THRONE OF BLOOD (1957) B/W 105m dir: Akira Kurosawa
w/Toshiro Mifune, Isuzu Yamada, Takashi Shimura, Minoru Chiaki, Akira Kubo, Takamaru Sasaki, Yoichi Tachikawa, Chieko Naniwa
From The Movie Guide: "Kabuki Macbeth, and like nothing you've ever seen. A truly remarkable film combining beauty and terror to produce a mood of haunting power, THRONE OF BLOOD was the brilliant fulfillment of Japanese master Akira Kurosawa's longtime ambition to bring Shakespeare to Japanese audiences. Kurosawa set the story in feudal Japan, and the transposition of cultures is surprisingly successful, with all the plot elements intact. ... THRONE OF BLOOD is filled with unforgettable, haunting imagery. Departing from his usual (very Western) fluid camera style and fast-paced editing, Kurosawa borrowed here from the conventions of Noh theater. While the visuals are gorgeous, the compositions are static and stagy, concentrating on the emotional moment as it seems to hang in the air, unaltered by editing or camera movement. The visual and acting styles work marvelously with the material, although the film is somewhat cold and detached, containing little of the exhilarating passion found in Kurosawa's other work. Kurosawa has a lot of fun with the advance of Birnham Wood, Yamada's Lady Macbeth is a virtuoso fright and Mifune's demise is in the most grand, outrageous Kabuki fashion. This is filmmaking with risk and greatness in its blood."