The Hidden Fortress

(Kakushi-toride no san-akunin)

Must-See Cinema! 100th anniversary of Kurosawa’s birth!

The Hidden Fortress, Japanese poster artTwo constantly bickering and bumbling farmers on the run from clan wars are dragooned by superman general Toshirô Mifune into aiding his rescue of fugitive princess Misa Uehara and her family’s hidden gold; at the last moment help arrives from a completely unexpected source. Probably Kurosawa’s most dazzling exercise in pure filmmaking (his first use of ’Scope includes a Potemkin-in-reverse slave revolt; elaborately choreographed fire festival; and one of the greatest entrances in film history), and perhaps Mifune’s most purely swashbuckling vehicle. He did all his own stunts – including a fight on horseback at full gallop, an extended spear duel with the opposing general; and effortlessly yanking up a cohort behind him as his mount thunders toward a hairbreadth escape. This richly comic fairy tale for adults is pure entertainment, acknowledged as the source for Star Wars – didn’t that plot synopsis sound familiar?

 – Film Forum New York

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