Toshiro Mifune was a Japanese actor who appeared in over 150 feature films. He is best known for his 16-film collaboration with filmmaker Akira Kurosawa in such works as Rashomon, Seven Samurai, The Hidden Fortress, Throne of Blood, Yojimbo, he portrayed Miyamoto Musashi in Hiroshi Inagaki's Samurai Trilogy and one earlier Inagaki film, Lord Toranaga in the NBC TV miniseries Shōgun, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto in 3 different films. Toshiro Mifune was born on 1 April 1920 in Qingdao, China, to Japanese parents, his parents were Methodist missionaries working there. Mifune grew up with his parents and two younger siblings in Dalian, China, from 4 to 19 years of age, in Manchuria. In his youth, Mifune worked in the photography shop of his father Tokuzo, a commercial photographer and importer who had emigrated from northern Japan. After spending the first 19 years of his life in China, as a Japanese citizen, he was drafted into the Imperial Japanese Army Aviation division, where he served in the Aerial Photography unit during World War II.
In 1947, one of Mifune's friends who worked for the Photography Department of Toho Productions suggested Mifune try out for the Photography Department. He was accepted for a position as an assistant cameraman. At this time, a large number of Toho actors, after a prolonged strike, had left to form their own company, Shin Toho. Toho organized a "new faces" contest to find new talent. Mifune's friends submitted an photo, without his knowledge, he was accepted, along with 48 others, allowed to take a screen test for Kajirō Yamamoto. Instructed to mime anger, he drew from his wartime experiences. Yamamoto took a liking to Mifune; this led in Shin Baka Jidai. Mifune first encountered director Akira Kurosawa when Toho Studios, the largest film production company in Japan, was conducting a massive talent search, during which hundreds of aspiring actors auditioned before a team of judges. Kurosawa was going to skip the event, but showed up when Hideko Takamine told him of one actor who seemed promising. Kurosawa wrote that he entered the audition to see "a young man reeling around the room in a violent frenzy... it was as frightening as watching a wounded beast trying to break loose.
I was transfixed." When Mifune, finished his scene, he sat down and gave the judges an ominous stare. He lost the competition but Kurosawa was impressed. "I am a person impressed by actors," he said. "But in the case of Mifune I was overwhelmed." Among Mifune's fellow performers, one of the 32 women chosen during the new faces contest was Sachiko Yoshimine. Eight years Mifune's junior, she came from a respected Tokyo family, they fell in love and Mifune soon proposed marriage. Director Senkichi Taniguchi, with the help of Akira Kurosawa, convinced the Yoshimine family to allow the marriage; the wedding took place in February 1950 at the Aoyama Gakuin Methodist Church. Yoshimine was a Buddhist but since Mifune was a Christian, they were married in church as per Christian tradition. In November of the same year, their first son, Shirō was born. In 1955, they had Takeshi. Mifune's daughter Mika was born to his mistress, actress Mika Kitagawa, in 1982, his imposing bearing, acting range, facility with foreign languages and lengthy partnership with acclaimed director Akira Kurosawa made him the most famous Japanese actor of his time, the best known to Western audiences.
He portrayed samurai or rōnin who were coarse and gruff, inverting the popular stereotype of the genteel, clean-cut samurai. In such films as Seven Samurai and Yojimbo, he played characters who were comically lacking in manners, but replete with practical wisdom and experience, understated nobility, and, in the case of Yojimbo, unmatched fighting prowess. Sanjuro in particular contrasts this earthy warrior spirit with the useless, sheltered propriety of the court samurai. Kurosawa valued Mifune for his effortless portrayal of unvarnished emotion, once commenting that he could convey in only three feet of film an emotion for which the average Japanese actor would require ten feet, he was known for the effort he put into his performances. To prepare for Seven Samurai and Rashomon, Mifune studied footage of lions in the wild. Mifune has been credited as originating the "roving warrior" archetype, which he perfected during his collaboration with Kurosawa, his martial arts instructor was Yoshio Sugino of the Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū.
