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Yojimbo (1961) More at IMDbPro »Yôjinbô (original title)

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14 items from 2015

'Star Wars': 15 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About the Original Trilogy

14 December 2015 6:00 AM, PST | Moviefone | See recent Moviefone news »

We're now only days away from the release of a little film called "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." The hype is real, but there's not much fans can do but wait patiently until opening night finally arrives.

Perhaps we can help pass the time a little. We've put together a list of 15 interesting facts about the original trilogy that even hardcore Star Wars geeks might not know. Whether they involve the troubled development of these films or some of the oddball minor characters that appear onscreen, these tidbits reveal just how unusual life is in a galaxy far, far away.

"Star Wars" (1977)

1. Peter Cushing (above) might have been intimidating as Grand Moff Tarkin, but only because his feet were never shown in the frame. Cushing found his boots uncomfortable and insisted on wearing slippers instead.

2. Lucas pitched the project to United Artists, Universal and even Disney before finding a home at 20th Century Fox. »

- Jesse Schedeen

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Seven Samurai Legend Toshiro Mifune Turned Down Roles of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader

6 December 2015 9:00 AM, PST | Vulture | See recent Vulture news »

Toshiro Mifune, one of the great Japanese actors of the 20th century, is best remembered by western audiences for his roles in Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon, Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood, and Yojimbo. With the ability to go from brooding to manic like [Snap!] that, the actor carved out a legacy in the annals of world cinema. But Mifune's endearing legacy was almost very, very different. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Mifune's daughter Mika says Mifune was offered a vital role in George Lucas's Star Wars: "I heard from my father that he was offered the role of Obi Wan Kenobi, but he was concerned about how the film would look and that it would cheapen the image of samurai, on which George Lucas had based a lot of the character and fighting style... At the time, sci-fi movies still looked quite cheap as the effects were not advanced »

- Greg Cwik

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George Lucas Wanted This Legendary Actor as Obi-Wan Kenobi

4 December 2015 4:21 PM, PST | MovieWeb | See recent MovieWeb news »

With Star Wars: The Force Awakens coming out just two weeks from today, many fans may be re-watching the original Star Wars films to get ready for this new adventure, set 32 years after Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi. The 1977 classic that started it all, Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, was heavily influenced by the classic Westerns that director George Lucas loved, but he also found inspiration in the films of iconic director Akira Kurosawa and his longtime star Toshir&#244 Mifune. During a an event in Japan to announce Tokyo Comic Con, The Hollywood Reporter reveals that George Lucas offered Toshir&#244 Mifune the iconic roles of both Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. Here's what the actor's daughter, Mika Mifune, had to say at the event.

"I heard from my father that he was offered the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi, »

- MovieWeb

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Who George Lucas Originally Wanted to Play Obi-Wan Kenobi

4 December 2015 6:46 AM, PST | | See recent Cinema Blend news »

While much of the structure of the original Star Wars is based on traditional western mythology, that.s not the only place George Lucas looked for inspiration 40 years ago when he was creating Star Wars. Lucas was inspired by the work of acclaimed Japanese director Akira Kurosawa as well. This apparently led him to seek out Toshiro Mifune, the star of several Kurosawa films for a role in the original film. Primarily, that of the Jedi teacher Obi-Wan Kenobi. Toshiro Mifune starred in many Kurosawa classics like Seven Samurai and Yojimbo. He passed away in 1997, but according to his daughter Mika, Lucas originally offered him the Obi-Wan Kenobi role before going to Sir Alec Guinness. This had been rumored for years, and is now confirmed. The parallels between the Jedi and Samurai are obvious. However, that appears to have been the problem. Since Star Wars was an unknown quantity at »

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“Ikiru” (Directed by Akira Kurosawa; 1952) (The Criterion Collection)

2 December 2015 8:01 AM, PST | | See recent CinemaRetro news »

“Japan’S Unsung Acting Genius”

By Raymond Benson

The works of famed director Akira Kurosawa are mostly associated with the samurai film—pictures set in the time of feudal Japan, and usually starring the brilliant actor Toshiro Mifune (Rashomon, Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood, The Hidden Fortress, Yojimbo, among others). However, Kurosawa made other kinds of movies that are probably not as well known in the West except to film historians and true cinephiles—and fans of the excellent DVD and Blu-ray label, The Criterion Collection. Some of Kurosawa’s early work was made up of film noir gangster and crime pictures (e.g., Drunken Angel, Stray Dog, The Bad Sleep Well), but also, surprisingly, heartfelt social dramas set in contemporary Japan—about ordinary people. Ikiru is one of the latter, and it’s a movie that Roger Ebert once called Kurosawa’s “greatest film.”

