Akira Kurosawa Samurai Collection (blu ray box set)

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Akira Kurosawa, one of the greatest directors of all time, and five of his greatest films, Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood, The Hidden Fortress, Yojimbo, and Sanjuro presented in high-definition and in one blu ray boxset from the BFI.

Featuring extra features that include interviews with directors George Lucas and Alex Cox, feature-length audio commentaries and original theatrical trailers.

 

Seven Samurai

When the residents of a small Japanese village seek protection they hire seven unemployed ‘ronin’ (masterless samurai).

Paid only in handfuls of rice, the samurai remain distant from the villagers, knowing that their assignment may prove fatal. Unanimously hailed as one of cinema’s greatest masterpieces, Seven Samurai has inspired countless films, including The Magnificent Seven.

Japan | 1954 | 207 minutes | Japanese language, with optional English subtitles | Original aspect ratio 1.33:1


Throne of Blood

In this brilliant re-imagining of Shakespeare’s Macbeth Toshirô Mifune plays a samurai fated to betray his friend and master in exchange for the prestige of nobility.

Kurosawa’s bloody tale is a triumph of economic style, and the climactic battle scene is full of remarkable, and brutal, imagery.

Japan | 1957 | 108 minutes | Japanese language with optional English subtitles | Original aspect ratio 1.33:1

The Hidden Fortress

Acknowledged by George Lucas as the inspiration for Star Wars, The Hidden Fortress combines an epic tale of struggle and honour with modern comic sensibilities to masterful effect. 

In this classic collaboration between Kurosawa and star Mifune, a warrior and a princess try against all odds to return to their homeland with their fortune.

Japan | 1958 | 144 minutes | Japanese language, with optional English subtitles | Original aspect ratio 2.35:1

Yojimbo

Inspiring A Fistful of Dollars, a drifting samurai for hire plays both ends against the middle with two warring factions, surviving on his wits and his ability to outrun his own bad luck. Eventually the samurai seeks to eliminate both sides for his own gain and to define his own sense of honour.

Japan | 1961 | 110 minutes | Japanese language, with optional English subtitles | Original aspect ratio 2.35:1

Sanjuro

After the success of Yojimbo , Kurosawa teamed up once again with Mifune one year later to make this comedy of manners.

The film, which follows a man fighting corruption in local government, offers a twist on the classic Samurai tale by gently, but perfectly parodying the conventions of the Japanese period action movie tradition.

Japan | 1962 | 99 minutes | Japanese language, with optional English subtitles | 2.35:1

Special Features:

  • All films presented in High Definition
  • Original theatrical trailers
  • The Art of Akira Kurosawa (2013, 49 mins): Asian-cinema expert Tony Rayns discusses Kurosawa’s career and influence
  • Interview with filmmaker George Lucas (2001, 8 mins)
  • Interview with filmmaker Alex Cox (2003, 9 mins)
  • Introduction to Sanjuro by Alex Cox (2003, 5 mins)
  • Full-length audio commentary on Throne of Blood by Japanese expert Michael Jeck
  • Full-length audio commentary on Yojimbo by film critic Philip Kemp
  • Fully illustrated booklet with contributions from Philip Kemp and Nigel Andrews, and full film credits