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Throne of Blood (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray + DVD) (1957)

 NR |  Blu-ray
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)

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Throne of Blood (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray + DVD) + The Hidden Fortress (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray + DVD] + Rashomon (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Black & White, Subtitled
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: January 7, 2014
  • Run Time: 109 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00GBT62N8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,768 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

DUAL-FORMAT BLU-RAY AND DVD SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
  • New, restored 2K digital film transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary featuring Japanese-film expert Michael Jeck
  • Documentary on the making of Throne of Blood, created as part of the Toho Masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create
  • Two alternate subtitle translations, by Japanese-film translator Linda Hoaglund and Kurosawa expert Donald Richie
  • Trailer
  • One Blu-ray and one DVD, with all content available in both formats
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film historian Stephen Prince and notes on the subtitling by Hoaglund and Richie

  • Editorial Reviews

    A vivid, visceral Macbeth adaptation, Throne of Blood, directed by Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai), sets Shakespeare's definitive tale of ambition and duplicity in a ghostly, fog-enshrouded landscape in feudal Japan. As a tough warrior who rises savagely to power, Toshiro Mifune (Yojimbo) gives a remarkable, animalistic performance, as does Isuzu Yamada (Black River) as his ruthless wife. Throne of Blood fuses classical Western tragedy with formal elements taken from Noh theater to create an unforgettable cinematic experience. DUAL-FORMAT BLU-RAY AND DVD SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES New, restored 2K digital film transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray Audio commentary featuring Japanese-film expert Michael Jeck Documentary on the making of Throne of Blood, created as part of the Toho Masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create Two alternate subtitle translations, by Japanese-film translator Linda Hoaglund and Kurosawa expert Donald Richie Trailer One Blu-ray and one DVD, with all content available in both formats PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film historian Stephen Prince and notes on the subtitling by Hoaglund and Richie

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    63 of 65 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Two great tastes that go great together! October 8, 2001
    Format:VHS Tape
    Kurosawa and Shakespeare are a winning combination. With "Throne of Blood," Kurosawa strips Macbeth to the bare bones of plot, then packs on new flesh in the form of scheming ambition in feudal Japan.
    In this version, Washizu (Macbeth) is somewhat simple, and content with what comes his way, be it castle or fort, honor or deceit. His wife, the infamous Lady Macbeth, is chillingly calm and dangerous. She has no interest in her husband's contentment, and knows that the only way to advance her position is to advance the position of her husband, by whatever means necessary. Her role as the spider is particularly suited to the halls of the Cobweb Castle.
    The acting and filming are up to the quality that one expects from Kurosawa and Mifune. The pacing of the film is full of dynamic contrasts, going from heart-pounding action to patient silence. This film is not spoon-fed to you, but demands your concentration. The visuals are particularly stunning in "Throne of Blood." The cobweb forest is haunting, and the single weird sister, all in white spinning in a white cage, maintains the same chilling calmness of Washizu's wife.
    One of the many nice touches of "Throne of Blood" is the chance to see that Samurai at the height of their power. These are not the poor, struggling warriors of "Seven Samurai" or "Yojimbo." Washizu is decked out in full armor for the bulk of the film, and his castle is defended and attacked by well-dressed armies. Each lord is powerful and wields mighty forces.
    Oh, and of course, the big finish. All I can say is wow.
    Comment | 
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    51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars A Kurosawa Classic December 7, 2003
    Format:DVD
    A great deal has been made of the fact that THRONE OF BLOOD (also known as SPIDER'S WEB CASTLE) is drawn from one of Shakespeare's most celebrated plays. This is both a blessing and a curse, for while it gives western audiences a point of reference, it also invites all sorts of comparisons that viewers familiar with the Shakespeare play feel honor-bound to make--and that can get in the way of seeing the film as it is rather than what we expect it to be. And that would be a great pity, because what it is in and of itself is quite fine indeed.

    The cast is a very strong ensemble, with frequent Kurosawa star Torshiro Mifune leading the film with a remarkably fine performance as the ambitious warrior Taketori Washizu. To my mind, however, the most memorable performance is offered by Isuzu Yamada as Lady Washizu--who plays the role with a demonic stillness that cracks into physical action only when she is completely sure of herself or in utter desperation. It is one of the most disturbing characterizations I have ever encountered.

