Kagemusha

It was supposed to rain, and I went out with my umbrella, but I saw no rain at all. I worked on materials for my classes and headed out to work. I listened to the end of the World Series game on the radio. The Mets are in trouble. I watched “Kagemusha” on Blu-ray. The first scene is so grainy that I couldn’t tell whether the movie in high definition was any good. When I saw the men outside, though, the colors looked bright, making me think for a moment of “How I Won the War.” Kurosawa manages the color images like a true artist. This may be his greatest color film. It does, however, feel like it’s moving too slowly with its three-hour length. I thought before and I keep thinking that Toshiro Mifune should have been in this film. The years from 1980 to 1985 could have been more productive for Kurosawa, and it’s a shame he didn’t make at least one more film during that period. The warlord Shingen is shot and eventually dies from his injury, and his double takes his place for appearance’s sake. This suggests the role of an actor in a movie, as if Kurosawa is commenting on his own work. The double isn’t exactly like Christian Bale in his attempt to play his role to the fullest. Emotions are suppressed in this story. I liked looking at the background to see if there was anything I had missed from the previous times I’d seen the movie. I was actually just waiting for the last twenty minutes. I couldn’t stop thinking about the horses. Shingen’s double acted like a fool. I laughed at the part where he was told to stay away from the mistresses. Everybody was dumb enough to accept this stranger as the real lord. It did make me think of the twin sister of the former student that I saw on Tuesday. The resemblance was so great that I could have been deceived. What I remember most about “Kagemusha” was the succession of color schemes. I remember the wind whipping through the scenes, too. “Kagemusha” stayed in the mind much longer than “Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears,” which was in theatres in the same year. It goes to show that we’ll remember the work of a great artist longer than anything else that passes our way, no matter the attention the films get from the media. The thoughts on death were haunting, especially if you think of Shingen as Kurosawa. The work of an artist haunts everyone after death. Watching this movie again made me appreciate the years when Kurosawa was still alive. I saw “Ran” when it was originally released. Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas are credited as executive producers of “Kagemusha.” This had to be the greatest role they played for any film outside their own work. I think I’ve seen the special features on the disc before, but I didn’t want to sit through any of them again last night because I was tired. The art that Kurosawa created before making the film was striking and is worth looking at apart from the film. I’m not sure that deception, acting, and the nature of power are the best ideas to try to capture on film, but then Kurosawa wouldn’t have been great if he didn’t attempt what was difficult or different. Some directors don’t have two great films in their late period, as Kurosawa and Buñuel did. Some directors don’t have two great films to their credit at all. It’s a great accomplishment to produce even one genuine masterpiece. Audiences are gluttonous and think that artists are supposed to churn out masterpieces like a factory. Kurosawa was born in 1910 and died in 1998. He had an accident in 1995 which led to him being confined to a wheelchair. He spent the last months of his life listening to music and watching television at home. The screenplays he worked on after the release of his last movie were “The Sea is Watching” and “After the Rain.” I wouldn’t want to spend my last years of life injured and unable to do any work. Kurosawa’s last films received negative reviews, and I can’t say that I thought they were great films, but each of them had their merits. Until the end, he strove to make films that were meaningful and personal. He probably spent too much money making “Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams.” Perhaps it was too personal a project. He should have kept his audience in mind, which is what he usually did. The Battle of Nagashino actually happened in 1575. That last sequence is one of the most impressive accomplishments of Kurosawa’s career. They gave actors real armor from the 16th century to wear for the film, which I find incredible. I fell asleep and awoke to see the end of the Banacek episode “Horse of a Slightly Different Color,” which was a mystery about a vanishing race horse. I miss those days of the NBC mystery shows because that was a time before I became an adult, and Banacek and the others were so entertaining to me, if they weren’t exactly heroes. I really liked Banacek’s theme song, too, and I wonder what happened to the TV theme song over the years. I was reminded of this when I saw Matt Damon watching a Happy Days episode in “The Martian.” I wondered how many of the younger workers at NASA knew anything about The Fonz. I couldn’t get back to sleep, so I watched Night Gallery. The first episode would have been scarier if it didn’t show a bad monster costume which diminished the fear like in a 1950s movie. It was called “Pickman’s Model,” I believe. The second episode was “The Cold.” I thought it had too much voiceover, but it did make me shiver at the end. The Alfred Hitchcock Hour episode was called “Blood Bargain” and had Richard Kiley, Richard Long, and Anne Francis. Anne Francis was in “Forbidden Planet. She lived until 2011, when she died of cancer at age 80. She was in a retirement home in Santa Barbara at the time. She was also in “Bad Day at Black Rock,” “The Blackboard Jungle,” and “Funny Girl,” as well as the Honey West television series. For a long time, I didn’t know whatever happened to Richard Long. He had a bad heart, and he died in 1974, when he was only 47. Richard Kiley was also in “Blackboard Jungle,” and some of his other credits include “The Little Prince,” “Looking for Mr. Goodbar,” “Endless Love,” “Howard the Duck,” and “Patch Adams.” He died in 1999 at age 76. Some of the people who died on October 29 include Louis B. Mayer (1957), Adolphe Menjou (1963), Duane Allman (1971), Woody Herman (1987), Terry Southern (1995), and Lloyd Bochner (2005). Today is a birthday for Randy Jackson (54), Dan Castellaneta (58), Richard Dreyfuss (68), and Melba Moore (70). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind segment for October 29, Capitol Records released the Beach Boys’ debut album “Surfin’ Safari” in 1962. ? and the Mysterians had the Number One single in 1966, “96 Tears.” In 1971, Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident in Georgia at age 24. In 1977, the Queen album “News of the World” was released. In 1978, “Halloween” was the Number One movie at the box office. In 1983, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton had the Number One single, “Islands in the Stream.”

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Movies. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s