Akira Kurosawa's Centennial last spring is still causing ripples. Splendent Media extends the celebration in a potentially controversial way. They have the rights to an enormous part of the Kurosawa catalogue should anyone want to purchase them for a remake. Kneejerk reaction is NOOOOooooooooo. But then you realize that Rashomon, The Hidden Fortress, and The Seven Samurai (and to a lesser extent many of his other films) have already been ripped off hundreds of times for movies and television. Hell, I've even seen an Off Broadway musical based on Rashomon!
So why would a straight up remake be any different?
Here are the 26 Kurosawa directed pics (of the 32 he made) that they're offering rights to:
Sanshiro Sugata (1943)
The Most Beautiful (1944)
Sanshiro Sugata Part2 (1945)
The Men who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail (1945)
No Regrets For Our Youth (1946)
One Wonderful Sunday (1947)
The Quiet Duel (1949)
Stray Dog (1949)
Record of a Living Being (1955)
Throne of Blood (1957)
The Lower Depths (1957)
The Hidden Fortress (1958)
The Bad Sleep Well (1960)
Red Beard (1965)
Dodes’Ka- Den (1970) -- Best Foreign Language Film Oscar Nominee
Dersu Uzala (1975) -- Oscar Winner, Foreign Film
Kagemusha (1980) -- Best Foreign Language Film Oscar Nominee
Ran (1985) -- Best Director Oscar Nomination
Rhapsody in August (1991)
QUESTION: Wouldn't it be strange to buy the rights to remake Ran or Throne of Blood when you can get their source material (King Lear and Macbeth) for free?
What's your favorite Kurosawa? Sometimes I wish I'd seen them all -- since I've yet to be disappointed -- but it's so daunting given how prolific he was.