In Medieval Japan, an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them and cause them to turn on each other...and him.
Following World War II, a retired professor approaching his autumn years finds his quality of life drastically reduced in war-torn Tokyo. Denying despair, he pursues writing and celebrates his birthday with his adoring students.
When a powerful warlord in medieval Japan dies, a poor thief recruited to impersonate him finds difficulty living up to his role and clashes with the spirit of the warlord during turbulent times in the kingdom.Written by
Keith Loh <email@example.com>
After Kurosawa fired Shintarô Katsu from the leading double role, the American producers requested that a internationally known star be cast instead. Because Kurosawa had distanced himself from Toshirô Mifune more than a decade earlier, Tatsuya Nakadai was his only viable option. Mindful of the situation Nakadai accepted the part without even reading the script. He later admitted that the decision was not easy because he had been on friendly terms with Katsu. Purportedly Katsu did not speak to Nakadai for several years after the whole incident. See more »
When Kagemusha is being ejected from the Takeda clan compound, he is seen with his left arm in a dark purple-colored cloth sling, which covers most of his hand and forearm. As the camera shot changes to a slightly longer shot, the sling is suddenly much narrower, exposing much more of his hand and forearm. See more »
[Rainbow appears, causing the advancing Takeda army to halt]
My lord, what do you think that light is that is barring your path?
[Gives it a quick glance]
You're wrong! It is your late father's instructions not to proceed. He's telling you to stay in your domain and guard it. Those were your father's last words. If you do that, nothing can harm us.
Harm? An ominous word. Since the time of our ancestors, the Takeda have never run from a fight.
[Addressing his army]
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In the original Japanese version, there are 20 minutes featuring Kenshin Uesugi. For some reason, these scenes were cut out of the USA version. See more »
I am a fan of Kurosawa and have seen many of his films many times. There is a sweep and an ache to Kagemusha that is genuine and has remained in my heart's memory. Unlike Ran, it is not Shakespearean. Unlike Seven Samurai, my favorite all-time film and I believe the best film ever made, it is not a western.
Although epic, it is about a sweet and rueful soul swallowed by karma and history. It is redemptive without overt sentiment, and the lead performance by Tatsuya Nakadai is nuanced and unforgettable.
I will always remember this film, not for its complexity or savagery, but for the simplest moments between Lord and subject, between the highest self and the lowest self, and most particularly, the very real pain of a man caught in the vise of his own life and death.
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