Kakushi-toride no san-akunin

The rain was steady and pretty hard.  I stayed in the office and tried to get things done.  I briefly went out for a slice of pizza and got back to work, and graded papers and eventually gave my lecture.  I came home later than usual and bought some frozen yogurt before sitting down to watch “The Hidden Fortress.”  It brought back memories of the night I saw Toshiro Mifune in person.  The movie has come to be known as the inspiration for the first Star Wars movie.  It does have the two comical characters and a princess.  There was an action sequence with Mifune on horseback that reminded me of “Return of the Jedi.”  The editing looked like it was in the style of “Seven Samurai.”  It looked like it might have been dangerous to film, too.  The fight scene with the spears is different from what we would see in an American movie, with Mifune’s opponent not wanting to be spared and having to live with the shame.  The two peasants get to be a little too annoying at times.  How could the general tolerate such cowards for so long?  Some of the shots look clear and beautiful in their clarity in widescreen, like the princess asleep in the rain, followed by the fire festival.  Mifune is such a fierce fighter that he can defeat two men a heavy pack on his back.  He also picked up a woman with one arm while he was riding horseback, like he was in a Western.  The difference between this princess and Carrie Fisher’s princess is the seclusion inside the case for this young woman.  It was almost like she was Peter Sellers in “Being There.”  Mifune’s adversary had something of Darth Vader in him with his scar and his change of heart.  This was Kurosawa’s first widescreen film, and he made good use of that screen.  Some of the people who died on February 11 include Sergei Eisenstein (1948), Sylvia Plath (1963), Lee J. Cobb (1976), Eleanor Powell (1982), Takashi Shimura (1982), Henry Hathaway (1985), William Conrad (1994), Peter Benchley (2006), and Whitney Houston (2012).  Today is a birthday for Burt Reynolds (81) and Tina Louise (83).

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