Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune, a Japanese director and artist, collaborated on 16 films over the course of 18 years, during the height of Japanese cinema.
Clint Eastwood, the cowboy, picked up his Man With No Name archetype from Toshiro Mifune, the oft bandit and roving warrior, with a gruff, emotive, presence. His versatile skills are seen while spitting and snarling during Rashomon, sweating in a terrified rage in Stray Dogs, or compassionately taking care of the sick and poor in their last film together, Red Beard.
Akira Kurosawa impacted New Hollywood’s Golden Age of directors like George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola. His films are carefully thought out; the mise-en-scène is carefully constructed. His nihilistic nature explores morality, set with a keen stylistic edge. Did I mention he wrote the majority of his scripts?–multi-layers plots, complex characters and fantastic dialogue (I need to learn Japanese). Kurosawa is a master of cinema.
Kurosawa and Mifune bequeathed a vast and varied critically-acclaimed work of art; of their sixteen films, fifteen are part of the Criterion Collection. Some may not like subtitles but the visual beauty and superb acting transcends words. The sets are minimal because of both Japan’s culture and Kurosawa’s set direction, and allow Mifune much freedom of expression.
I am proud of nothing I have done other than with him.
-Mifune on Kurosawa
I am a person rarely impressed by actors, but in the case of Mifune I was completely overwhelmed.
HuluPlus has a special section for the Criterion Collection as well as North American Video in Cameron Village, for my fellow Acorns.
The Kurosawa–Mifune Collection – via Listal
Drunken Angel (1948)
The Quiet Duel (1949)
Stray Dog, (1949)
The Idiot (1951)
Seven Samurai (1954)
I Live Fear (1955)
Throne of Blood (1957)
The Lower Depths (1957)
The Hidden Fortress (1958)
The Bad Sleep Well (1960)
High and Low (1965)
Red Beard (1965)
Sources: Moseisly Cinema, Kurosawa School of Film, ToshiroMifune.org, The Criterion Collection