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Essential Art House: Hidden Fortress

Toshirô Mifune , Misa Uehara , Akira Kurosawa    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 22.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Essential Art House: Hidden Fortress + Yojimbo and Sanjuro: Two Samurai Films by Akira Kurosawa (The Criterion Collection) + Rashomon
Price For All Three: CDN$ 118.97


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Product Description

Amazon.ca

In one of the many classic collaborations between director Akira Kurosawa and his leading man Toshirô Mifune, this 1958 film tells the story of a warrior and a princess trying against all odds to return to their homeland with their fortune. Along the way, they are simultaneously assisted and thwarted by two itinerant and not too bright farmers with their own designs on the treasure, giving the story a subtle comic bent. The Hidden Fortress combines an epic tale of struggle and honor with modern comic sensibilities, creating a masterful addition to world cinema. --Robert Lane

Product Description

Widely remembered as the film that inspired George Lucas’s Star Wars, The Hidden Fortress is one of Akira Kurosawa’s most popular works, a thrillingly choreographed and cleverly written tale of chivalry and greed in medieval Japan, featuring Toshiro Mifune as a weary general in charge of protecting a princess (Misa Uehara).

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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 can not get enough! Feb. 1 2004
Format:DVD
I am incredibly impressed by the story and the characters. The duel scene blew me away.
I was bored one night and decided to go see a movie. The only thing that even remotely interested me was 'The Last Samurai.' Although I walked out of the theatre feeling slightly disappointed, that a movie with such potential would have to be ruined by typical hollywoodism, and the poor choice of casting Tom Cruise, it left me with a curiousity about other Samurai themed movies. This is how I stumbled across Kurosawa.
Although lacking the blood, and special effects of newer releases, it lacks absolutely none of the intensity. In fact, I was on the edge of my seat during 'the duel.' This movie is a lesson perhaps, in how acting is taking a second to special effects lately, and how the opposite should be the case.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A change of pace from Kurosawa May 16 2004
Format:DVD
A number of people, when they discuss this Kurosawa film along with The Seven Samurai and his other films, treat it like a bastard at a family reunion. Apparently, they were expecting a "HIGH DRAMA" or "BADASS" movie. If they were, then they deserve to be disappointed.
The Hidden Fortress is NOT an epic that gives great insight into the code of the samurai or other such nonsense. It's a fun romp through the misadventures of several bungling "heroes": Two greedy, cowardly peasants, a knight very similar to the young Obi-Wan Kenobi, and a bitchy, aloof Princess Yuki of Akizuki (a name that sounds like something from Dr. Seuss). They are trying to smuggle the Akizuki treasury (gold bars hidden in firewood) and the princess to safety. But greed, lust and stupidity keep getting in the way.
This movie is more of an old-style caper film than a samurai epic. The dumb, double-dealing characters are more from The Lavender Hill Mob than MacBeth. What makes the characters more interesting is that the two peasants don't hold a monopoly on greed and harebrained "cunning plans" that would make Baldric from The Black Adder proud, and the knight and the princess don't hold all the courage and nobility cards, either. In fact, the two peasants come up with a plan that literally saves their necks.
The way the film is told from the point of view of the two lowliest characters was quite novel and an obvious influence on George Lucas when he made the first Star Wars. The Hidden Fortress is a great movie in its own right, though. One shot in particular will stick in your mind. At the beginning you see a wounded samurai on foot getting cut down by horsemen. It is stark, shocking and weirdly beautiful.
To people with open minds without preconceived notions of what should and should not be in a Kurosawa film, The Hidden Fortress is a great movie.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A change of pace from Kurosawa May 16 2004
Format:DVD
A number of people, when they discuss this Kurosawa film along with The Seven Samurai and his other films, treat it like a bastard at a family reunion. Apparently, they were expecting a "HIGH DRAMA" or "BADASS" movie. If they were, then they deserve to be disappointed.
The Hidden Fortress is NOT an epic that gives great insight into the code of the samurai or other such nonsense. It's a fun romp through the misadventures of several bungling "heroes": Two greedy, cowardly peasants, a knight very similar to the young Obi-Wan Kenobi, and a bitchy, aloof Princess Yuki of Akizuki (a name that sounds like something from Dr. Seuss). They are trying to smuggle the Akizuki treasury (gold bars hidden in firewood) and the princess to safety. But greed, lust and stupidity keep getting in the way.