Ikiru is set in Tokyo in the early fifties. »

- (Cinema Retro)

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Wayne Wang, Takeshi Kitano wrap 'While The Women Are Sleeping'

13 July 2015 3:37 AM, PDT | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Director Wang talks to ScreenDaily about working with Takeshi Kitano.

Us-based director Wayne Wang, known for films such as The Joy Luck Club, Smoke and Maid In Manhattan, wrapped his shoot with iconic Japanese actor Beat Takeshi, a.k.a. Takeshi Kitano, for suspense mystery While The Women Are Sleeping in Tokyo on Saturday (July 11).

Kitano, the award-winning actor/director of films such as Zatoichi, Beyond Outrage and Hana-bi, uses the name Beat Takeshi when he works as an actor or performer.

Based on Javier Marias’ short story of the same title published in The New Yorker, While The Women Are Sleeping debuted in early form at Busan’s 2013 Asian Project Market.

Shot mostly in Izu, the film is about Sahara (Kitano), a mysterious older man who is at a resort with his young girlfriend. It is told from the point of view of Kenji, a writer who is also visiting the resort for a week with »

- (Jean Noh)

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Bad Ideas: Films We’re Glad Never Got Made

4 July 2015 6:06 PM, PDT | Cinelinx | See recent Cinelinx news »

While we often lament some of the films that end up stuck in development Hell, never to become realized on the big screen, there are some films we should all be glad never came to fruition.  

Sometimes they don’t get it! We all know that the film industry is a business and they want to make money, but Hollywood doesn’t always realize that the best way to do that is to make a good film. Sometimes, Hollywood’s habit of taking a known property and stretching them out to absurd proportions proves that they just don’t get the point. Fortunately, there are times when someone recognizes a bad idea and puts on the brakes. Below is a list of 14 films where someone was smart enough to notice that they were making a pile of trash and threw in the towel.

Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian

Due to the success of Beetlejuice, »

- (Rob Young)

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100 Essential Action Scenes: Swordfights

27 May 2015 8:00 AM, PDT | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »

Sound on Sight undertook a massive project, compiling ranked lists of the most influential, unforgettable, and exciting action scenes in all of cinema. There were hundreds of nominees spread across ten different categories and a multi-week voting process from 11 of our writers. The results: 100 essential set pieces, sequences, and scenes from blockbusters to cult classics to arthouse obscurities.    

Sword fights, like one-on-one fights, target the emotion and power of each individual fighter, but are amplified by the extension of their weapon. Whereas one-on-one fights test the might and bronze of our competitors, sword fights add an extra element of intelligence and skill. A fighter can scrape by through luck in a brawl of fists, but a sword (and knife) fight exposes the true strengths and weaknesses of its opponents.


10. Rob Roy (1995) – No quarter asked, no quarter given

Roger Ebert called the final duel between Rob Roy (Liam Neeson, in a »

- Shane Ramirez

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'A Fistful of Yojimbo', A Visual Examination Where Words Won't Hardly Do

4 May 2015 12:06 PM, PDT | Rope of Silicon | See recent Rope Of Silicon news »

Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars (1964) is at once dramatically different and very much the same as its inspiration, Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo (1961). In the simplest of terms, the two follow a stranger into a corrupt town where they eventually play two rival gangs against one another, freeing the town in the end. Kurowsawa's film, in my opinion, is one of his best, mixing comedy, action and plenty of dramatic tension, boiled down to a brisk 110 minute feature I could sit down and absorb at a moment's notice. amz asin="B00HZN8TBC" size="small"Leone's A Fistful of Dollars is just as wonderful as the translation from samurai to lone gunman is almost a no-brainer, but what's truly amazing is how it doesn't feel like a remake, but merely a different adaptation of the same story. Leone made the film his own, the casting of Clint Eastwood as »

- Brad Brevet

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La Happenings: Celebrate Kurosawa's Birthday With Screenings At The Crest

13 March 2015 11:30 AM, PDT | Twitch | See recent Twitch news »

World-renowned filmmaker Kurosawa Akira was born March 23, 1910. To celebrate what would have been his 105th birthday (he passed away in 1998), The Crest Westwood movie palace are hosting Sunday screenings of some bonafide classics. Coming up this Sunday, March 15, it's High and Low, Kurosawa's kidnapping-noir epic that gets deep into class politics without ever losing its hard-boiled edge.The following Sundays see his jidai-geki touchstones take to the big screen: On March 22, Mifune Toshiro stars as Yojimbo, while Seven Samurai screens on March 29.Full details, including the purchase of tickets, can be found on the venue's calendar. ...

