The Hidden Fortress DVD
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Directed by Akira Kurosawa
Produced in 1958
Main Language - JAPANESE with English subtitles
Set in the clan wars of 16th century Japan, a solitary Samurai escorts a young fugitive princess on the run through enemy territory. Treatment is part traditional (Noh theatre) and part eclectic (John Ford) resulting in a stirring action adventure which inspired Star Wars.
Length: 138 mins
Aspect ratio: Widescreen
Format: DVD B&W
Released: 25th March 2002
Cat No: BFIVD506
- Interview with George Lucas about Kurosawa and The Hidden Fortress.
by Anon on 19th February 2002
Unlike the claustrophobic reality of Stray Dog, 1958's The Hidden Fortress is the closest Kurosawa came to fairy tale. Japan in the 16th century is ripe with civil war... Read on
Unlike the claustrophobic reality of Stray Dog, 1958's The Hidden Fortress is the closest Kurosawa came to fairy tale. Japan in the 16th century is ripe with civil wars, and General Makabe (Toshiro Mifune) must lead the stubborn Princess Yukihime (Misa Uehara) along with 1600 pounds of gold, through enemy territory to a safe province. The enemies of the princess have offered a reward for her capture, so the feisty aristocrat is forced to travel disguised as a mute. Joining the princess and her general are two argumentative, mercenary farmers, whose lust for the gold that they are transporting both amuses and appalls. Again Kurosawa takes a simple story, but under his masterful direction the picture unfolds beautifully, and the viewer readily believes in this particular fairy story as, ironically, the characters are all too human. This is truly one of Kurosawa's most eclectic movies, with hats off to myth and legend, Noh theatre, and, not for the first time, a big thank you to John Ford and the Western. The Hidden Fortress was Kurosawa's last film for Toho productions and his first in wide screen format. The film was to have a major influence on George Lucas and a little thing called Star Wars (Lucas replacing the bickering farmers with droids R2 D2 and C 3P0). The Hidden Fortress may not receive the praise of Rashomon or Seven Samurai, but if it is not amongst Kurosawa's most acclaimed films, it should be amongst his most enjoyable.
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