Sugino created the fight choreography for films such as Seven Samurai and Yojimbo, Kurosawa instructed his actors to emulate his movements and bearing. Clint Eastwood was among the first of many actors to adopt this wandering ronin with no name persona for foreign films, which he used to great effect in his Western roles in Spaghetti Westerns directed by Sergio Leone where he played the Man with No Name, a character similar to Mifune's seemingly-nameless ronin in Yojimbo. Mifune may be credited with originating the Yakuza archetype, with his performance as a mobster in Kurosawa's Drunken Angel, the first Yakuza film. Most of the sixteen Kurosawa–Mifune films are considered cinema classics; these include Drunken Angel, Stray Dog, Seven Samurai, The Hidden Fortress and Low, Throne of Blood and Sanjuro. (See fil
The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail
The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail is a 1945 Japanese period drama film and directed by Akira Kurosawa. It is based on the kabuki play Kanjinchō, in turn based on the Noh play Ataka; the film was banned by the occupying Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers due to its portrayal of feudal values. It was released after the signing of the Treaty of San Francisco in 1952. In 1185, the Heike family fights against the Minamoto family. After a bloody naval battle in the Pacific Ocean, Yoshitsune Minamoto defeats the enemy and the survivors commit suicide; when the triumphant Yoshitsune arrives in Kyoto, his brother, the Shogun Yoritomo, is uneasy and orders his men to arrest Yoshitsune. However, Yoshitsune escapes with six loyal samurai led by Benkei and they head to the country of his only friend Hidehira Fujiwara. Near the border, after crossing the forest disguised as monks, their porter discovers that they are Yoshitsune and the six samurais and advises that the fearful Kajiwara and his soldiers are waiting for them at the border to arrest them.
Yoshitsune disguises as a porter and at the barrier, Benkei has to convince Kajiwara that they are six monks traveling to collect donations to repair the Todai temple in Nara. Denjirō Ōkōchi as Benkei Susumu Fujita as Togashi Ken'ichi Enomoto as porter Masayuki Mori as Kamei Takashi Shimura as Kataoka Akitake Kōno as Ise Yoshio Kosugi as Suruga Iwai Hanshirō X as Yoshitsune Demio Yokoo as Hitachibō Yasuo Hisamatsu as Kajiwara's messenger Shōji Kiyokawa as Togashi's messenger The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail on IMDb The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail at AllMovie The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail at the Japanese Movie Database
Stray Dog (film)
Stray Dog is a 1949 Japanese crime drama film noir directed by Akira Kurosawa and starring Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura. It was Kurosawa's second film of 1949 released by Shintoho, it is received as a detective movie that explores the mood of Japan during its painful postwar recovery. The film is considered a precursor to buddy cop film genres; the film takes place during a heatwave in the middle of summer in post-war Tokyo. Rookie homicide detective Murakami has his Colt pistol stolen in a crowded trolley ride, he loses him. Remorsefully, he reports the theft at headquarters. After some preliminary investigation, he goes undercover in the city backstreets for days, trying to infiltrate the illicit arms market, he picks up the trail of a gun racket. Forensics discover that the stolen gun was used in a recent crime, Murakami is partnered up with the veteran detective Satō. After questioning a suspect, Satō and Murakami get a tip that their suspect may be a fan of baseball, they stake-out a local high-attendance baseball game looking for a gun dealer named Honda.
When they confront Honda, he points them to Yusa, a disenchanted war veteran who has resorted to desperate crime. They investigate Yusa's sister's house and his sweetheart, showgirl Harumi Namiki, which does not lead to immediate leads. Murakami's gun is used again in this time as a murder weapon, they continue to question Namiki at her mother's house. She is still reticent to talk, so Satō leaves to investigate Yusa's trail, while Murakami remains behind hoping that Namiki's mother can persuade her to begin cooperating. Satō comes across Yusa's most recent hideout, he places a call for Murakami, just as he is about to reveal Yusa's location, the criminal tries to shoot Satō dead in the hotel phone booth before he makes a run for it. Satō, though badly wounded, passes out from blood loss and is left for dead. A desperate Murakami arrives at the hospital to donate blood but is distraught when there is no word from the doctors if Satō will survive; the following morning, Namiki has a change of heart and informs Murakami that she had an appointment with Yusa at a train station nearby.
