Toshiro Mifune Was Almost Cast As Darth Vader

Posted by Bob Muir on Jan 15, 2013 in Cinema, Star Wars

Toshiro Mifune & Darth Vader

With Star Wars becoming such a phenomenon over the years and possessing such a rabid fanbase, it’s really fun to see how things might have turned out if, say, the casting had gone differently. At one point, Lucas had offered the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi to Toshiro Mifune, well-known for his roles in Akira Kurosawa’s films like Seven Samurai and Yojimbo. Star Wars itself was heavily influenced by Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress (among other films), so it’s not surprising. But apparently, Lucas may have offered Mifune an additional role: Darth Vader. Read more…

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High and Low: The Kurosawa Kidnapping Classic is Now Playing

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jun 17, 2011 in Cinema

Kurosawa's High and Low poster

If you love Japanese cinema and happen to live in NYC, DC or Tulsa the Akira Kurosawa film High and Low (天国と地獄) will be playing over the next few days. In this 1963 classic Kurosawa teams up with actor Toshirō Mifune for a nice tense kidnapping drama: Read more…

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Happy 99th to Akira Kurosawa

Posted by Michael Pinto on Mar 23, 2009 in Cinema

Poster for Yojimbo

Akira Kurosawa was born on this day in March 23rd, 1910: I think my favorite film of his is Yojimbo the samurai classic that he directed in 1961. Half of what I love about the film is the performance of Toshirō Mifune, but framing that performance is an amazing story which was deftly portrayed by Kurosawa on so many levels from the cinematography to musical score (which almost becomes its own character in the film). In a sense Yojimbo is a western film, but what makes it amazing is that it about an old world giving way to a new world where chivalry is dead. Watching that film you could taste the dust in your mouth:

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