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 Akira Kurosawa's THRONE OF BLOOD

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Flaming Turd
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PostSubject: Akira Kurosawa's THRONE OF BLOOD   Sun 14 Sep - 16:26




I just watched the movie again, and thought it would be nice to writte a little about it here as Kurosawa was so huge influence for Milius.

This movie is based on Shakespeare "Macbeth" and follows the storyline almost identical, though it changes celtic landscape into Shogun Japan. Mifune is amazing a quasi-beast warrior, who turns berserker in seconds. A maniac performance.

If you don't know Mcbeth storyline it's about a soldier who finds 3 witches in a forest. They prophecy that he will become king, and take the throne of the king he is already serving. Also they say his kingdom will end "when the forest walks against you", so he understands that will never happen.

He ends commiting murder and usurpes the throne, though he become schizo and all that. Won't tell the end Wink



Now this movie is highly interesting as showing how the life of an ancient samurai warrior was. They were constantly in garde, every minute, every second, prepared for a possible attack. If a samurai was took by surprise and killed, he deserved it, cuz his duty would have been being alert. This constant menace is a highly psychological tension, and is very close to schizophenia. In order to be sane, a samurai had to meditate and practice zen phylosophies to balance the internal stress. Zen helps to accept the present without fear, and relaxates the body and mind in a state of total perception of reality and senses. This way the body is prepared to react in any moment, but the mind is absolutely empty of fear and repressive thoughts.

Now the ambition and success throws away all this zen practices and the ego grows, meaning the fear of death -(loosing what he won)- is high. So, the sense of being in danger and the constant menace grows also. Ended in a high schyzophrenia.


This movie is amazing, though the rythm is really slow -Milius took that from Kurosawa-. But it's worth watching, and if you wanna see a true samurai movie don't hesitate. Mifune was a really powerful dude and I think that kind of energy would have been close to a REH barbarian. He doesn't even look human.










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vzd963
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PostSubject: Throne Of Blood and more   Fri 13 Feb - 14:43

Yes, "Throne Of Blood" is an amazing movie - misty, alien, weirdly atmospheric and filled with characters who are as much symbols as people. "Conan" fans also should check out another Japanese film, the ghost-story-compilation "Kwaidan", in which you'll see the original version of the painting-letters-all-over-the-guy's-face scene happening.
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Flaming Turd
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PostSubject: Re: Akira Kurosawa's THRONE OF BLOOD   Fri 13 Feb - 20:05

"Kwaidan" is great. thumleft

Milius reportedly made the crew of Conan watch "Throne of Blood" among other Kurosawa works like "7 samurai" and "Yojimbo" to be inspired for the movie. The scene of the spirits with the painted Conan is, besides of course by "Kwaidan", inspired by Kurosawa, least that is what Milius said in the audiocommentary. Fact is the only movie with supernatural elements like ghosts in Kurosawa's filmography that could have inspired Milius is "Throne of blood". study
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AOster
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PostSubject: Re: Akira Kurosawa's THRONE OF BLOOD   Fri 13 Feb - 23:23

I'm a big fan of both Kurosawa and Mifune'. I have cirtually every film either were involved with. Not to mention virtually every film their costars worked in. I'm an East Asian Studies major with a Japan focus, so i just love that stuff.

Once you have had a good sprinkling of any Japanese movies you lose a little respect for the western "greats" of film making. There was so much taken right out of those films that it make one question a directors or writers credibility. IMHO.

Good stuff visually though. Yeahhhh!
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vzd963
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PostSubject: Not all Godzilla and hollow volcanoes...   Fri 13 Feb - 23:36

I can also recommend for anyone who wants to see a good classic Japanese film a (not-at-all-Conan-like) film called "Onibaba".

In medieval times, a girl and her mother-in-law avoid starvation by trapping Samurai warriors, killing them and stealing their belongings (throwing the bodies into a hideous pit filled with skeletons). This goes on until the girl falls in love with one of the men - and Mum decides to put him out of the way - for good!

It's another weirdly atmospheric number. Get over to Ebay now!
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AOster
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PostSubject: Re: Akira Kurosawa's THRONE OF BLOOD   Sat 14 Feb - 2:00

Is that the one with the jealous wounded freind?
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Flaming Turd
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PostSubject: Re: Akira Kurosawa's THRONE OF BLOOD   Sat 14 Feb - 7:19

Didn't know "Onibaba", but smells great, Thanks thumleft



Funny enough, the guy from the poster looks just like Mifune in "7 samurai".


What you say about the westerns, Aoster. It also happened to me, man, it's true after discovering Kurosawa I also felt Leone's movies suddenly had a great lack of originality, but really if you consider them as "remakes" better than "rip offs" you can start respecting them again, least I tell you because I did. True is the idea is taken from someone else but that doesn't necessarily means the movie is gonna be a good one. There have been some other movies following the storyline of "Yojimbo" for example and they are far from being good. I realized it's not that easy, Leone's films made me think it was easy to copy just because they were very well done pictures and that mades me think were done easily. Besides, Kurosawa admited have being hugely influenced by John Ford's westerns, so it's really some kind of retroalimentation matter.

Which is true, is Kurosawa deserves the recognition, and he initially didn't get it, that's kinda dirty. Mad Apparently Leone never mentioned Kurosawa in the credits, forget about paying any kind of rights, and Kurosawa said "It is a very fine film, but it is my film." It resulted in a lawsuit that Kurosawa won. Which I think is fair enough.

