#211: Throne of Blood (1957)

When and how did I watch this?

October 12th and 13th, 2015, on Hulu Plus.

Had I seen this film already?


What did I know about the movie before watching it?

I discovered it’s an Asian version of Macbeth (which is among my favorite Shakespeare works) and it is the same director as Seven Samurai, a mainstay at the top of this list.  I knew I was in for a treat.

What do I know about it now?


A significant portion of the movie brought upon intrigue and chills. Kurosawa brings tension and imagery akin to Hitchcock, using facial expressions and camera angles to draw you in.  I think a lot of modern movies are afraid of being boring and avoid stops and silences.  This film reminds us how important it is to allow a scene to marinate, to let the character’s reactions and postures do the work rather than adding more action or dialogue to fill in the blanks. The most haunting scenes were when nothing was actually happening; Washizu’s wife delivered many moments where her blank stares or obsessive monologue intrigued or frightened us. The legendary washing-of-the-hands moment really got my attention, even though I expected it.

What are some themes in the film?

Destiny/fate, murder, foresight, tragedy, honor

Did this affect me personally?


Why is this ranked #211?

A loyal following of Kurosawa from Japan, and a recognition of talent from American voters.  And everyone loves Macbeth, especially a well-done one.

Did my wife watch/like it?

She was intrigued from start to finish.

Would I watch it again?

I’d like a rewatch down the road sometime.

Would I recommend it to a friend?

It’s another gateway to foreign films. You, my friend, are missing out.

Does it deserve to be on this list as one of the greatest films of all time?

Easily.  I’m glad it’s recognized alongside others with far more local prestige. Surely it was difficult to make such elaborate films in the 50s, but this director swung it, and apparently there’s more where this came from.

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