Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail
Top Customer Reviews
The story is about a prince who is being hunted by his bitrailling brother. To escape, he relize on the help of a handful of loyal samurai as they covertley try to pass a main check point even though all enemy warriors are on high alert. This is why the movie is also called "They who step on tiger's Tail.
I loved the acting of the lead General who is disguessed as a Yamabushi(Priest Samurai). If you wanted to see Kabuki or understand one of the elements that set Kurasawa's style apart from other Directors, then see this movie. I'm buying the DVD as soon as Amozon.com gets it.
Some of the themes introduced are: Hidden/obscured identity: The Prince who poses as a porter prefigures (inversely), the great Tatsuya Nakadai role of the thief who poses as an emperor in "Kagemusha".
Comedic relief: The "real" porter of "Tiger's Tail", played by the comedian Enoken (hugely popular in the libertine Asakusa district of Tokyo during the war and early post-war period) prefigures the use of a similar comic figure in Kurosawa's last great period film: "Ran" in which "Peter" plays the fool for comic relief, and ultimately, pathos.Double your pleasure and double your fun with the two peasant figures in "The Hidden Fortress"!
Japanese Culture as inspiration: Kurosawa will dip into this well often, and bring something wonderful to the screen. "Throne of Blood" references Noh masks and performance, "Tiger's Tail" references Kabuki.
In summation, then, this film is valuable for itself, and for the indications of Kurosawa's future directions and interests in film. Recommended to the general viewer, and most highly recommended for those who appreciate classic Japanese films. For Kurosawa buffs, essential viewing.
What does transpire is a testimant to the bravery and cunning of the movie's main characters and their ability keep their cool at all times. Perhaps Kurosawa is saying that courage is not found in senseless suicidal warfare but in standing tall and peacefully persuading your adversary. Not a bad message for Japan in 1944.
For those Kurosawa fans who like the Samurai movies, I guess TMWTOTTT would qualify as one as well. It's only an hour long but it has some impressive acting. Kurosawa made this movie for Japanese audiences (well, Duh!) and the subject matter will probably fail to interest most Western audiences. For general fans of Kurosawa, this early movie has some impressive moments.
Rating = **
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Producer: Motohiko Itou
Film = two (2) stars; score = three (3) stars; cinematography = barely three (3) stars; restoration = 2.5 stars; script =2.5 stars. Director Akira Kurosawa (who also wrote the movie script, but not the play) presents a less-than-successful mash up of stage play and motion picture. This slice-of-life or existential play/movie has no beginning (unless you count the extensive lead-in expository text and singing which is essentially a filmed version of a play's program notes) or end with not much happening in between. The title (mentioned in the expository text) may be semi historical, but does not make much/any sense for the name of the play/movie. Fleeting mature acting is all but buried (or blown up) by the juvenile antics of comedian Motohiko Itou who Kurosawa allows to run roughshod over the play/movie. (This character seems to be a fugitive from a Saturday-morning TV show for three-year olds.) Itou's performance is not only a self caricature, but gives a vast new meaning to the word "ludicrous." (His persistent performance soon becomes extremely painful to watch!) The pace of the play/movie is slow and the result is boring. Kurosawa's focus is on talking heads with almost zero physical action. A major reediting seems to be in order to both shorten the play/movie and remove 90 percent of Itou's "bolt-on" embarrassing performance.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I viewed a version of this film on cable and was so moved by the strong acting and poetic dialogue (as related in the sub-titles--I am not a Japanese speaker) that I ordered this... Read morePublished on February 5, 2011 by Mowog
I had never heard of this Japanese film, and rented the DVD based on Kurosawa-san's name, a skimpy description about samurai disguised as monks escorting their feudal Lord who is... Read morePublished on December 4, 2010 by Jean
This film stands along side Seven Samurai and Ikiru as a truly magnificent production. I own it on vhs and purchased the Dvd with delight only to be shocked by the extremely poor... Read morePublished on October 12, 2008 by Saiko-komon
My star rating is for the film itself, which is very good early Kurosawa. HOWEVER, I own the Mei Ah Hong Kong disc, which is completely unwatchable due to a bad pressing. Read morePublished on June 22, 2008 by Robert H. Knox
I watched Kurosawa's They Who Step on Tiger's Tail yesterday and am here today to order a copy. Everything about it was excellent. Read morePublished on February 7, 2008 by anonymous