    As usual in any Kurosawa film, the imagery involved is extremely powerful, and the moody tone of the film quickly draws viewers in--and once ensnared there is no escape; the film holds your attention with considerable ease throughout. Even so, I would not recommend THRONE OF BLOOD to western audiences who have never seen a Kurosawa film, for it is so completely Japanese in aesthetic that some may find it hard to grasp. It is best seen after you are already familiar with both Kurosawa's work and Japanese cinema in general.
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    34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute excellence March 22, 2006
    Format:DVD
    Throne of Blood is a masterpiece by one of the world's greatest film makers at the height of his powers.

    Only Kurosawa could take the essence of Shakespearian stage drama and incorporate it into the medium of film as a dynamic tour de force. Yet at the same time he remains faithful to elements of Noh (a stagy traditional Japanese play-form in which design and movement are minimalized). A seeming contradiction, dynamism and static-ness yet Kurosawa masters both in the same medium. As usual; acting, writing, cinematography, sound, direction and production are all pitch perfect.

    In this second Shakespearian based film by Kurosawa, focus is on the interplay of fate, free will and the fine thread the human psyche uses to weave the two together. On a more simpler level it is a man living and dying by the sword. In short what goes around comes around. What comes around for Toshiro Mifune as he gets his just deserts is a scene with straight as an arrow, perfect direction by Kurosawa leading to quite a pointed culminatin of events (pun intended...see the movie you'll understand).

    Bonus features include excellent linear notes as well as the superb commentary of Donald Richie. Few people are more knowledgeable about film and Japanese film then he. The commentary is almost as interesting as the movie itself.

    As usual Criterion presents its film in pristine condition. Some may complain that Criterion is too pricey but with them you get the best cinema has to offer. You cannot go wrong. One Kurosawa masterpiece packs more poignancy, punch and philosophy then 10 lesser films thus you get 10 times the movie at 5 times the price, really quite a deal if you look at it that way.
    Was this review helpful to you?
    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    4.0 out of 5 stars Item arrived right on time. The case was a ...
    Item arrived right on time. The case was a little cracked, but hey it was a Criterion Collection blu-ray on the cheaps. A+
    Published 4 days ago by Jon A.
    4.0 out of 5 stars The Japanese Macbeth.
    Awesome to use in conjunction with teaching Macbeth.
    Published 1 month ago by Anna Dufur
    5.0 out of 5 stars love
    if your a fan of either toshiro mifune or akira kurosawa then do yourself a favor and just pick up the movie. its now one of my favorites.
    Published 2 months ago by elimelec
    2.0 out of 5 stars Great Smoke and Fog; Terrible Movie
    A case study of a filmmaker’s botched attempt to high jack the acclaim of his source materials. The script is co-written by the director. Read more
    Published 3 months ago by William F. Flanigan Jr.
    4.0 out of 5 stars Anothet Kurosawa Gem
    I had seen this film years ago and was pleased to see it released on BR. Criterion did their usual exemplary job on this and it looks superb. Read more
    Published 3 months ago by Michael Berry
    5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic staging of the Macbeth story!
    The movie is a very stylized, almost abstract version of Macbeth. It's wonderfully eerie. The pacing is a little slow for some people, but for me it emphasized the Macbeth... Read more
    Published 4 months ago by D. Hawkins
    4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting Twist on a timeless classic
    Being known of the original MacBeth. I was able to relate to the movie quite a bit. It is interesting to see the story told differently and is an enjoyable film.
    Published 6 months ago by Kenny Arnold
    5.0 out of 5 stars A great great great film.
    One of Kurosawa's best samurai films, you won't believe how thrilling it is! MacBeth happens to be my favorite Shakespearean play too. Read more
    Published 6 months ago by T. Trinchera
    5.0 out of 5 stars Throne of Blood
    No one dose Shakesper better than the Japanese except may be the Klingons. This is one of my favorites along with Ran.
    Published 7 months ago by michael
    5.0 out of 5 stars This movie
    It's incredible. From start to finish, it's not boring, it doesn't drag on, and it shows a completely different style of cinema that's incredible to watch.
    Published 7 months ago by The_Greenarrow
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