Murakami races to the train station and confronts a man based on his age, muddy clothes, left-handedness, three tips he has collected over the past few days. Yusa tries to bolt from the train station. Murakami pursues him into a forest and is shot in the arm, but Yusa wastes his last two remaining bullets. Murakami, in spite of his injury, still manages to wrestle Yusa down, handcuff him, take him into custody. Days back at the hospital, Satō has recovered and congratulates Murakami on receiving his first citation. Murakami sympathizes with Yusa's situation, until Satō tells him to forget about it and to get ready for the cases that he will need to solve in the future. Toshiro Mifune as Detective Murakami Takashi Shimura as Detective Satō Keiko Awaji as Harumi Namiki Eiko Miyoshi as Harumi's mother Noriko Honma as Wooden Tub Shop woman Isao Kimura as Yusa Minoru Chiaki as Girlie Show director Ichiro Sugai as Yayoi Hotel owner Gen Shimizu as Police Inspector Nakajima Noriko Sengoku as Girl Kurosawa mentioned in several interviews that his script was inspired by Jules Dassin’s The Naked City and the works of Georges Simenon.
Despite being one of Akira Kurosawa's most critically renowned postwar films, Stray Dog was not always held in such high regard by the director himself. Kurosawa said that he thought little of the film, calling it "too technical" and remarking that it contains "all that technique and not one real thought in it." His attitude had changed by 1982, when he wrote in his autobiography that "no shooting went as smoothly," and that "the excellent pace of the shooting and the good feeling of the crew can be sensed in the finished film." Stray Dog was distributed theatrically by Toho in Japan on 17 October 1949. The film received a theatrical release in the United States by Toho International with English subtitles on August 31, 1963. Stray Dog holds a 95% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average rating of 7.9/10. At the 1950 Mainichi Film Concours it won awards for Best Actor, Best Film Score, Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction; the film was included on Kinema Junpo's "Best Ten" of the year at third place.
The film was remade in 1973 as Nora inu for Shochiku. It was remade for television in 2013. Stray Dog on IMDb Stray Dog at AllMovie Excess in Stray Dog an essay by Chris Fujiwara at the Criterion Collection Stray Dog at the Japanese Movie Database
Sanshiro Sugata is the directorial debut of the Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa. First released in Japan on 25 March 1943 by Toho film studios, the film was released in the United States on 28 April 1974; the film is based on the novel of the same name written by Tsuneo Tomita, the son of prominent judoka Tsunejirō Tomita. It follows the story of Sanshiro, a talented though willful youth, who travels to the city in order to learn Jujutsu. However, upon his arrival he discovers a new form of self-defence: Judo; the main character is based on Saigō Shirō. The film is seen as an early example of Kurosawa's immediate grasp of the film-making process, includes many of his directorial trademarks, such as the use of wipes, weather patterns as reflections of character moods, abruptly changing camera speeds; the film itself was quite influential at the time, has been remade on no fewer than five occasions. It spawned a sequel, Sanshiro Sugata Part II, released in 1945 and directed by Kurosawa. In 1883, Sanshiro is a talented though willful youth who wishes to become a judo master by becoming a student at one of the city's martial arts schools.
His first attempts to find a suitable instructor fail until he finds a school with an accomplished judo master. Sanshiro is physically capable though he lacks any type of poise or reflection concerning his self-control and demeanor. After a grueling punishment set by his instructor to test his endurance by throwing him into a swamp overnight, Sanshiro begins to recognize the error in his ways and starts to appreciate that there is more to his life and to his art than simple muscle and brawn. Sanshiro becomes a leading student in his school; the city is looking to employ one of the local martial arts schools to guide the training of its local police force, the school of Sanshiro becomes a leading candidate along with its rival, the local school of Jujutsu. In a scheduled competition between the two schools, Sanshiro is chosen to represent his school in a public match to determine which school is best to train the local police in the martial arts; the scheduled bout gets off to a slow start but Sanshiro soon comes into his own and begins executing devastating throws which cause internal physical damage to his opponent, forced to give up after the third time he is violently sent to the ground by Sanshiro.
