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Throne of Blood

Toshir˘ Mifune , Minoru Chiaki , Akira Kurosawa    Unrated   DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
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Product Description


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 Samurai Macbeth Dec 24 2013
By Nigel
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
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 Japan. It works brilliantly.
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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 (Toshir˘ 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 Beautiful image quality" June 21 2014
By kure
It seems to be alive.

rome film highest. criterion is the monoch

Thank you for the high-definition disk.

Purchase is recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome! April 21 2014
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
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!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Macbeth around the globe April 21 2004
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 for example, and some obviously included contextual changes, set in pre-modern Samurai Japan. I understand that it has historical relevance and all, but really the movie itself is nothing too special. It is just an ok movie.
Now that I have said that, I feel I need to warn the viewers out there who do not usually watch foreign films. These people must be wary of, if it bothers them, the fact that the film in black and white. I understand that some people cannot sit through black and white films. There is also lack of ongoing action, typical Shakespeare, that we are used to, and that puts some people to sleep, so be warned about that too. I feel that you should watch it for your own cultural and mental advancement, but unless you like the genres of Japanese/Samurai films or Shakespeare adaptations then you probably will not like it. In addition, it is in Japanese, so if you do not like subtitles then you should be warned once again. I recommend you watch it, but at the same time I feel that once is enough.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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.
A telling of Macbeth the film takes place in the time of the samurai. Tashiro Mifune plays Washizu a worrior who betrays his master and friend on his climb to the ultimite of power.
After encountering a witch in the woods who tells Washizu that he will take the place of his master Washizu, with the not so suddle proding of his wicked wife, dose everything in his power to gain, the lose control, of everything.
Kurosawa had done Shakespear before, quite possably the best telling of King Lear was Ran, but this time he strips everything down to the bear bone and unlike some films from Japan, the acting, manic and frantic, seeems only to enhance the film. Mifune is fantastic as Washizu, the ill fated worrior.
The movie grabs you right from the beggining and never lets go. It's a very violent film for it's time but if you ever want to see a master at his craft look no further than Akira Kurosawa'a Throne Of Blood.
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