The Hidden Fortress (1958)
August 1, 2022 5:59 AM - Subscribe

Japanese peasants Matashichi (Kamatari Fujiwara) and Tahei (Minoru Chiaki) try and fail to make a profit from a tribal war. They find a man and woman whom they believe are simple tribe members hiding in a fortress. Although the peasants don't know that Rokurota (ToshirĂ´ Mifune) is a general and Yuki (Misa Uehara) is a princess, the peasants agree to accompany the pair to safety in return for gold. Along the way, the general must prove his expertise in battle while also hiding his identity.

Directed by Akira Kurosawa.

98% of reviewers rated this as fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. 2% of reviewers exposed themselves as pod people.

Currently streaming in the US on HBO Max and Criterion.
posted by DirtyOldTown (7 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

The first time I saw The Hidden Fortress, I found the princess to be pretty unpleasant, due to her angry way of speaking. Later, after studying the Japanese language, I watched it again and finally understood: the princess always uses the imperial speaking style (which sounds angry because it's full of imperatives). She has to disguise herself as a mute because she literally doesn't know how to talk like a peasant. (A kind of reverse My Fair Lady.) Now that I could understand her speech at the start of the film, she seems a much more sympathetic character than I originally believed.
posted by SPrintF at 8:55 AM on August 1, 2022 [10 favorites]

There is some context included for that speaking style in the movie, where the general admonishes her to not speak like royalty. I had the same reaction to her way of speaking, but based on that line figured that it was just a thing, even if the translation doesn't fully convey the tone of whatever verb tense choices she's using.
posted by LionIndex at 9:59 AM on August 1, 2022

I love this film, the contrasts of the bumbling greedy peasant thieves, the capability of the general, the bravery and determination of the princess exposed to the real world. The chant during the fire dance often sticks in my head for days.
posted by winesong at 3:29 PM on August 1, 2022 [1 favorite]

I love this movie more than I can say. It's a total romp, but has some serious & even poignant moments too. And Kurosawa made full use of the wide format when filming that spear duel, and other scenes. You really get a sense emotional and physical of space watching it.

Rokurota's use of reverse psychology is so much more sophisticated than the Jedi mind trick it inspired. Somehow a period piece samurai film is more advanced than the science fiction epic that followed.
posted by abraxasaxarba at 4:08 PM on August 1, 2022 [1 favorite]

It's such a great movie. Just a delight to watch. I loved Princess Yuki to contrast to the folks above I loved her bitchy vibe and her cool look (those high shorts!! those EYEBROWS!!) and the random riding crop she carried around everywhere. The interaction between her and Rokurota was great too. One of those movies I'm always happy to watch again.
posted by potrzebie at 5:01 PM on August 1, 2022 [3 favorites]

If you're in the San Francisco Bay Area, Hidden Fortress is playing on August 20th and 21st at the Stanford Theatre in Palo Alto. It's a double feature with Yojimbo.
posted by JDC8 at 10:27 AM on August 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

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