After the match, Sanshiro makes friends with his defeated opponent and becomes attracted to his daughter Sayo. Sayo is greeted as a local beauty in town and another jujutsu master, becomes a rival to Sanshiro for her affections; when he challenges Sanshiro to a duel to the death, Sanshiro accepts and defeats him by inflicting permanent crippling damage to Higaki. After emerging victorious from his duel, Sanshiro prepares for his next assignment in Yokohama while being escorted on the local train by the young Sayo, he promises to return to her. Susumu Fujita as Sanshiro Sugata Denjirō Ōkōchi as Shōgorō Yano Yukiko Todoroki as Sayo Murai Ryūnosuke Tsukigata as Gennosuke Higaki Takashi Shimura as Hansuke Murai Ranko Hanai as Osumi Kodana Sugisaku Aoyama as Tsunetami Iimura Ichiro Sugai as Police Chief Michitsune Mishima Yoshio Kosugi as Master Saburō Kodama Kokuten Kōdō as Buddhist Priest Michisaburō Segawa as Wada Akitake Kōno as Yoshima Dan Shōji Kiyokawa as Yūjirō Toda Kunio Mita as Kōhei Tsuzaki Akira Nakamura as Toranosuki Niiseki Eisaburō Sakauchi as Nemeto Hajime Hikari as Torakichi Following five years of second unit director work on films such as Uma and Roppa's Honeymoon, Kurosawa was given the go-ahead to direct his first film though he himself claimed that, in films like Uma, "I had been so much in charge of production I had felt like the director".
After hearing of a new novel from the writer Tomita Tsuneo, Kurosawa decided the project was for him and asked film producer Iwao Mori to buy the rights for him. According to Japanese cinema scholar Donald Richie, the reason Kurosawa was allowed to direct the film was because he had had two film scripts printed, including one of which had won the education minister's prize. However, his work was too far away from the government requirements for a wartime film. Tomita's novel, on the other hand, was considered "safe", dealing, as it did, with a Japanese subject such as the rivalry between judo and jujitsu, was a period piece, was a popularist subject. Kurosawa deliberately went out to make a "movie-like movie", as he knew he would not be able to insert any didactic qualities in the film. After the initial release, Japanese censors trimmed the film by 17 minutes; this footage was never recovered. The 1952 re-release opens with: "This film has been modified from the original version of Akira Kurosawa's debut film, which opened in 1943, without consulting the director or the production staff.
1,845 feet of footage was cut in 1944 to comply with the government's wartime entertainment policies." Paul Anderer emphasized Kurosawa's attention to the character of Gennosuke Higaki in the film. Higaki, created by Tsuneo Tomita for the novel taking inspiration from real life jujutsu master Mataemon Tanabe, is made in the film its central villain. Anderer stated: "Kurosawa would call Higaki his Mephistopheles and insist that he is the most interesting character in this film. Given the heightened drama of every scene he invades, the visual association between him and the shadow, as well as the sound of his voice -- cued as it is to the raging wind -- Higaki does spur Kurosawa to deviate from the path of a conventional wartime'spiritist' film; the director's focus shifts a
Sanshiro Sugata Part II
Sanshiro Sugata Part II is a 1945 film written and directed by Akira Kurosawa. It is based on the novel by son of Tomita Tsunejirō, the earliest disciple of judo, it was filmed in early 1945 in Japan towards the end of World War II. Unlike the original Sugata Sanshiro, the sequel is in part considered a propaganda film, it is believed to be the earliest known film sequel whose title is the original title followed by a number, predating the likes of French Connection II by decades. In the 1880s, a martial arts student continues his quest to become a judo master, from that discipline's founder, he learns enough to demonstrate his skill in a boxing match between American and Japanese fighters- at the end of the movie. The whole movie is about the rivalry between karate and judo martial artists, Sanshiro's struggle to do whats right. On one side there is the morally right thing to do, on the other the rules in the dojo, he decides to break all the rules, leave the dojo, fight the American boxer and the karate masters.
