Rent Throne of Blood (1957)

3.9 of 5 from 192 ratings
1h 44min
Rent Throne of Blood (aka Kumonosu-Jô) Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
  • General info
  • Available formats
Synopsis:
Kurosawa's transposition of Shakespeare's Macbeth to sixteenth century Japan is immensely successful in capturing the spirit of the original. A truly remarkable film combining beauty and terror to produce a mood of haunting power. 'Throne of Blood' also shows Kurosawa's familiar mastery of atmosphere, action and the savagery of war.
Actors:
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Directors:
Producers:
Akira Kurosawa, Sôjirô Motoki
Writers:
Hideo Oguni, Shinobu Hashimoto
Aka:
Kumonosu-Jô
Studio:
BFI Video
Genres:
Classics, Drama
Collections:
10 Films to Watch if You Like All Is True, Films & TV by topic, Films to Watch If You Like..., The Best Films Based On Shakespeare, The Instant Expert's Guide, The Instant Expert's Guide to: Akira Kurosawa, Top 10 Award Winners at the London Film Festival, Top Films
Countries:
Japan
BBFC:
Release Date:
22/10/2001
Run Time:
104 minutes
Languages:
Japanese LPCM Mono
Subtitles:
English
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.33:1 / 4:3
Colour:
B & W
BBFC:
Release Date:
01/09/2014
Run Time:
109 minutes
Languages:
Japanese LPCM Mono
Subtitles:
English
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.33:1 / 4:3
Colour:
B & W
BLU-RAY Regions:
B
Bonus:
  • Original Theatrical Trailers
  • The Art of Akira Kurosawa (2013, 49 mins): Asian-cinema expert Tony Rayns discusses Kurosawa's career and influence
  • Interview with filmmaker George Lucas (2001, 8 mins)
  • Interview with filmmaker Alex Cox (2003, 9 mins)
  • Introduction to Sanjuro by Alex Cox (2003, 5 mins)
  • Full-length Audio Commentary on 'Throne of Blood' by Japanese-film expert Michael Jeck
  • Full-length Audio Commentary on Yojimbo by film critic Philip Kemp

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Reviews (2) of Throne of Blood

More fog! - Throne of Blood review by HW

Spoiler Alert
01/02/2023

Like Kurosawa’s other epic ‘Ran’, this is another great example of how well Shakespeare adapts to Medieval Japan. Kurosawa closely followed the bard’s original plot of a warrior murdering his lord to achieve more power and succumbing to violent paranoia; except moving the location from Scotland to an equally eerie Japanese landscape where samurai clans warred for dominance. Although I think this film lacks the emotional heart of ‘Seven Samurai’ and ‘Ran’, it’s worth watching for Kurosawa’s mastery of atmosphere and suspense. Every scene is wreathed in swirling mist and complete with dark imagery: from wild animalistic omens to pale witches and ghosts. The film is dominated by Kurosawa’s favourite actor, Toshiro Mifune. As the lead character Washizu, Mifune effectively portrays the hero’s decline from an honourable warrior to a crazed, raging tyrant prowling through each scene like a vicious tiger. The actress Isuzu Yamada is disturbing as Washizu’s scheming wife, pushing him towards murder and losing her sanity as a result. The message against moral corruption and taking power by force is just as clear in this striking film as in the original play. 

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

The horrors of feudalism - Throne of Blood review by FP

Spoiler Alert
08/11/2023

Perhaps it takes someone from outside the Anglosphere to consider the pseudo-blasphemous proposition, How can I improve on Shakespeare? Kurosawa does so, in three vital ways: he shows us a friendship between his Macbeth (Washizu) and Banquo (Miki); he deepens and fully explicates the motives of Washizu and Lady Washizu (in particular, they attempt to thwart the prophecy by conceiving a child); to do the latter, he stretches the timeline. Washizu's fall is therefore less precipitous than Macbeth's and more clearly motivated by grief, both at what he's done and what has happened to him.

The performances, particularly of Ishizu Yamada as Lady Washizu, are extraordinary. The Witch is genuinely terrifying. Washizu being murdered by his own men, instead of a vengeful Macduff, is another fascinating change from the play, focusing on the feudal lord as a lord of men: when he loses the faith of the men, he's doomed. Yet, that only highlights the social tragedy of the play: that Macbeth/Washizu is able to get away with so much for so long, with the tacit support of his men, is still more chilling.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

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