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Throne of Blood (1957)

Kumonosu-jô (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 22 November 1961 (USA)
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.

Director:

Akira Kurosawa

Writers:

Hideo Oguni (screenplay), Shinobu Hashimoto (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Toshirô Mifune ... Taketoki Washizu
Isuzu Yamada ... Lady Asaji Washizu
Takashi Shimura ... Noriyasu Odagura
Akira Kubo Akira Kubo ... Yoshiteru Miki
Hiroshi Tachikawa Hiroshi Tachikawa ... Kunimaru Tsuzuki (as Yôichi Tachikawa)
Minoru Chiaki ... Yoshiaki Miki
Takamaru Sasaki Takamaru Sasaki ... Kuniharu Tsuzuki
Gen Shimizu Gen Shimizu
Kokuten Kôdô ... Military Commander
Kichijirô Ueda Kichijirô Ueda ... Washizu's workman
Eiko Miyoshi Eiko Miyoshi ... Old Woman at castle
Chieko Naniwa Chieko Naniwa ... Old Ghost Woman
Nakajirô Tomita Nakajirô Tomita ... Second Military Commander
Yû Fujiki Yû Fujiki ... Washizu samurai
Sachio Sakai Sachio Sakai ... Washizu samurai
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Storyline

After securing a major victory on the battlefield, Taketoti Washizu and one of his commanders, Yoshiaki Miki, find themselves lost in the maze-like Spider's Web forest. They come across a spirit-like seer who tells them of their future: both have been promoted because of their victory that day; Washizu will someday be the Great Lord of the Spider's Web castle while Miki's son will someday rule as Great Lord as well. When they arrive at the castle, they learn that the first part of the prophecy is correct. Washizu has no desire to become Great Lord but his ambitious wife urges him to reconsider. When the current Great Lord makes a surprise visit to his garrison outpost, Washizu is again promoted to commander of his vanguard but his wife reminds him of the danger that comes with the position. As pressure mounts, Wahizu takes action leading to its inevitable conclusion. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

From the creator of "Rashomon" and "Ikiru"

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

22 November 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Throne of Blood See more »

Filming Locations:

Gotemba, Shizuoka, Japan See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)| Mono (Perspecta Sound encoding)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Originally, Akira Kurosawa planned only to produce the film, and hand over the reins to another director. However, Toho, assessing the budget and seeing the film would be costly, insisted Kurosawa direct it himself. See more »

Goofs

After Washizu and Miki come to the forest clearing where the spirit dwells, as they get down from their horses, all of Washizu's arrows fall out of his quiver. In the next shot however, the quiver is full of arrows again. See more »

Quotes

Lady Asaji Washizu: Admirable, my Lord. You, who would soon rule the world, allow a ghost to frighten you.
See more »

Connections

Version of Shakespeare's Macbeth (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Shakespeare meets Kurosowa (round 1)
25 May 2002 | by OttoVonBSee all my reviews

The Scottish Play gets a very Oriental makeover in this combination of samurai film and Noh theater from master filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. As a fan of both AK and Shakespeare I owed it to myself to give this a go, particularly as this play has drawn many gifted filmmakers over the years, always to interesting results.

If you know Kurosawa's Seven Samurai or Yojombo, your expectations going into Throne of Blood will probably let you down at first. The energy and visual flair are there, but expressed very differently: a suffocating formality and simmering rage replaces the vitality and dynamism of those other films. Lost in a thick, perpetual fog, Kurosawa's characters stumble around like broken puppets, heavily made up in Noh theater makeup that is at first hard to adjust to. it creates a useful distance, and underlines the power of the cruel hand of Fate, moving its victims across an apocalyptic landscape to a shockingly violent conclusion, one you would do well not to preview online before viewing the film.

Of his three adaptations - Ran being a masterful retelling of King Lear and The Bad Sleep Well using elements of Hamlet - this is the least accessible, but also the most visionary and unique. Oddly enough, it has similarities to Orson Welles' earlier adaptation made half a world away. Both films focus on tribal symbolism, are doused in fog and could never conceivably have had the same impact in color.

If you're interested in either Japanese cinema or Shakespeare, this should definitely be near the top of your list. As an entry-point to Kurosawa's catalog, you'd probably be better off with some less weighty fare.


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