He wins both fights and at the end of the movie smiles while washing his face able to sleep and be happy Denjirō Ōkōchi - Shogoro Yano Susumu Fujita - Sanshiro Sugata Ryūnosuke Tsukigata - Gennosuke Higaki Akitake Kōno - Genzaburo Higaki Yukiko Todoroki - Sayo Soji Kiyokawa - Yujiro Toda Masayuki Mori - Yoshima Dan Seiji Miyaguchi - Kohei Tsuzaki Ko Ishida - Daisuburo Hidarimonji Kazu Hikari - Kihei Sekine Kokuten Kōdō - Buddhist Priest Saiduchi Ichiro Sugai - Yoshizo Fubiki Osman Yusuf - American Sailor Roy James - William Lister In his review of the original Sanshiro Sugata for Bright Lights Film Journal, Brian Libby noted that the film is "less propaganda-oriented" than its sequel. In the original film, "fighting is but a vehicle for a larger spiritual quest" whereas the sequel "promotes Japanese judo's superiority to Western boxing", setting a different tone. Christian Blauvelt, writing a review for Slant Magazine, agreed that the film is somewhat tainted by noticeable propaganda. Sanshiro's victory against the American boxer "is taken as a sign of Japanese physical and spiritual superiority".
He noted that "Sanshiro comes to the aid of defenseless Japanese who are being beaten up by a drunken American sailor". Christian Blauvelt however saw merit in the film as illustrated in the battle against the brothers of Gennosuke Higaki, the original film's villain: "Their battle takes place on a snow-covered hillside and matches the natural beauty of the first film's windstorm finale. In his years apprenticing at P. C. L. Kurosawa had become exposed to the films of John Ford, many of which played in Japan, before the foreign-film embargo that accompanied Japan's declaration of war on the United States in 1941. Like Ford, Kurosawa would emphasize the place of landscape in his films pairing his characters' emotional turmoil with the Elements; the rain in One Wonderful Sunday, Rashomon, or Seven Samurai, the beating sun in Stray Dog, the sinkhole in Drunken Angel, the snowfall in The Idiot, the wind in Dersu Uzala, the crashing waves of Kagemusha would express some emotional anguish of the characters and, as a kind of cinematic synecdoche, society as a whole."
The film was released in 2010 as part of a 4 DVD box set of Kurosawa's early films under the following designation: Eclipse Series 23: The First Films of Akira Kurosawa. The Criterion Collection. Sanshiro Sugata Part Two on IMDb Sanshiro Sugata Part II at AllMovie Sanshiro Sugata PartII at the Japanese Movie Database
Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south; the kanji that make up Japan's name mean "sun origin", it is called the "Land of the Rising Sun". Japan is a stratovolcanic archipelago consisting of about 6,852 islands; the four largest are Honshu, Hokkaido and Shikoku, which make up about ninety-seven percent of Japan's land area and are referred to as home islands. The country is divided into 47 prefectures in eight regions, with Hokkaido being the northernmost prefecture and Okinawa being the southernmost one; the population of 127 million is the world's tenth largest. 90.7 % of people live in cities. About 13.8 million people live in the capital of Japan. The Greater Tokyo Area is the most populous metropolitan area in the world with over 38 million people. Archaeological research indicates; the first written mention of Japan is in Chinese history texts from the 1st century AD.
