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

4.3 out of 5 stars 149 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

This Japanese "Macbeth" features a samurai, his scheming wife and a flurry-of-arrows finale. Directed by Akira Kurosawa.

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

  • 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: 1.37:1
    • Number of discs: 2
    • Rated:
      NR
      Not Rated
    • Studio: Criterion Collection
    • DVD Release Date: January 7, 2014
    • Run Time: 109 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B00GBT62N8
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,584 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    By Zack Davisson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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.
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    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.
    Read more ›
    32 Comments 62 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    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.
    2 Comments 41 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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