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Criterion Collection: Throne of Blood [Blu-ray]

Toshiro Mifune , Isuzu Yamada , Akira Kurosawa    Unrated   Blu-ray
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
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Criterion Collection: Throne of Blood [Blu-ray] + Criterion Collection: Thief [Blu-ray] + Criterion Collection: Rififi [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
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A champion of illumination and experimental shading, Kurosawa brings his unerring eye for indelible images to Shakespeare in this 1957 adaptation of Macbeth. By changing the locale from Birnam Wood to 16th-century Japan, Kurosawa makes an oddball argument for the trans-historicity of Shakespeare's narrative; and indeed, stripped to the bare mechanics of the plot, the tale of cutthroat ambition rewarded (and thwarted) feels infinitely adaptable. What's lost in the translation, of course, is the force and beauty of the language--much of the script of Throne of Blood is maddeningly repetitive or superfluous--but striking visual images (including the surreal Cobweb Forest and some extremely artful gore) replace the sublime poetry. Toshiro Mifune is theatrically intense as Washizu, the samurai fated to betray his friend and master in exchange for the prestige of nobility; he portrays the ill-fated warrior with a passion bordering on violence, and a barely concealed conviviality. Somewhat less successful is Isuzu Yamada as Washizu's scheming wife; her poise and creepy impassivity, chilling at first, soon grows tedious. Kurosawa himself is the star of the show, though, and his masterful use of black-and-white contrast-- not to mention his steady, dramatic hand with a battle scene--keeps the proceedings thrilling. A must-see for fans of Japanese cinema, as well as all you devotees of samurai weapons and armor. --Miles Bethany

Special 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

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I just read Macbeth in British Lit class April 28 2004
By Vincent
After reading Macbeth in Lit class, I wanted to watch a movie adaptation and I happened to run into this one, I had heard on amazon.com that this was a Japanese adaptation of Macbeth and I picked it up, I really enjoyed it, much more than I expected to. Akira Kurosawa did a great job in this, it is old and the technology is limited but I loved it, I showed it to my friends who had not read the book but they loved the film as well, especially the ending, if you have seen it, you'll know what I mean, I do not wish to ruin it for anyone, anyway, the DVD price is quite high but if you are thinking of buying it, I suggest trying to rent it somewhere or obtain it temporarily from somewhere or someone and then decide to buy it or not, good movie, enjoy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Mastery of Kurosawa!!! Jan. 4 2004
By steven
Format:VHS Tape
I am, just like 50 others that have strenuously written customer reviews for this classic Kurosawa Akira masterpiece, from Nagoya International School. My class has worked on Shakespeare's MacBeth, and has watched four different versions of the play on video. It was my favorite. Of the four, this was the only version in which the setting was completely removed from the original (Scotland) setting and was in Japan. "Japan? MacBeth?" you might think. Even though a lot of the valuable Shakespearian English quotes have inevitably been replaced by those that are Japanese, the main themes of loyalties and ambitions are nevertheless shown very well. They are not necessarily shown in a similar fashion, but they are shown. You will probably know what I mean if you watch the movie. It is suprising; Japan is on the opposite side of the world if you are in Scotland. But the unique feudal system of Japan, with its own distinct classes of nobility, allow the main storyline of MacBeth to flow smoothly in a pre-Tokugawa era Japanese setting. And don't forget: Mr. Kurosawa created this classic film. He does not remain in filmmaking history for nothing. From interesting camera angles (looking up at the characters from the dirt?) to rapidly changing, exciting horse-riding scenes, Kurosawa makes the black and white characters come alive in times of tension. Just remember: if you have no good movies around and you have nothing to do, and you suddenly stumble upon The Throne of Blood, pick it up and watch it. Yes, its 42 years old. But does it really make a difference if its interesting?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Decree of a Known Future� Jan. 2 2004
Shakespeare's 'MacBeth' is made into Japanese film history through Kurosawa's magical touch. The two warlords Washizu (Toshirô Mifune) and Miki are loyal to their ruler and on their way to display their loyalty they get lost in the Cobweb Forest. Bewildered and lost in the impenetrable forest they follow the laughter of an evil spirit that foretells the future of the two men. When the two men exit the woods they are promoted by their leader and once at home Washizu tells his wife about the encounter with the evil spirit. His gritty wife sways Washizu to take action and help the prophesy fulfill itself. Throne of Blood is a remarkable tragedy that keeps the audience gasping for air as greed, betrayal, guilt, and punishment are taking form on the screen.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Dec 25 2003
This is a fascinating film. This is not really, as commonly assumed, a Japanese version of MacBeth. Kurosawa and his co-workers used the plot of MacBeth as a point of departure to make a superb film about ambition and betrayal. Set in Medieval Japan during a period of constant turmoil, Throne of Blood uses much of the plot of MacBeth. There is no effort to use the great language of Shakespeare, rather Kurosawa and his team reimagined MacBeth in a very specific Japanese context. To substitute for the power and poetry of Shakespeare's writing, Kurosawa uses his distinctive and striking visual style and acting techniques borrowed from Noh theatre. Use of the latter is particularly appropriate as Noh first became popular and matured as an art form during this period of Japanese history. Kurosawa also gives this film a undercurrent of Buddhist disdain for superficial aspects of life. This film is visually striking, gripping in plot, and features wonderful performances, particularly those of Toshiro Mifune and Izusu Yamada as the MacBeth and Lady MacBeth equivalents. One of Kurosawa's best films.
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4.0 out of 5 stars 'Mononoke'... Dec 25 2003
By Takuma
Format:VHS Tape
I am a student at Nagoya International School, and have recently studied Shakespeare's Macbeth in my English class. After reading the original Macbeth, we watched several versions (Polanski, BBC, and RSC) which included Kurosawa's version of Macbeth, "Throne of Blood". Each of Polanski, BBC, and RSC version reflected Shakespeare's original version of Macbeth, its rich and fluent language, and its fabulously distributed plot. Because of language difference, and difficulty to transfer Shakespearian language directly into Japanese, it seemed as though the value has been lost, but as a Japanese citizen, I was eager to understand that Kurosawa had used old fashioned Japanese language in his film, which created an harmony which can be compared to or to support the lackness of Shakespeare's language. I also enjoyed the way how Kurosawa transferred the witches of the original version, into 'evil spirits' or what is called 'mononoke' in Japanese. Kurosawa probably named the forest and the castle to match the evil spirit , or Macbeth's (Washizu) fate. The evil spirit appeared in white robe, with white messy hair, spinning a wheel in its hand, a stereotype of what a Japanese would imagine as a 'mononoke'. Cobweb or 'spider' was such a great aspect to extract the evilness of the original witches of Macbeth, because of the replacement of the witches to a 'mononoke'. The black and white film also contributed to express the 'spookiness' in the evil spirit. With some of these changes, Kurosawa perfectly fitted Macbeth itself from an English story into a brand new Japanese film, using ancient Japanese culture (ex. feudal systems, japanese chivalry). He was successful in translating the original Macbeth for the Japanese, to spread the wonderfulness of the Shakespearian plays to a new and wide ranged people.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful image quality"
It seems to be alive.