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What I Watched, What You Watched #286

1 March 2015 7:00 AM, PST | Rope of Silicon | See recent Rope Of Silicon news »

Another week of five movies seen as I caught screenings of Focus, The Lazarus Effect and Cinderella in theaters and at home watched screeners of Everly and It Follows, the latter of which being the best of the five films though I will say, Cinderella is a perfectly satisfying picture that I think will do quite well with its target audience. I was going to see Bruce Lee's The Way of the Dragon last night before beginning my Cinerama project, but timing of things over the weekend just didn't work out, but I did finally get in there and start shooting a little footage and wow, what a learning process. More on that later down the line. I will, however, be heading back to the Cinerama this afternoon to see Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo and Seven Samurai in 35mm. It will mean being in the theater for about six hours, »

- Brad Brevet

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Horror / Thriller Round-Up: First Casting News for Rob Zombie’s 31, Tomb Raider Reboot, Akira Kurosawa Tribute

26 February 2015 8:25 AM, PST | DailyDead | See recent DailyDead news »

Welcome to another horror/thriller round-up. This time around, we have details on who will play Death-Head in Rob Zombie’s 31, an update on the Tomb Raider reboot, and a look at The Crest of Westwood's tribute schedule for the legendary samurai film director Akira Kurosawa.

Rob Zombie's 31: Via his Instagram account, Rob Zombie revealed that Torsten Voges will play the villain Death-Head in his upcoming Halloween-set film, 31. Voges, who previously had a role in The Lords of Salem, is the first announced cast member for 31, which is currently available to fanback. For those unfamiliar with the film, here's the synopsis from Zombie:

"Welcome to my next film. It is called 31. It is the story of five random people kidnapped on the five days leading up to Halloween and held hostage in a place called Murder World. While trapped inside this man-made Hell they must fight to »

- Derek Anderson

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‘Sanshiro Sugata’ an eye-opening, strong start to Akira Kurosawa’s long career

14 February 2015 7:00 AM, PST | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »

Sanshiro Sugata

Written by Akira Kurosawa and Tomita Tsuneo

Directed by Akira Kurosawa

Japan, 1943

Akira Kurosawa’s feature length debut opens with a wandering young man named Sanshiro Sugata (Susumu Fujita) arriving into town where he aspires to earn a place under the tutelage of a great jujitsu master. Shortly thereafter Sanshiro learns first-hand that his would be instructors are perhaps not all they are cracked to be. Their attempt to rustle a rival sensei’s feathers, Shogoro Yano (Denjiro Okochi) is ill fated, as Yano handles each attacker with the greatest of ease. Much to Sanshiro’s surprise, the victor of the contest practices judo rather than jujitsu. Under the auspices of Yano’s strict but just guidance, as well as through the trials and tribulations and a martial arts tournament, that Sanshiro will learn to control his bustling energy, channeling it to become a better, more composed human being. »

- Edgar Chaput

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What I Watched, What You Watched #283

8 February 2015 7:00 AM, PST | Rope of Silicon | See recent Rope Of Silicon news »

Two bad, two good this week as I went to the theater to see and review Jupiter Ascending (read the review here) and Seventh Son (read the review here) and we all know how that turned out. However, at home I was inspired by Tony Zhou's recent video essay to watch Akira Kurosawa's The Bad Sleep Well for the first time. So I fired up the Hulu and gave it a spin. Very good movie with a rather dark ending as not only do the bad sleep well, but the bad defeats good... at least in this instance. Finally, I also watched the Oscar-nominated documentary Last Days in Vietnam as it was available for free over at PBS's website at the end of the week. Solid doc and one some are trying to say is sneaking up on Citizenfour at the Oscars for Best Documentary. As much as I »

- Brad Brevet

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2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008

14 items from 2015, Inc. takes no responsibility for the content or accuracy of the above news articles, Tweets, or blog posts. This content is published for the entertainment of our users only. The news articles, Tweets, and blog posts do not represent IMDb's opinions nor can we guarantee that the reporting therein is completely factual. Please visit the source responsible for the item in question to report any concerns you may have regarding content or accuracy.

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