Kurosawa’s stories move to the rhythms of nature and this fable about two ne’er-do-wells, a warrior and a princess trying to escape with a stash of gold from their kingdom after it’s besieged by enemies is no exception. As always, Mifune is fantastic, proving his status as one of the century’s most riveting screen actors. I enjoyed The Hidden Fortress as I do all of Kurosawa’s movies, not so much for the larger story in play but for those wonderful, keenly felt moments of life in harmonious balance with the world surrounding it.
Fortress may be a bit too long for Western mindsets. This master filmmaker, rooted in Eastern narrative tradition, paces his adventure like a tone poem–gently and deliberately. A highlight (and my favorite moment in the film), by the way, is the spear-wielding face-off between Mifune’s warrior and the enemy’s chieftain, his erstwhile friend and comrade. Also important to note: This is a great movie for introducing Kurosawa to children.
Directed by: Akira Kurosawa
Written by:Shinobu Hashimoto, Ryuzo Kikushima, Akira Kurosawa, Hideo Ogumi
Cast: Toshiro Mifune, Misa Uehara, Minour Chiaki, Kamatari Fujiwara, Takashi Shimura