rome film highest. criterion is the monoch

Thank you for the high-definition disk.

Purchase is recommended.
Published 3 months ago by kure
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!
Great classic movie re-mastered to perfection. This is the best interpretation of Macbeth..with Japanese flair added. If Akira Korasawa films are your thing get this!
Published 5 months ago by Patricia Shakespeare
5.0 out of 5 stars Samurai Macbeth
Image Macbeth as a samurai lord. That's what this film does. Its an interesting blend of an old Scottish story as filtered through Shakespeare and then transported into medieval... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Nigel
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
The movie is amazing, and contains many of Kurosawa's greatest moments. As a Japanese adaptation of Shakespeare it's fascinating.
The DVD quality is beautiful. Read more
Published on Dec 9 2005
5.0 out of 5 stars Akira Kurosawa just knew how to make great movies.....
Akira Kurosawa's Throne Of Blood may very well be his best, ranking up there with Seven Samurai, Ran, Yojimbo, Rashomon, and The Hidden Fortess. Read more
Published on April 26 2004 by scott belba
3.0 out of 5 stars Macbeth around the globe
Throne of Blood is an Akira Kurosawa's rendition Shakespeare's Macbeth. The story pretty much is the same with a few minor character changes, one sprit instead of three witches... Read more
Published on April 21 2004 by M. Miller
2.0 out of 5 stars Great Looking, but Witless Version of Macbeth
I love Kurosawa, but this stripped down version of Macbeth is no Ran, his tribute to King Lear, which even my 11 year old loved. Read more
Published on April 16 2004 by David J. Forsmark
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Film From Kurosawa
Widly considered as one of the greatest shakespearean film adaptations ever made. Akira Kurosawa's Throne of Blood is a very different adaptation of Macbeth set in feudal japan. Read more
Published on March 4 2004 by "miikethkiller"
3.0 out of 5 stars 1 star for the DVD, 5 for the flim
The remastering is slightly noticably better than the VHS,
but only slightly. The image format is also not wide-screen. Read more
Published on Jan. 4 2004
1.0 out of 5 stars Throne of Boredom
I have currently done extensive studies of Shakespeare's Macbeth. I watched Kurosawa's movie Throne of Blood and was told to compare the two. Read more
Published on Dec 27 2003 by Heather
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