Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. Macbeth -- Film and video adaptations

Throne of Blood

(The Castle of the Spider's Web)


Toshiro Mifune, Isuzu Yamada, Takashi Shimura, Minoru Chiaki,

In his audacious adaptation of Macbeth, Akira Kurosawa captures the power and emotional grandeur of the original without using a word of Shakespeare’s language, instead relying on the aesthetics of Noh theater and his own visual and cinematic invention to brilliantly evoke the Bard’s themes of destruction, guilt, and overwhelming greed. Lords, warriors, witches, wives, and the prophesies that bind and bloody them make up the narrative, but the film’s true force comes from its claustrophobic, paranoia-inducing milieu of darkened forests, low-ceilinged castles, and a drifting fog that chillingly haunts every frame lensed by Asaichi Nakai. Toshiro Mifune brings his Macbeth to life with a concentrated physicality, using every gesture and glance to become a man possessed, then destroyed, by a dream of power. His look of terror during the penultimate scene might be traced to more than acting: Kurosawa had an archery squad shoot real arrows at him from just offscreen, their only instructions to aim very, very close.

Jason Sanders
  • Akira Kurosawa
  • Shinobu Hashimoto
  • Ryuzo Kikushima
  • Hideo Oguni
Based On
  • Macbeth by William Shakespeare

  • Asaichi Nakai
  • Japanese
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 35mm
  • 107 mins
  • Janus Films

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Kurosawa & Mifune (program note), Film Forum (New York), 2002

Kurosawa and Mifune (program note), Cinematheque Ontario/a division of Toronto International Film Festival Group, James Quandt, 2002

Kumonosu-jo - La château de l'araignée - The castle of the spider (program note), Nantes Festival of Three Continents, 1998

Throne of blood (program note), San Francisco International Film Festival, 1997

Akira Kurosawa (article), American Film, Gerald Peary, 1989

The samurai films of Akira Kurosawa -- excerpt (book excerpt), UMI Research Press, David Desser, 1983

The throne of blood: first meeting with the spirit (study guide), Macmillan Films, Marilyn Fabe, 1975

The films of Akira Kurosawa (press release), Pacific Film Archive, 1974

Kurosawa (article), Faux Raccord, Anne Dorfman, 1970

Kurosawa (article), Faux Raccord, Anne Dorfman, 1970

Displaying 10 of 25 publicly available documents.

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