IMDb > Throne of Blood (1957)
Kumonosu-jô
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Throne of Blood (1957) More at IMDbPro »Kumonosu-jô (original title)

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Overview

User Rating:
8.2/10   23,192 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Hideo Oguni (screenplay) &
Shinobu Hashimoto (screenplay) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Throne of Blood on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
22 November 1961 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
A war-hardened general, egged on by his ambitious wife, works to fulfill a prophecy that he would become lord of Spider's Web Castle. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
3 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
"Every Samurai Longs To Be Master Of A Castle" See more (100 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Toshirô Mifune ... Taketoki Washizu
Isuzu Yamada ... Lady Asaji Washizu

Takashi Shimura ... Noriyasu Odagura
Akira Kubo ... Yoshiteru Miki
Hiroshi Tachikawa ... Kunimaru Tsuzuki (as Yôichi Tachikawa)
Minoru Chiaki ... Yoshiaki Miki
Takamaru Sasaki ... Kuniharu Tsuzuki
Gen Shimizu
Kuninori Kôdô ... Military Commander
Kichijirô Ueda ... Washizu's workman
Eiko Miyoshi ... Old Woman at castle
Chieko Naniwa ... Old Ghost Woman
Nakajirô Tomita ... Second Military Commander
Yû Fujiki ... Washizu samurai
Sachio Sakai ... Washizu samurai
Shin Ôtomo ... Washizu samurai
Yoshio Tsuchiya ... Washizu samurai
Yoshio Inaba ... Third Military Commander
Takeo Oikawa ... Miki party member
Akira Tani ... Washizu soldier
Ikio Sawamura ... Washizu soldier
Yutaka Sada ... Washizu samurai
Seijirô Onda ... Second Miki party member
Shinpei Takagi ... Commander
Masao Masuda ... Commander
Mitsuo Asano
Shôbun Inoue ... Servant
Asao Koike
Takeshi Katô ... Guard killed by Washizu
Hitoshi Takagi ... Tsuzuki guard
Michiya Higuchi ... Tsuki guard
Senkichi Ômura ... Washizu samurai
Gorô Sakurai ... Servant
Shirô Tsuchiya ... Commander
Takeo Matsushita ... Commander
Jun Ôtomo ... Commander
Kamayuki Tsubono ... Servant
Fuminori Ôhashi ... Samurai
Isao Kimura ... Phantom samurai
Seiji Miyaguchi ... Phantom samurai
Nobuo Nakamura ... Phantom samurai

Directed by
Akira Kurosawa 
 
Writing credits
Hideo Oguni (screenplay) &
Shinobu Hashimoto (screenplay) &
Ryûzô Kikushima (screenplay) &
Akira Kurosawa (screenplay)

William Shakespeare  play "Macbeth" (uncredited)

Produced by
Akira Kurosawa .... producer
Sôjirô Motoki .... producer
 
Original Music by
Masaru Satô 
 
Cinematography by
Asakazu Nakai 
 
Production Design by
Yoshirô Muraki 
 
Makeup Department
Masanori Kobayashi .... makeup artist (as M. Kobayashi)
Yoshiko Matsumoto .... hair stylist
Junjirô Yamada .... hair stylist
 
Production Management
Hiroshi Nezu .... production supervisor
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Yoshimitsu Banno .... assistant director (as Yoshimitsu Sakano)
Hiromichi Horikawa .... chief assistant director
Mimachi Norase .... chief assistant director
Ken Sano .... assistant director
Shoya Shimizu .... assistant director
Yasuyoshi Tajitsu .... assistant director
Michio Yamamoto .... assistant director
 
Art Department
Kôhei Ezaki .... art supervisor
Kôichi Hamamura .... property master
Yoshifumi Honda .... assistant art director
Kaneko .... props
 
Sound Department
Ichirô Minawa .... sound effects editor
Masanao Uehara .... assistant sound
Fumio Yanoguchi .... sound recordist
 
Special Effects by
Eiji Tsuburaya .... special effects (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Masao Fukuda .... still photographer
Shozo Hada .... assistant lighting technician
Kuichirô Kishida .... lighting director
Takao Saitô .... assistant camera
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Taiki Mori .... costumer
 
Editorial Department
Chozo Obata .... negative cutter
 
Other crew
Fabrice Arduini .... french adaptation: original version with subtitles
Shigeru Endo .... horseback riding instructor
Ikemichi Hashimoto .... accountant
Ienori Kaneko .... horseback riding instructor
Teruyo Nogami .... script supervisor
Keiko Tsubai .... french adaptation: original version with subtitles
Pascal Vincent .... press attache: France (re-release: 2001 )
 
Crew believed to be complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies
  • C.D.C.  Italian post-synchronized version made by
  • Fono Roma  post-synchronization: Italian dubbed version
  • Toho Studios  sound stages

