The Hidden Fortress

( 18 )

Overview

Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress original Japanese title: Kakushi Toride No San Akunin stars Minoru Chiaki and Kamatari Fujiwara as a pair of misfit soldiers. Running from the enemy after a disastrous defeat, the two soldiers fall in with general Toshiro Mifune, who is in search of a huge cache of gold. Mifune is also desirous of freeing princess-in-exile Misa Uehara from the clutches of the evil victorious army. Several large and small battles ensue before Mifune can realize his goal. If the plot of Hidden ...
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Overview

Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress original Japanese title: Kakushi Toride No San Akunin stars Minoru Chiaki and Kamatari Fujiwara as a pair of misfit soldiers. Running from the enemy after a disastrous defeat, the two soldiers fall in with general Toshiro Mifune, who is in search of a huge cache of gold. Mifune is also desirous of freeing princess-in-exile Misa Uehara from the clutches of the evil victorious army. Several large and small battles ensue before Mifune can realize his goal. If the plot of Hidden Fortress sounds vaguely familiar to you, try this exercise: substitute two robots for Chiaki and Fujiwara, Mark Hamill for Mifune, and Carrie Fisher for Uehara. George Lucas himself admitted that Hidden Fortress was a principal inspiration for his Star Wars saga; stretching the point farther, both Hidden Fortress and Star Wars had their roots in John Ford's The Searchers. Originally released in a 137-minute form, The Hidden Fortress was sliced to ribbons by its American distributors, and years later received extensive restoration.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Michael Costello
Kurosawa's light adventure is probably best known as one of the primary inspirations for George Lucas' Star Wars (1977), but it's a masterful entertainment in its own right. Toshiro Mifune stars as a famous general who uses a couple of clownish peasants to help him transport a gold shipment and a volatile young princess through enemy territory. The film was the pioneering effort of the Japanese film industry in the use of the widescreen ratio, and, in a sense, Kurosawa's brilliantly supple deployment of the process is the star of the film. Especially in the early sequences in the prison and the quarry, the director achieves extraordinary effects of mass and scale as he suggests the smallness of the squabbling peasants and the stature of General Rokurota. He also uses the available space to spread the characters as far as he can, expressing the common distrust that is, at times, the only emotion these four very differently motivated characters share. Kurosawa has often suggested to his actors that they imagine themselves as various animals in an effort to elicit a more overtly physical performance, and that seems to be the case here, as the slightly exaggerated ensemble acting style enhances the humor of a film that is sometimes reminiscent of an early silent. Mifune, a virtuoso of physical acting, did all his own stunts, the most impressive being a horse-mounted pursuit while swinging a sword. Like Star Wars, the film has something of the quality of a fairy tale, one which can be appreciated both by children and adults.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/16/2009
  • UPC: 715515047012
  • Original Release: 1958
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Wide Screen / Subtitled / B&W
  • Time: 2:19:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 13,192

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Toshiro Mifune Gen. Rokurota Makabe
Misa Uehara Lady Yukihime
Kamatari Fujiwara Matashichi
Minoru Chiaki Tahei
Susumu Fujita Gen. Hyoe Tadokoro
Takashi Shimura The Old General, Izumi Nagakura
Eiko Miyoshi Lady-in-waiting
Toshiko Higuchi The Farmer's Daughter
Kichijiro Ueda Girl-Dealer
Koji Mitsui Soldier
Tadao Nakamaru Young Man
Ikio Sawamura Gambler
Technical Credits
Akira Kurosawa Director, Editor, Producer, Screenwriter
Masumi Fujimoto Producer
Shinobu Hashimoto Screenwriter
Ryuzo Kikushima Screenwriter
Yoshiro Muraki Production Designer
Hideo Oguni Screenwriter
Masaru Sato Score Composer
Kazuo Yamazaki Cinematographer
Fumio Yanoguchi Sound/Sound Designer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Essential Art House: The Hidden Fortress
1. Lost [4:46]
2. Wanted [4:01]
3. Capture and Escape [5:35]
4. "Find the Princess" [4:35]
5. Followed [1:40]
6. The General [5:59]
7. "A Hidden Fortess" [4:15]
8. Rokurota Makabe [5:17]
9. "It's a Girl" [4:34]
10. Princess Yuki [4:01]
11. Doubting a General [2:27]
12. The Truth [4:29]
13. Trusting Fools [5:10]
14. Leaving the Fortress [3:53]
15. Running Away [4:04]
16. Botched Escape [5:30]
17. Tricking the Guards [6:28]
18. A Woman's Worth [3:51]
19. Princess Yuki's Command [3:22]
20. Rokurota in Action [2:39]
21. Duel [8:10]
22. In the Rain [5:52]
23. Perfect Cover [2:47]
24. Fire Festival [5:02]
25. Fool's Gold [4:02]
26. Pressing Onward [2:18]
27. Drawing Fire [4:07]
28. The Price of Friendship [6:27]
29. A Change of Heart [5:17]
30. "Lucky to Have Our Heads" [3:44]
31. Arrested and Rewarded [3:54]
32. Color Bars [:00]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Essential Art House: The Hidden Fortress
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 18 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

(10)

3 Star

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2 Star

(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2014

    A total classic. Like with most Kurosawa films, it feels epic in

    A total classic. Like with most Kurosawa films, it feels epic in size with likable characters. Also, you can easily see the basis for Han Solo, Princess Leia, and the Droids.

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  • Posted July 27, 2012

    Masterful and you do see in what areas Star Wars was inspired by

    Masterful and you do see in what areas Star Wars was inspired by. I love the way Kurosawa plays with like and amazing camera angles. Such a great story

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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