Influence from other regions China, followed by periods of isolation from Western Europe, has characterized Japan's history. From the 12th century until 1868, Japan was ruled by successive feudal military shōguns who ruled in the name of the Emperor. Japan entered into a long period of isolation in the early 17th century, ended in 1853 when a United States fleet pressured Japan to open to the West. After nearly two decades of internal conflict and insurrection, the Imperial Court regained its political power in 1868 through the help of several clans from Chōshū and Satsuma – and the Empire of Japan was established. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, victories in the First Sino-Japanese War, the Russo-Japanese War and World War I allowed Japan to expand its empire during a period of increasing militarism; the Second Sino-Japanese War of 1937 expanded into part of World War II in 1941, which came to an end in 1945 following the Japanese surrender. Since adopting its revised constitution on May 3, 1947, during the occupation led by SCAP, the sovereign state of Japan has maintained a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy with an Emperor and an elected legislature called the National Diet.
Japan is a member of the ASEAN Plus mechanism, UN, the OECD, the G7, the G8, the G20, is considered a great power. Its economy is the world's third-largest by nominal GDP and the fourth-largest by purchasing power parity, it is the world's fourth-largest exporter and fourth-largest importer. Japan benefits from a skilled and educated workforce. Although it has renounced its right to declare war, Japan maintains a modern military with the world's eighth-largest military budget, used for self-defense and peacekeeping roles. Japan is a developed country with a high standard of living and Human Development Index, its population enjoys the highest life expectancy and third lowest infant mortality rate in the world, but is experiencing issues due to an aging population and low birthrate. Japan is renowned for its historical and extensive cinema, influential music industry, video gaming, rich cuisine and its major contributions to science and modern technology; the Japanese word for Japan is 日本, pronounced Nihon or Nippon and means "the origin of the sun".
The character nichi means "sun" or "day". The compound therefore means "origin of the sun" and is the source of the popular Western epithet "Land of the Rising Sun"; the earliest record of the name Nihon appears in the Chinese historical records of the Tang dynasty, the Old Book of Tang. At the end of the seventh century, a delegation from Japan requested that Nihon be used as the name of their country; this name may have its origin in a letter sent in 607 and recorded in the official history of the Sui dynasty. Prince Shōtoku, the Regent of Japan, sent a mission to China with a letter in which he called himself "the Emperor of the Land where the Sun rises"; the message said: "Here, I, the emperor of the country where the sun rises, send a letter to the emperor of the country where the sun sets. How are you". Prior to the adoption of Nihon, other terms such as Yamato and Wakoku were used; the term Wa is a homophone of Wo 倭, used by the Chinese as a designation for the Japanese as early as the third century Three Kingdoms period.
Another form of Wa, Wei in Chinese) was used for an early state in Japan called Nakoku during the Han dynasty. However, the Japanese disliked some connotation of Wa 倭, it was therefore replaced with the substitute character Wa, meaning "togetherness, harmony"; the English word Japan derives from the historical Chinese pronunciation of 日本. The Old Mandarin or early Wu Chinese pronunciation of Japan was recorded by Marco Polo as Cipangu. In modern Shanghainese, a Wu dialect, the pronunciation of characters 日本; the old Malay word for Japan, Japun or Japang, was borrowed from a southern coastal Chinese dialect Fukienese or Ningpo – and this Malay word was encountered by Portuguese traders in Southeast Asia in the 16th century. These Early Portuguese traders brought the word
The Hidden Fortress
The Hidden Fortress is a 1958 jidaigeki adventure film directed by Akira Kurosawa and starring Toshiro Mifune as General Makabe Rokurōta and Misa Uehara as Princess Yuki. Two bedraggled peasants and Matashichi, reveal through conversation that they had intended to fight alongside the Yamana clan, but turned up too late, were taken for soldiers of the defeated Akizuki clan, forced to bury the dead. After quarreling and splitting up, the two are both again captured separately and forced to dig for gold in the Akizuki castle with other prisoners. After a prisoner uprising and Matashichi escape. Near a river they find; the peasants encounter a mysterious man who takes them to a hidden Akizuki fortress after they tell him their plan to evade the Yamana soldiers who are preventing people from crossing the frontier to Hayakawa. Their plan involves traveling to Yamana itself and passing to Hayakawa through a different border; the man turns out to be a General of Makabe Rokurōta. Although Rokurōta was planning on killing the peasants, on hearing their plan, he decides to let them live.