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Kumonosu-jô" - Japan (original title)
See more »
Runtime:
110 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording) | Mono (Perspecta Sound encoding)
Certification:
Argentina:16 | Australia:PG | Canada:G (Quebec) | Finland:K-15 (new rating: 2001) | Finland:K-16 (original rating) | Germany:12 | Netherlands:12 | Portugal:M/12 | Singapore:PG | South Africa:PG | Sweden:15 | Switzerland:14 | UK:A (original rating) | UK:12 (re-rating) (2001) | UK:PG (video rating) (1991) | USA:Unrated | USA:TV-MA (cable rating)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
In Japan, the title of "Throne of Blood" is "Kumonosu-ju" which translates into "Castle of the Spider's Web."See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: After Macbeth and Banquo come to the forest clearing where the spirit dwells, as they get down from their horses, all of Macbeth's arrows fall out of his quiver. In the next shot however, the quiver is full of arrows again.See more »
Quotes:
Taketori Washizu:I am terribly drunk...See more »
Movie Connections:
Version of Macbeth (1971)See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
82 out of 89 people found the following review useful.
"Every Samurai Longs To Be Master Of A Castle", 5 August 2000
Author: Michael Coy (michael.coy@virgin.net) from London, England

Washizu is a brave samurai who helps his lord to fight off a violent rebellion. Washizu and his friend Miki are riding through Cobweb Forest when a spirit appears to them and makes predictions which fire their ambitions. When Washizu explains this vision to his wife Asaji, she urges him to murder his lord and rule in his stead. Thus the tragedy begins.

Kurosawa's interpretation of Macbeth is visually fascinating. Swirling mist, colossal trees dripping with rain, rich black volcanic soil and bulky fortress architecture provide the imposing, dread-laden backdrop against which the humans move in superbly stylized patterns. The director chose to shoot the action on Mount Fuji precisely because of the volcanic soil - and even had truckloads brought to the studio for pickup shots.

Westerners unfamiliar with Noh are missing a huge part of the film's meaning. This thousand-year-old theatrical tradition corresponds broadly to our Elizabethan Tragedy, and Kurosawa shows how the two cultural strains, eastern and western, interlock and interact. The one illumines the other.

The Noh stage must have on it three pine branches and a symbolic Shinto temple-arch. In the film, shots are carefully composed to include tangles of branches in the foreground, and the vast entrance gate of Washizu's fortress serves for the temple arch. And yet Kurosawa is not including these details redundantly, for mere form's sake - the ubiquitous branches, framing the human action, remind us all the time of the forest nemesis awaiting Washizu. The arch is Washizu's interface with the world - open in the early stages, but gradually less so as the protagonist retreats into his own diseased inner self.

A Noh play features a "doer" (Shite) and a "companion" (Waku) who plays a subordinate role. Washizu and Asaji are the Shite and Waku respectively. Elements in the Noh include a battle-drama (we get one here) and a so-called "wig drama", in which a female character dominates the action. This is the central portion of the film, in the quiet of the fortress quarters, when Asaji ruthlessly manipulates her husband's ambition. Every Noh play has a ghost which appears to the Shite, and the spirit in the forest fulfils that function. Noh plays are never original works, in that (by a venerable convention) they are re-workings of ancient legends. Kurosawa follows tradition by quarrying his tale from Shakespeare's play.

There is no western term to describe the stylized striking of poses so important in Noh. Our word "dance" is a crude word which approximates to, but does not convey, the grace of the Japanese art-form. Asaji, alone with the blood-stain, gives us a glimpse of this delightful ritual.

Finally, Noh contains an aural richness almost totally absent from western tragedy - the complex rhythms of stamping and percussion which accompany the spoken word. In the film, the rhythmic patterns of horses' hooves on soil, and Washizu's bare feet on the boards of the banquet hall, are meant to reinforce the mood as they creep into our emotions by subliminal insistence.

Isuzu Yamada is terrific as Asaji. Her stillness absolutely oozes determination, contrasting strongly with her husband's hollow bluster.

It seems that Kurosawa cherished the concept of a Noh Macbeth for some years before committing it to celluloid. Apparently the project had to be scrapped in 1952 because Welles' Macbeth was nearing completion, and Kurosawa did not want the two films to suffer by being endlessly compared. This version, then, had to wait until 1957 to be realised.

The director is not afraid to add his own flourishes to the well-known story. We hear of the notorious traitor Fujimaki who disembowelled himself in a room of the fortress. The exact spot is now known as the Forbidden Room, a place of evil omen with its indelible bloodstain on the floor. It is a symbol which encapsulates the spirit of the film, interweaving the related themes of treachery, blood and guilt. In a brilliant transition, we are taken to a change of scene by the ripping down of a banner by galloping horsemen. Washizu at the pinnacle of his arrogance is filmed from below with severe foreshortening, conveying his vainglory more effectively than words ever could. The death scene, with its railing, hysterical protagonist and relentless volleys of arrows (their grouped shafts recalling the fateful forest) has enormous power and lives long in the viewer's memory.

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