Friday Afternoon Movie: Throne Of Blood

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand you’re done. Sitting back in your chair you take in the magnificent sight before you, satisfied that you have accomplished something today. Yep, no one can look at these perfectly symmetrical rows of paper clips, organized by size, and claim that you don’t do anything. No, you are a model of efficiency. Now, no matter what size paper clip a situation might require, you will be able to reach in your drawer and pluck it from it’s resting place, held by the smallest dab of adhesive from your glue stick. Truly this has been a stellar day; but what to do now? Well, why don’t you take a load off and feast your eyes on some toothsome filmage?

Today, the FAM presents master filmmaker Akira Kurosawa’s Kumonosu-jō (literally Spider Web Castle) known here as Throne of Blood, a retelling of William Shakespeare’s MacBeth set in feudal Japan, starring the legendary Toshirō Mifune as Washizu Taketoki. Throne of Blood is considered one of Kurasawa’s best films and Mifune gives a standout performance, though his Taketoki comes across as less malevolent than Shakespeare’s MacBeth. An interesting fact to note is that Mifune’s death scene at the end of the film, in which his own archer’s riddle him with arrows, was filmed using real arrows. As he waves his arms in fear he is also signaling to the archers, telling them which direction he is going to move. If you’ve never watched a Kurosawa film, you owe it to yourself to take a look, it’s a brilliant piece of cinema from a man who made a career of producing some of the finest movies from Japan, or anywhere else for that matter.

8 Responses to “Friday Afternoon Movie: Throne Of Blood”

  1. Luke Copping Says:

    I Didn’t think you guys would have a better Friday afternoon movie than Stalker, but this changed my mind. One of my favorite films ever directed, and One of Kurosawa’s greatest. Throne of blood is consistently in my top ten, along with Kagemusha.

  2. Dina Haansley Says:

    Sounds like a pretty good film, gotta check it out. Yeah that seems pretty scary, he’s playing with a little more than fire having real arrows used. One wrong mistake and it’s over, brave man.

  3. Peter S. Says:

    Interestingly, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival has commissioned a stage adaptation of this film for next year’s season. Kind of a weird feedback loop, that.

  4. Ben Morris Says:

    I love this film. Mifune is (as always) fantastic.

    The only film adaptation of Shakespeare I think is superior is Orson Welles’ Chimes at Midnight.

  5. Tequila Says:

    Shakespeare always seemed a natural fit for Japanese cinema and while I prefer RAN over Throne of Blood it’s really like comparing what amazingly awesome film do you like a microscopic bit more than the other. Kurosawa even at his most shall we say…eccentric…pushed the boundaries of keeping the emotions in tact beyond the visuals and spectacle. You don’t see that kind of control in a lot of directors. This goes beyond the typical samurai film in every sense…though as we all know he did damn good genre pics too.

    I still wonder what it would have been like to see Kurosawa do a Shakespeare adaptation with western actors.

    @Peter S. Weird choice of production but so very very cool. Reminds me of a recent HBO film that did something similar.

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  7. DeusXMachina Says:

    This is one of those films that makes me think of investing in a film screening system superior in quality to my laptop.

    Thanks to my stepdad, I was raised watching films like this, and “Aguerre, Wrath of God”.

    They never get old.

    @Peter S. I’m intrigued by this news of OSF’s production. Are you directly involved in any way?

  8. BigJonno Says:

    I actually wrote an essay on this movie when I was 15. I had to a comparitive piece for my English GCSE and we’d been looking at two different versions of Macbeth, the Polanski movie and a modern-day adaptation that was about as inspiring as a housebrick. I was really struggling with it over the Christmas holidays, but then I caught sight of Throne of Blood in the big Radio Times Christmas special.

    It was my salvation! I loved the movie and wrote a rather good piece, although I probably spent too much time comparing the settings and how the feudal Japanese period suited the story, but I still got an A.