Day 195: The Hidden Fortress 1958

The Hidden Fortress 1958

Despite Rashomon and Yojimbo being brilliant films, I’d add this as another. It’s not only compelling – it’s bloody brilliant

How different are Mizoguchi, Ozu and Kurosawa, all making films around the same time? It’s extraordinary that they had some of their best decades of filmmaking, in common.

I’m not a big fan of adventure films, like Robin Hood or The Sea Hawk, The Black Swan or King Solomon’s Mines. Nor The Last of the Mohicans, Rob Roy or Don Quixote. It’s a curious thing, for which I have no explanation. And yet there are exceptions like Spartacus, which I think is excellent, although I didn’t enjoy Gladiator. Braveheart, however, I thought was good.

The Hidden Fortress is an adventure film through and through; and I loved it. It’s a mixture of adventure, comedy and drama, with a disguised princess protected by a faithful General (a samurai of sorts) and some characters right out of John Huston’s The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, which was less of an adventure film, in my mind, than a brilliant psychological study of how, little by little, the growing desire for great wealth leads to an overwhelming greed, which colours all facets of a person’s personality in the way that it affects one’s ability to have stable or coherent thoughts.

I’m now in Canberra, at the hotel, writing everything down about the themes and characteristics of these six Kurosawa films and their main characters. The information – my response – is just pouring out of me.

But I have to get to bed by about 3am because I’m going Go-Kart racing at 10 or 11am with my wife’s stepfather’s daughter’s husband, Anthony.