thirty movies hath november – Kumonosu-Jou (1957)

English title:  Throne of Blood

I'm not a Shakespeare scholar, but I know what I likes, and of his plays, I like MacBeth best. and of the film versions of MacBeth, I like Kumonosu-Jou best.  it is a fantastic movie that rates among Kurosawa's best

set in medieval Japan, filmed in b&w, and with fog everywhere, Kumonosu-Jou begins as two feudal lords, Taketori Washizu (Toshirô Mifune) and Yoshiaki Miki (Minoru Chiaki) encounter a ghostly witch in the foggy forest. she makes future predictions for both.  upon arriving at Spider Castle, Washizu tells his wife, the Lady Asaji Washizu
(Isuzu Yamada), of what the witch predicted, and she encourages him to make it happen.

the best of the movie is the Lady Washizu.  it takes a lot to outact Toshirô Mifune, but Yamada does it. and how.
her figure is overwhelming and her presence is everywhere. she drives the action in a way that Shakespeare's Lady MacBeth could only hint at.

from serene, calculating, planning

                                  to a desperate wreck

his fate is not any better


original trailer:

short trailer with voiceover:

the entire movie is available at  no subtitles. 

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13 thoughts on “thirty movies hath november – Kumonosu-Jou (1957)

  1. You know about the most interesting films that I've never heard of! And here I was going to do a write-up for Mannequin. You put me to shame madam.

  2. Kurosawa is sublime. I've seen many of his films, but not in many many years.Throne of Blood actually came over the circ counter this week. I looked at it, curious. Now I must see it.

  3. <blushes> main reason for this here blog. to spout about things noone cares about. but no shame, no shame. we all learn from each other. look forward to your write-up on Mannequin.jaypo has the right word: sublime.

  4. hey, if I can get one more person to join the cult of Kurosawa, I'm happy.[thoughtful mode] if anything, this little exercise in movies has been interesting. I didn't make a list beforehand, I just let different movies come to mind. lo' knows I've consumed enough arty-farty films that I could have done the entire month on just Kurosawa, or Bergman (yawn), or post-war Italian… but I have enjoyed the way is working out so far.[/thoughtful mode]

  5. My ignorance of foreign films is pitiful. When I was in high school we had Bravo which introduced me to popular European films, which I loved, but have really fallen out of touch with that sort of thing in the last ten years. I've never even seen a Japanese film, it's terrible!Kurosawa's Wiki page is interesting, he sounds like quite the perfectionist. It indicates that he edits his own films as well. As far as I'm concerned, that is an excellent sign. The editing of a film can be just as important as the direction.

  6. When I first saw Ran, the character of Lady Kaede, who betrays both her husband and her brother-in-law/lover, instantly reminded me of Lady Washizu from Throne of Blood. Kurosawa was one of those directors who could get incredible performances out of his actresses; he made them break out of the traditional Japanese femme roles and turned them into tigers.

  7. I could have done the entire month on just Kurosawa, or Bergman I've also seen lots of Bergamot and went to a double feature once–Virgin Spring and Seventh Seal–and it took me the next three days to un-depress myself.

  8. I don't think I've seen a Kurosawa film yet…but he does indeed sound brilliant. I don't think this is one I've heard of. I think I have at least one of his on my Netflix list? well, I will…soon. (I have Touch Of Evil in my DVR right now, thanks to TMHN)

  9. I did have Hidden Fortress in my queue (because I'd missed it when they showed it at the local theater) and it said it was recommended to me due to my interest in The Office series and Citizen Kane. WTF! haha

  10. I would be happy (duh) in many senses of the word never to see another Bergman flick. So depressing, I can't enjoy the artistry.Kurosawa is great, though — I've actually seen Seven Samurai and Hidden Fortress in a theater.

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