Dunno if it really matters but while I allways really liked Leone's epics, I consider Kurosawa way more interesting and lovable than Leone. But I really think this comparison is not really important, just a simple matter of taste. Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Akira Kurosawa's THRONE OF BLOOD   Sat 14 Feb - 8:39

I was actually thinking about Lucas by the time I got to that point in my post.... puker
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PostSubject: Re: Akira Kurosawa's THRONE OF BLOOD   Sat 14 Feb - 15:30

Oh, so you didn't mean "western" as genre Razz

I am gonna keep my personal opinion about Lucas for myself, don't wanna anger any possible www.darthvader.com sensibilities anymore, you know Mr. Green
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axerules
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PostSubject: Re: Akira Kurosawa's THRONE OF BLOOD   Sat 14 Feb - 21:13

Hey Turd: I'm also a fan of A. Kurosawa.
But you're wrong about who deserves "the recognition". Old Akira himself riped off Yojimbo's plot. It is an adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's book Red Harvest.

From wiki (not the most reliable source, but this time it's accurate):
Quote :
Kurosawa stated that a major source for the plot was the film noir classic The Glass Key (1942), an adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's 1931 novel. In particular, the scene where the hero is captured by the villains and tortured before he escapes is copied almost shot for shot from The Glass Key. However, it has been noted that the overall plot of Yojimbo is actually much closer to that of another Hammett novel, Red Harvest (1929). Kurosawa scholar David Desser and film critic Manny Farber, among others, state categorically that Red Harvest was the inspiration for the film.


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AOster
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PostSubject: Re: Akira Kurosawa's THRONE OF BLOOD   Sat 14 Feb - 22:39

It's not always the plot that I'm referring to though. Music, camera angles, storyboards, and the like. It's the directing style that everyone seems to get excited about that gets me.
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PostSubject: Re: Akira Kurosawa's THRONE OF BLOOD   Sun 15 Feb - 4:33

Didn't know about the "Red Harvest" novel. Also in "Throne of Blood" case, it is the exact plot and storyline of Shakespeare's "Mcbeth", and is not hidden though I am ignorant about that being credited in the movie.

Still there is a lot of creative work and treasure in the filmaking, in the job of shooting that plot, that the works shine by its own I think.

If you like to know some facts about both plots ("Macbeth" and "Throne of Blood") you can read this:

http://www.geocities.com/ccupitt.geo/tob.html


Kurosawa studied John Ford among other previous directors, and took what he liked and used when thought it was necessary. I guess is the way artists develop. Same with the ones who studied Kurosawa. But I think there is a difference between a "copy clone" who just steals the surface, and a true talented director who copies the tools and resources but also put his own stuff inside the turkey. In the end this personal stuff which mostly comes from the vital experience of the filmaker, is what makes movies greater than life. Sergio Leone's epics are oustanding and wonderful, but has some lack of the really delicious stuff Kurosawa works are filled with. But Leone made these tools and techniques work well, and you need to be really talented to play with these tools right, I guess

I Lucas' case I think he had brilliant ideas to fill his movies with but he wasn't really a good director, and the scenes that works well in his movies are mostly very simplified techniques taken from other filmakers... Because he is really very simplistic in the way he makes the action going forward, he wasn't specially brilliant in that, just correct but nothing really new. But on the other hand he is oustanding in the visual description of atmospheres and sets, though that is not storytelling, that is more like visual poetry. Though I am not a Lucas fan really and it's just a perception.


And well, Milius I think could be labelled also in the "unoriginal" box as long as he widely admited "stealing from Ford" and also from Kurosawa. But he has an excellent storytelling quality, very personal way of showing how the action goes, and the use of music for example in CTB came from an unique personal style, sure influenced by old sources, but the scenes had his personal mark. Not sure if i'm just defending him or what, but I don't see CTB as a rip-off of Kurosawa (or Ford's) techniques, but a personal work of a new creator, (yeah, influenced by those).
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PostSubject: Re: Akira Kurosawa's THRONE OF BLOOD   Sun 15 Feb - 5:21

Turd, I knew about the Macbeth/Throne of Blood connection. Ran is inspired by King Lear.

CtB: beside Kurosawa, IMO one of Milius' biggest influences was S. Eisenstein's Alexander Nevsky. Use of music ? Even Poledouris imitated the score of this Russian movie ("Riders of Doom" is VERY similar to Prokofiev's music).

To cannibalize someone's elses creation is not 'bad', IMHO, if it's well done and if you're able to make something new out of it. REH did it a lot with his literary influences. Milius with his cinematographic ones. Kurosawa 'stole' from westerns, noir films and books, Shakespeare, etc...
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Flaming Turd
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PostSubject: Re: Akira Kurosawa's THRONE OF BLOOD   Fri 20 Feb - 15:12

Axe, I checked the movie Alexander Nevsky and you are right, there's a horse charge that is pretty much the scene of the attack of the Cimmerian village, with some shots of warriors by foot wating in some kind of zen calm the arrival of the riding enemies, which btw reminded me a lot the Stout storyboard even more than the actual movie, still the music and shots of the horses is pretty much the same in both Nevsky and Conan.

Also, the music in that particular scene is cloned almost exactly in Braveheart. Shocked

The violence and murdering of the Cimmerians is pretty much JohnFordesque, mixed with Kurosawa's "7 samurai" ending.

Finally, I allways believed the whole "Rider's of Doom" scene was masterfully planned and directed, from begginning to end, hipnotic and overwelming. Now that I know it's not that original, really, I can't really say Milius is a director as innovative and relevant as the ones he admired, still the scene is really beautiful and even though he took other's ideas, you gotta have talent to do it well.
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PostSubject: Re: Akira Kurosawa's THRONE OF BLOOD   Sat 21 Feb - 4:08

There's this line of dialogue told by Nevsky: "The strength of a sword is measured by the arm that wields it." Sounds familiar?

And try to compare the armor of the leader of the Teutonic knights with James Earl Jones'.
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