Rashomon - Akira Kurosawa
I saw a film or tv show once when I was a kid and this one scene really stuck with me. I remember this big giant stone ball rolling down these outdoor steps. A guy melodramatically jumps in front of the runaway ball and stops it with his bare hands, sacrificing himself (I think) to save someone. And, I think it killed him in the process. Do you have any ideas what film or tv show it might have been? Thanks.
Hmmm… I’m sorry man, this isn’t ringing any bells for me. Anyone have an idea what this might be?
Hi, Is it true that Toshiro Mifune was to star in Goyokin? Would you know which role he was supposed to play? Thanks
Sorry for how late this is man.
Mifune was indeed suppossed to star in Goyokin as Samon Fujimaki. They’d actually shot half the film with him in the role before he dropped out. I’ve seen a lot of reasons for this, from sickness to disagreements with Hideo Gosha, to just simply being too damn cold where they filmed. I think it’s most likely because Gosha was nuts. He was notoriously mean on set, and while Mifune might have put up with Kurosawa being a bit of a director/dictator long enough to build a mutual respect, at the point of his career when Goyokin was being filmed, he just didn’t have to take that anymore. This is probably why we never see Mifune in any of Gosha’s films, which is a damn shame. By the way, this is all according to Patrick Galloway’s book, Warring Clans, Flashing Blades.
I would have loved to see him in the part. Mifune and Nakadai are always great together. Kinnosuke Nakamura does an excellent job in the role, though it’s quite different than what I imagine Mifune’s interpretation to be.
Rashomon - Akira Kurosawa
Painting/poster by Kent Williams
Hey I'm having a Samurai Sunday with my friends who are less antiquated with older samurai films. I'm looking for a couple good movies to help introduce them to the genre. Any suggestions?
Depends a bit on your friend’s tastes, but I would go with a couple classics on different ends of the spectrum to introduce the genre.
First, Yojimbo. Because of how fun, badass, and hilarious it is, it’s a great entry point to the genre I think. Particularly if they’re fans of westerns (Sergio Leone essentially took Yojimbo, and put it in the American west to make A Fistful of Dollars). It also introduces Akira Kurosawa, Toshiro Mifune, and Tatsuya Nakadai (and quite a few other samurai movie ‘regulars’) which you’ll hopefully be seeing more of soon.
Next, I would go with my favorite, and perhaps the most dramatic and gut-wrenching- Harakiri. Many people don’t appreciate just how deep samurai movies can get, and brush them off as simple action flicks, but Harakiri proves just how complex they can be. Brilliant direction from another staple, Masaki Kobayashi, brilliant acting, lots of symbolism, questioning, and criticism of the samurai and Japanese society in general (many samurai films like this one where used to veil social commentary in a time where they would be censored). Despite the complexity, it’s not hard to follow or understand, but rather, a film that you’ll find more and more to appreciate with each viewing. One of the most amazing endings around also.
Good luck with your Samurai Sunday! We need more of those around. If you need more suggestions you can check the list on my page of course, but Criterion’s Samurai Cinema selection is a great list of guaranteed classics.