This past weekend I watched two samurai movies, Hiroshi Inagaki's Chushingura and Akira Kurosawa's Throne of Blood.
Chushingura movie poster
Chushingura is an account of the famous story of the 47 Ronin. A couple of weeks ago I saw another version of the 47 Ronin called Swords of Vengeance: Fall of Ako Castle. Ako Castle is a newer version released in 1978 while Chushingura was released in 1962. Both versions were very similar of course since they were retelling the same famous story. But they were also different in many ways. Chushingura spent a lot more time leading up to the event where Lord Asano of the Ako clan finally loses his cool and attempts to kill Lord Kira for his repeated insults. Whereas Ako Castle had the movie open up with Asano attacking Kira. Chushingura was more emotional and Ako Castle spent more time following the loyal ronin as they planned for two years their goal of taking Lord Kira's head. I liked both versions although Chushingura was really long. I liked how Fall of Ako Castle got right to the ronin's two years of planning and I really like the final battle scene from Fall of Ako Castle. But I also liked the emotional aspect of Chushingura and the final battle scene was impressive as well.
Throne of Blood movie poster
Throne of Blood is a famous 1957 film from Akira Kurosawa and is a film adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth. This is another impressive Kurosawa film. If you are a Kurosawa fan or just a samurai film fan, this is a must see. The film stars Toshiro Mifune as Washizu Taketoki. Washizu is somewhat less evil than Macbeth and he does not die in a duel at the end of the film. However, he meets his end in a pretty impressive scene in which he is shot dozens of times by his own archers, finally succumbing when an arrow pierces his neck. The castle exteriors were filmed on the slopes of Mt. Fuji which is also where Kurosawa later filmed Ran. This movie is often mentioned by critics as one of the best film adaptations of Macbeth.