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Throne of Blood's Best Shots - A Visual Index

After realizing that we'd never featured an Akira Kurosawa on Hit Me With Your Best Shot, we obviously had to. Ran (1985) was tempting but it gets a lot of attention already. So we opted to watch his other Shakespeare inspired masterpiece, Throne of Blood (1957) which is still the best Macbeth movie even if its more Macbeth-inspired than traditionally adapted.

If you've never seen it, give it a shot. It's gorgeous and haunting and unlike most Shakespeare films grippingly compact at only 110 minutes.

Hit Me With Your Best Shot(s)
Throne of Blood (1957)

Director: Akira Kurosawa; Cinematographer: Asakazu Nakai 
Click on any of the 11 images to be taken to its accompanying article

Throne of Blood teaches us how to watch it. 
-Antagony & Ecstasy

The minute we see Isuzu Yamada as Lady Asaji in this cold spare room, we know exactly where things will go...
-Scopophiliac at the Cinema 

One of my favorite ideas in these Japanese stories is that the living and dead (or the supernatural) could live together, without a hereafter.
-Cal Roth

What Shakespeare does with language, Kurosawa and Noh do with movement.
-Dancin Dan on Film 

Kurosawa injects into the tragedy of Macbeth an incredible sensorial expressiveness of poetic dimensions by placing it in mystic version of feudal japan.
-Magnificent Obsession 

Fujimaki's own splatter-painting.
-The Film Experience

The staging of the two actors is just brilliant...
-Zev Burrows 

The camera becomes like a piece of stagecraft
-Film Mix Tape

the vast space and the wealth that implies, as well as the ample room for Washizu and his wife to contemplate their guilt
-Film Actually

The movie builds with precision, early shots foreshadowing what is to come

My favorite scene in Macbeth and they do it very well here
-Rachel Wagner


The End.

NEXT TUESDAY NIGHT WARNING: "NOW a warning?" It's Death Becomes Her (1992), rereleased in a collectors edition. Please join us for what will surely be a fun group of screengrabs

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Reader Comments (14)

OT: Has The Founder's trailer impacted your lens on the Oscar race?

April 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Probably my favorite Kurosawa, and one of the most visually haunting films ever. Nice shot choices, although you could honestly pick almost any frame of the movie and find something fascinating about it. Just seeing stills of the witch gives me the shivers!

April 26, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterlylee

Cal Roth, what you wrote is PERFECTION and I love it.

My entry is here: I had a really tough time writing this one because I had so much to say that I found myself almost unable to say it.

April 26, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

This movie is legitimately on my list of contenders for the best-composed film I've ever seen.

Anyway, another late entry: It would have been ready, like, two hours ahead of time, but I forgot that working with video is the worst and nobody sane should ever do it.

April 26, 2016 | Registered CommenterTim Brayton

denny -- i had the same problem. I had about 5 different essays in mind so i ended up with half of one idea and half of another but this is one of my favorite episodes because whenever i feel like i'm learning new things about art by watching a film and reading everyone's takes i'm in heaven.

April 27, 2016 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I am very surprised that the final arrow barrage did not make anyone's best shot. It was Nathaniel's silver, it was my runner up. I'll just have to click on the links to see if everyone put it in honorable mention.

April 27, 2016 | Unregistered Commenteri/fwp

lylee -- agree that any frame would do... which is why i always hope for more participation. it'd be fun to see what another 10 people would choose. :)

April 27, 2016 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Would be a very nice art book. The Streep biographer is perfect for you to interview. He sounds smart, and her 30's will be equality as dramatic, what with all those handsome co-stars

April 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterHelen Lawson

I'm so surprised nobody picked the arrows scene! So funny how that works. I just was so transfixed by Lady Macbeth! (As is usually the case with this story).

April 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRachel Wagner

This movie is one of the reasons why I've been suggesting Asian movies for this series.

This and Raise the Red Lantern are my favorite episodes of Hit me with your best shot.

They really work very hard to make their movies visually compelling, and Kurosawa is the God of them all.

(A lot of people mentioned the Noh and kabuki. I am really into Japanese movies, but I wish I knew about better about their theatrical forms)

(thanks, denny)

April 27, 2016 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

cal - raise the red lantern is definitely in my top 3 episodes of the series. It was so astonishing and i learned so much i think writing and reading and watching it.

April 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

This is exactly why you can't totally end the series. So interesting to see all the selections. Maybe just a shorter season? But keep it alive in some way!

April 27, 2016 | Unregistered Commentershawshank

shawshank -- i shall consider but it feels like its dwindling. trying to figure out how to get more people to participate.

April 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Obviously late so no need to put me in the Visual Index, but I still wanted to watch the film and write about it:

Thanks again for picking this! It was only my second Kurosawa film and very easily now my favorite Macbeth adaptation!

April 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

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