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Throne of Blood (The Criterion Collection)
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- New high-definition transfer with restored image and sound
- Audio Commentary by Japanese-film expert Michael Jeck
- New essay by Stephen Prince (The Warrior's Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa)
- Two alternative subtitle translations: a new version from renowned Japanese-film translator Linda Hoagland, and Kurowawa expert Donald Richie's subtitles utilizing Jacobean diction
- Notes on subtitling by Linda Hoagland and Donald Richie
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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 ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was an excellent adaptation of Shakespeare's "Macbeth". It was filmed beautifully and the acting was wonderful. It is not in english but there are subtitles. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Mikayla
Saw this movie on amc and was so good i bought the movie next day.Published 11 months ago by Jason Allen
One of a number of films that Akira Kurosawa made in the 1950s and which have become classics, THRONE OF BLOOD is the director's adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth, set in feudal... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Christopher Culver
First off, let me be clear, any level of remastering done to this DVD is not substantial enough to fix the fact that this was made a long time ago and the quality of the film used... Read morePublished 14 months ago by C.J.
"Lady Macbeth" is especially creepy in a good way. The horse ride home from consorting with the Evil Spirit is laughably tedious. On the whole a good film.Published 15 months ago by james r todd
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