Toshirô Mifune

  • Akira Kurosawa – Rashômon (1950)

    Quote:
    This landmark film is a brilliant exploration of truth and human weakness. It opens with a priest, a woodcutter, and a peasant taking refuge from a downpour beneath a ruined gate in 12th-century Japan. The priest and the woodcutter, each looking stricken, discuss the trial of a notorious bandit for rape and murder. As the retelling of the trial unfolds, the participants in the crime — the bandit (Toshiro Mifune), the rape victim (Machiko Kyo), and the murdered man (Masayuki Mori) — tell their plausible though completely incompatible versions of the story.Read More »

  • Jerry London – Shogun (1980)

    Shōgun is an American television miniseries based on the 1975 novel of the same name by James Clavell, who also was the executive producer of the miniseries. It was first broadcast in the United States on NBC over five nights between September 15 and September 19, 1980. To date, it is the only American television production to be filmed on location entirely in Japan, with additional sound stage filming also taking place in Japan at the Toho studio.Read More »

  • Hiroshi Inagaki – Muhomatsu no issho AKA The Rickshaw Man (1958)

    In the turn of the Twentieth Century, the rickshaw driver Matsugoro “Matsu” is a happy man and a troublemaker well-known by everyone in his village. One day, Matsu sees an injured boy, Toshio, and brings him home. His mother Yoshiko Yoshioka asks Matsuo to take the boy to the doctor and then her husband Capt. Kotaro Yoshioka asks her to reward Matsu. However the rickshaw man refuses the money and becomes a friend of the family. When Kotaro unexpectedly dies, Matsuo helps Yoshiko to raise her son. Soon he falls in love with her, but he does not dare to open his heart to Yoshiko since they belong to different social classes.Read More »

  • Hiroshi Inagaki – Zoku Miyamoto Musashi: Ichijôji no kettô AKA Samurai II: Duel at Ichijoji Temple (1955)

    Synopsis:
    Hiroshi Inagaki’s acclaimed Samurai Trilogy is based on the novel that has been called Japan’s Gone with the Wind. This sweeping saga of the legendary seventeenth-century samurai Musashi Miyamoto (powerfully portrayed by Toshiro Mifune) plays out against the turmoil of a devastating civil war. The Trilogy (whose first part won an Academy Award) follows Musashi’s odyssey from unruly youth to enlightened warrior. In the second and most violent installment, Duel at Ichijoji Temple, Musashi beats a samurai armed with a chain and sickle and is later set upon by eighty samurai disciples—orchestrated by the sinister Kojiro—while the two women who love him watch helplessly.Read More »

  • Hiroshi Inagaki – Miyamoto Musashi kanketsuhen: kettô Ganryûjima AKA Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island (1956)

    Synopsis:
    Hiroshi Inagaki’s acclaimed Samurai Trilogy is based on the novel that has been called Japan’s Gone with the Wind. This sweeping saga of the legendary seventeenth-century samurai Musashi Miyamoto (powerfully portrayed by Toshiro Mifune) plays out against the turmoil of a devastating civil war. The Trilogy (whose first part won an Academy Award) follows Musashi’s odyssey from unruly youth to enlightened warrior. In the third installment, Duel at Ganryu Island, Musashi reunites tragically with the women who love him, and battles for samurai supremacy in a climactic confrontation with his lifelong nemesis.Read More »

  • Akira Kurosawa – Kumonosu-jô AKA Throne of Blood (1957)

    A vivid, visceral Macbeth adaptation, Throne of Blood, directed by Akira Kurosawa, sets Shakespeare’s definitive tale of ambition and duplicity in a ghostly, fog-enshrouded landscape in feudal Japan. As a hardened warrior who rises savagely to power, Toshiro Mifune gives a remarkable, animalistic performance, as does Isuzu Yamada as his ruthless wife. Throne of Blood fuses classical Western tragedy with formal elements taken from Noh theater to create an unforgettable cinematic experience.Read More »

  • Yasuki Chiba – Tôkyô no koibito AKA Tokyo Sweetheart (1952)

    Following the Second World War, the lives of various people in a poverty-stricken area of Tokyo are entertwined. Pachinko parlor girls, shoeshine boys, a maker of replica jewelry, and a streetcorner artist all struggle to make their livings and to find happiness in difficult surroundings.Read More »

  • Terence Young – Soleil rouge aka Red Sun (1971)

    In 1870, a gang robs a train and steals a ceremonial Japanese sword meant as a gift for the U.S. President, prompting a manhunt to retrieve it.Read More »

  • Kihachi Okamoto – Samurai aka Samurai Assassin (1965)

    Synopsis:
    February 17 to March 3, 1860, inside Edo castle. A group of assassins wait by Sakurada Gate to kill the lord of the House of Ii, a powerful man in the Tokugawa government, which has ruled Japan for 300 years. They suspect a traitor in their midst, and their suspicions fall on Niiro, an impoverished ronin who dreams of samurai status, and Kurihara, an aristocratic samurai who befriends Niiro. Niiro longs to identify his father, knowing he is a high-ranking official who will disclose himself only if Niiro achieves samurai status. With American ships in Japan’s harbors, cynicism among the assassins, and change in the air, Niiro resolves to reach ends that may prove ephemeral.Read More »

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