-D2 is the butch in the relationship while C-3PO is his more feminine partner. (I have to give Lucas credit for having the guts to put a gay robot couple in a film way back in the 70's, and it's even more amazing because no one has had the guts to do it a second time. Perhaps one day gay robots will get the screen time they deserve.)
The story involves a princess and her general who are trapped behind enemy lines and must make it back to their own land.Read more ›
Criterion does the film justice with an excellent transfer, but with little in the way of supplementary material, especially when compared to recent releases --the introduction by George Lucas on this disk is great though. For the price of this disk, the lack of audio commentary, etc... is unfortunate.
Truly a character driven story, the film boasts of people that are crass, yet lovable. Not concerned with the apocalypse like Kurosawa is in some previous and later works, Hidden fortress offers a rousing adventure, which encapsulates classic story telling at its stylistic best. As such, this is one of the favorites in my personal Kurosawa collection.
FORTRESS is a fast-moving film. It's story is reminiscent of the serials of the 1930's (including "wipes" to transition from scene to scene -- again, another technique that Lucas borrowed for STAR WARS). Our heroes leap out of frying pan into fire on several occasions.
The Japanese style of acting (at least in 1958 when this film was made) is very stylized and little over the top or "stagey". However, the stylized performances only add to the wonderful, other-worldly atmosphere of HIDDEN FORTRESS. That's one thing that I enjoyed about this Kurosawa film: it definitely takes the viewer to a world he has not seen before ... a weird, ancient and savage old-Japan.
Those are my thoughts on this film. This was the first Kurosawa I ever saw and I was very impressed. Immediately I rented YOJIMBO and HIGH AND LOW and SEVEN SAMURAI and went on to be a fan.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the movies that inspired Lucas for Star Wars. Great movie classic.Published 4 hours ago by Rachele Powers
Was it an epic movie, no, but it was a good movie considering the time it was made. I don't think anybody would be disappointed watching it.Published 12 days ago by Daniel G Dickey
I can see where there is a connection to Star Wars and how this movie influenced George Lucas. Great movie!Published 21 days ago by Hellcat
I am probably a special case here. I watched some Kurosawa 25 years ago and it had seemed artsy then. Watched this one nostalgically but this did not do it for me at all. Read morePublished 25 days ago by AlreadyThere
This is one of the most entertaining films I have ever watched.Superb storytelling, superb craftsmanship!Published 2 months ago by AB
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