He realizes that their plan is so ingenious that he decides, without telling them, to use their plan to move the Akizuki Princess Yuki to Hayakawa whose lord is an ally of the Akizuki clan. While Rokurōta is escorting Princess Yuki Akizuki and what remains of her family's gold to Hayakawa and Tahei don't know the girl traveling with them is the Princess. In order to keep her identity secret, Yuki poses as a mute so that she doesn't inadvertently speak in the usual mode characteristic of a noblewoman. During the mission, the peasants sometimes try to seize the gold, they are joined by a farmer’s daughter, whom they acquire from an inn-keeper. They avoid being captured on one occasion by Rokurōta killing four soldiers of a Yamana patrol, including two soldiers Rokurōta has to pursue on horseback. However, Rokurōta ends up in a Yamana camp, where the general in charge is Rokurōta's friendly rival Hyoe Tadokoro. Tadokoro states that he is sorry he didn't face Rokurōta in battle and decides to have a lance duel which Rokurōta wins.
Rokurōta refuses to kill Tadokoro. Rokurōta tells Tadokoro they'll meet again and leaves the camp on horseback to get back to the Princess, they are captured by Yamana soldiers close to a post on the Hayakawa border and held prisoner to be executed. In the confusion and Tahei are able to hide and avoid being taken prisoner. Hyoe Tadokoro comes to identify the prisoners. Tadokoro shows a large face scar and explains it is a result of a beating ordered by the Yamana lord for losing the duel with Rokurōta. While Tadokoro is meeting them, the Princess gives a speech on how facing death she has enjoyed the trip and getting to know humanity's ugliness and beauty closely; the next day as the soldiers start marching the prisoners to be executed, Tadokoro sides with the Princess, Rokurōta and the farmer's daughter. Tadokoro joins them in their escape across the border to Hayakawa; the horses carrying the gold escape. After the Princess and Rokurōta's escape and Tahei stumble upon the gold, carried by the horses, but are arrested by Hayakawa soldiers.
The soldiers take the peasants to see the general, whereupon Rokurōta explains Yuki's true identity, states that all of the gold will be used to restore her family's domain. The peasants are dispatched, taking a single ryō. Tahei gives this to Matashichi to protect. Toshiro Mifune as General Rokurota Makabe Minoru Chiaki as Tahei Kamatari Fujiwara as Matashichi Susumu Fujita as General Hyoe Tadokoro Takashi Shimura as General Izumi Nagakura Misa Uehara as Princess Yuki Eiko Miyoshi as Yuki's lady-in-waiting Toshiko Higuchi as farmer's daughter bought from slave trader Yū Fujiki as barrier guard Yoshio Tsuchiya as samurai on horse Kokuten Kōdō as old man in front of sign Kōji Mitsui as pit guard This was Kurosawa's first feature filmed in a widescreen format, which he continued to use for the next decade. Hidden Fortress was presented with Perspecta directional sound, re-created for the Criterion DVD release. Key parts of the film were shot in Hōrai Valley in Hyōgo; the Hidden Fortress was released theatrically in Japan on December 28, 1958.
The film was the highest-grossing film for Toho in 1958, ranking as the fourth overall highest-grossing films in Japan that year. In box-office terms, The Hidden Fortress was Kurosawa’s most successful film, until the 1961 release of Yojimbo; the film was released theatrically in the United States by Toho International Col. with English subtitles. It was screened in San Francisco on November 1959 and received a wider release on October 6, 1960 with a 126-minute running time; the film was re-issued in the United States in 1962 with a 90-minute running time. Writing for The Criterion Collection in 1987, David Ehrenstein called it "one of the greatest action-adventure films made" and a "fast-paced and visually stunning" samurai film." According to Ehrenstein: "The battle on the steps in Chapter 2 is as visually overwhelming as any of the similar scenes in Griffith's Intolerance. The use of composition in depth in the fortress scene in Chapter 4 is as arresting as the best of Eisenstein or David Lean.
Toshiro Mifune's muscular demonstrations of heroic derring-do in the horse-charge scene and