This movie is more of an old-style caper film than a samurai epic. The dumb, double-dealing characters are more from The Lavender Hill Mob than MacBeth. What makes the characters more interesting is that the two peasants don't hold a monopoly on greed and harebrained "cunning plans" that would make Baldric from The Black Adder proud, and the knight and the princess don't hold all the courage and nobility cards, either. In fact, the two peasants come up with a plan that literally saves their necks.
The way the film is told from the point of view of the two lowliest characters was quite novel and an obvious influence on George Lucas when he made the first Star Wars. The Hidden Fortress is a great movie in its own right, though.
To people with open minds without preconceived notions of what should and should not be in a Kurosawa film, The Hidden Fortress is a great movie.
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5.0 out of 5 stars from a common perspective... Feb. 3 2004
Format:DVD
Ok, so countless reviewers here love it, critics have praised it, and fans have enjoyed it. Still haven't seen it? Perhaps a layman's review will change your mind. The first time I saw this I enjoyed it somewhat but didn't fully appreciate it until later viewings. The film started rather slow for me, to the point where i was close to giving up on it. But right about the time we meet up with the spunky and beautiful princess(who has an unfortunate habit of innocently bending over) and on to the start of their actual adventure away from the fortress, I was thoroughly captivated and actually cared for and about these characters(even the two greedy/wimpy ex-soldiers/farmers). It was fun seeing them get into certain predicaments and wondering how they were going to get out of them(very clever and lucky how they got out of certain situations). If you're looking for lots of samurai action you won't find it here, so i'll lower that expectation right now. But if you want to root for a group of characters on their perilous yet fun adventure, it will be easy cause this film succeeds in delivering both. It helps if you like these types of films but in no way is it a requirement to enjoy The Hidden Fortress.
Some standout aspects:
* some very memorable scenes like the massive prisoner escape scene, the scene where Mifune inadvertently rides into the enemy camp, and the scene where a peasant girl is protecting the princess by holding a big rock for the longest time.
* great performances, especially by Mifune as the unflappable general
* a sense of "how the heck are they gonna get out of that" is present throughout the film that keeps you interested.
Plus, some fine writing, cinematography, and humor to keep everything moving along. I highly suggest you see this film but I hope a better dvd version comes along. This film deserves a special edition with all the extras. Overall, highly recommended.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars great film
After losing a war, an old warrior, two bumbling theives, and peasant girl try to help a princess escape to an allied clan to rebuild her nation. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Nigel
3.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre, for Kurosawa
Granted, Kurosawa's mediocre is any other director's masterpiece, but still, I thought this 1958 effort fell somewhat short. Read more
Published on June 30 2004 by brewster22
5.0 out of 5 stars Hidden Gem
I enjoyed this movie immensely...simply because I judged it on its own merit. While its an adventure with a bit of action and drama it is mostly comedy Kurosawa style. Read more
Published on March 15 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars A great start to enjoy Japanese cinema
Kurasawa's "Hidden Fortress" is often hailed as "the inspiration for 'Star Wars.'" While perhaps that's a little overstated, Kurasawa definitely had a lot of... Read more
Published on March 11 2004 by karltonwrites
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun Kurosawa classic
Somehow Kurosawa always manages to imbue his films with an artistry that surpasses the often straightforward (but not simplistic) plots. The Hidden Fortress is no exception. Read more
Published on Jan. 28 2004 by Kurosawa Fan
5.0 out of 5 stars LUSH
In Brief
Protected by her closest general but trapped in enemy territory, a young princess is aided by two hapless farmers. Read more
Published on Jan. 7 2004 by T. J. Bacon
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid.
Another solid film from the Japanese master Kurosawa. Watch for the ceremony that happens near the end of the movie. I didn't know they had ceremonies like that in Japan!
Published on Dec 31 2003 by Dhaval Vyas
5.0 out of 5 stars A long time ago...in a land far far away
Seriously, though, this classic movie by Akira Kurosawa was the film that inspired George Lucas's Star Wars, the classic first one, that is. Read more
Published on Dec 25 2003 by Daniel J. Hamlow
5.0 out of 5 stars JEDI: Lucas should be ashamed of himself
I loved this movie Hidden Fortress; it's a great movie. It's funny & has a really great cinematic style. It's just too bad that George Lucas has to be associated w/it. Read more
Published on Dec 16 2003
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