Throne of Blood (1957) poster
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Generals Miki and Washizu are Samurai commanders under a local lord, Lord Tsuzuki, who reigns in the castle of the Spider's Web Forest. After defeating the lord's enemies in battle, they return to Tsuzuki's castle. On their way through the thick forest surrounding the castle, they meet a spirit, who foretells their future. The spirit tells them that today Washizu will be named Lord of the Northern Garrison and Miki will now be commander of the first fortress. She then foretells that Washizu will eventually become Lord of Spiderweb Castle, and finally she tells Miki that his son will also become lord of the castle. When the two return to Tsuzuki's estate, he rewards them with exactly what the spirit had predicted. As Washizu discusses this with Asaji, his wife, she manipulates him into making the second part of the prophecy come true by killing Tsuzuki when he visits. Washizu kills him with the help of his wife, who gives drugged sake to the lord's guards, causing them to fall asleep. When Washizu returns in shock at his deed, Asaji grabs the bloody spear and puts it in the hands of one of the three unconscious guards. She then yells "murder" through the courtyard, and Washizu slays the guard before he has a chance to plead his innocence. Edit Translation

  • English
  • 中文(台灣)
  • Español
  • magyar / magyar nyelv
  • Country: Japan
  • Type: Movie
  • Release Date: Jan 15, 1957
  • Duration: 1 hr. 45 min.
  • Score: N/A (scored by 0 users)
  • Ranked: #3120
  • Popularity: #10689
  • Content Rating: Not Yet Rated

Cast & Credits

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Throne of Blood (1957) photo
Throne of Blood (1957) photo
Throne of Blood (1957) photo
Throne of Blood (1957) photo
Throne of Blood (1957) photo
Throne of Blood (1957) photo

Reviews

Completed
The Butterfly
4 people found this review helpful
Sep 30, 2022
Completed 2
Overall 8.5
Story 8.5
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 6.0
Rewatch Value 8.5
This review may contain spoilers

Oh, what a tangled web we weave...

The legendary team of Kurosawa Akira and Mifune Toshiro tackle Shakespeare's Macbeth in Throne of Blood. While hitting most of the bard's main beats, Kurosawa takes the murderous couple to feudal Japan in this highly stylized film.

Mifune plays Washizu (Macbeth) caging the frenetic energy always just below this actor's surface. Washizu and his friend Miki are returning to their lord's keep, aptly named Spider Web Castle, after defeating an opposing lord's army in battle. Lost in the woods, they come across a ghostly forest spirit who foretells their future. Washizu will become the next lord of Spider Web Castle and Mizi's son will become it's future lord. Both men are incredulous as they make their way to the castle through the fog, even more incredulous when the prophetic events begin to come true.

Washizu becomes the leader of the North Garrison where he and his wife (the talented Yamada Isuzu) live a comfortable life. Lady Washizu is not content though and stirs up feelings of ambition and dread in her husband telling him that the lord may seek to kill him seeing him as a rival, especially if Miki tells of the prophecy. Washizu is not convinced but when the lord ominously drops into their hands, it doesn't take much convincing from his wife to perform the murderous deed. Miki throws in with him out of his own ambition or pragmatism. The prince and Noriyasu (Kurosawa regular-Shimura Takashi) flee to their old enemy and make a pact with him.

Lady Washizu unrelentingly keeps up the murderous whispers until man after man is slain in order to keep their new status. Even as they work to stay on top, the doubts and guilt begin to build until the subtle and not so subtle signs of madness begin to creep in. With each passing day his men's doubts grow as does the strength of their enemy.

There is all sorts of imagery in this film starting with Kurosawa's trademark wind and rain ushering in dark changes. Fog blinding the men as they try to find their way ushers in chaos and uncertainty. Washizu and Lady Washizu act almost as if they are wearing masks. She barely moves and when she does it usually means someone is about to die as the only sound you hear is the rustling of her silk dress as it slithers across the floor. At the end when the opposing army shows up, they are highlighted in sunlight while Washizu always seems to be in rain or fog or dim, claustrophobic lighting. The name Spider Web Castle reflects the deadly web the couple find themselves in, one they cannot extract themselves from.

The forest spirit tells Washizu and Miki,
"Human beings are so strange,
they are terrified to look into
the bottom of their hearts."

Washizu, his wife and Miki end up looking into their hearts and find more darkness than they were aware of. Paranoia drives Washizu to have his best friend murdered and see treachery all around him. The spirit's prophecy causes the chaos that sinks into a man's soul inciting greed and winning at any cost to take over. Was the spirit prophesying or setting events into motion with the prophecy? Did the men act of their own will or were they victims of predestination?

The sets were amazing. Always looking for that perfect shot, Kurosawa didn't like the initial castle set and had another imposing one built on Mt Fuji. In two different scenes, especially the final one, it didn't take much acting to show fear when arrows were being fired as they were really being shot at the actors.

Kurosawa wasn't afraid to use silence and time to create tension in scenes, something rarely used in today's films. The scene with the silent castle as the troops slowly approached not knowing if they would receive a welcome or death was particularly powerful.

Wind and fog come again at the end of the film along with the chorus, reminding the viewer that desire and fate are never changing. The castle of delusion is never far away when one gives into the baser ambitions at the bottom of their hearts. Throne of Blood uses no iambic pentameter, nor Shakespearean quotes, maybe it's the stronger for it.


9/29/22

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Completed
3folddado
0 people found this review helpful
Jun 15, 2021
Completed 0
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 10

Kurosawa does Shakespeare

When you have a collaboration between Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune you know you are in for a wide-eyed visual treat, but throw in Shakespeare, and well, you have a timeless motion picture for the ages. This is perhaps the most stunning adaptation of Macbeth ever committed to the screen, taking it out of medieval Scotland and transplanting it into feudal Japan with a seamless translation proving the themes of this play are universal. If you love the story of Macbeth, you will be thoroughly engrossed in this adaptation, although, be warned, there are several changes that might leave some stuffy scholars and obsessive/compulsive purists pulling out their hair.

Do you have a deep seeded fear of Shakespeare? Never heard of the play Macbeth? No worries, this is also a terrific Samurai film complete with lots of violent sword play and gloriously choreographed battles. Toshiro Mifune gives you his all in his role, but Isuzu Yamada also delivers a standout performance as his conniving wife.

In short, whether you are a student Shakespeare, a film student, or just enjoy a good samurai movie, you will not be disappointed in investing your time in this classic.

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Details

  • Movie: Throne of Blood
  • Country: Japan
  • Release Date: Jan 15, 1957
  • Duration: 1 hr. 45 min.
  • Content Rating: Not Yet Rated

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  • Score: N/A (scored by 0 users)
  • Ranked: #3120
  • Popularity: #10689
  • Watchers: 656

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