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Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail

3.4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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(Jul 01, 2008)
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Special Features

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Product Details

  • Directors: Akira Kurosawa
  • Format: Import, NTSC
  • Region: All Regions
  • Studio: Mei Ah
  • DVD Release Date: July 1, 2008
  • Run Time: 59 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002JC62E
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #172,217 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
This is unlike other Kurasawa films and therefore less known in the west. In his other films, Kurasawa uses camera angles, settings , motion and music to grab the viewer and immerse him into the movie. In "Tiger's Tail " there is very little camera work or settings-In fact, I remember only three:the forest,The checkpoint and The Road. This movie instead draws all its power and intensity by using Kabuki styled acting and motion.
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.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Kurosawa's film "The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail" (alternate titles exist) brings to the screen many of the themes the master director will explore fulsomely in later films. This early piece is charming, particularly rewarding for fans of classic Japanese film.

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.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Suppose we came across an unknown early John Ford film about a moment in US history. Maybe it could be about the Surrender at Appomattox, the first Thanksgiving, the surrender of Sitting Bull, or some other real event that could qualify as both history and folklore. Wouldn't it be worthwhile to see the emerging artistry of the young director and get his take on a popular moment in time? I'm assuming that this was how the Japanese viewed Kurosawa's "The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail". It covers a moment in time in Japanese history but one that is unknown to those of us in the Western World. Kurosawa treats this event with respect for the heroes as well as respect for the audience (by injecting a fair amount of humor). I mention all of this because "The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail" is a movie that suggests that it will turn into an action film yet it never does. That would be like Robert E. Lee throwing down the pen and starting a sword fight with US Grant, the pilgrims dropping the drumstick and grabbing the blunderbuss, or Sitting Bull changing his mind and scalping the fort commandant.

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.
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Format: DVD
TORA NO O WO FUMU OTOKOTACHI (THE MEN WHO TREAD ON THE TIGER'S TAIL / THEY WHO STEP ON THE TAIL OF THE TIGER /THEY WHO STEP ON THE TIGER'S TAIL / WALKERS ON THE TIGER'S TAIL / TIGER'S TAIL MEN STEP ON [LIT.]). Warmed Over Noh Play Posing As A Poorly Executed Movie.

Rating = **
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Producer: Motohiko Itou
DVD
1945

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.
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