Kurosawa's influence on SW

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by Darth-Stryphe, Feb 3, 2003.

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  1. severian28 Force Ghost

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    Apr 1, 2004
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    Play Obi-wan? I doubt it. He doesn't speak English (or enough to play an English speaking character).


    No, its the truth - Toshiro Mifune was who George had in mind initially to play Kenobi. Maybe the language thing kept him from taking the role but George did keep the Japanese name in spite of casting a British actor.


  2. Darth-Stryphe Former Mod and City Rep

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    Apr 24, 2001
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    Just looked it up on imdb, it's called 'Soleil rouge' in 1971.

    Are you certain it wasn't dubbed?


    Toshiro Mifune was who George had in mind initially to play Kenobi. Maybe the language thing kept him from taking the role but George did keep the Japanese name in spite of casting a British actor.

    Not to pull the PPOR card, but do you have some proof of this you can link me to? I have never heard of this before.
  3. a. block Force Ghost

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    Oct 1, 1999
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    I have no idea if his dialouge was dubbed or not. It was year's ago and I saw on TV him with Bronson. And I just remember thinking 'hey that's Mifune speaking English!' imbd.com also showed he was in 'Shogun', but I don't remember anything about that. I too did hear a long time ago that Mifune was GL's first choice for Obi-Wan. But I can't remember where I first heard it. It's possible it was just some rumor. So, if anyone finds out the truth, I'd love to know.
  4. severian28 Force Ghost

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    Apr 1, 2004
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    To tell you the truth its something I heard along time ago and just always assumed was true because of the Japanese name of the character. However if you type up " Obi-Wan Kenobi " on Wikipedia it claims that Lucas did indeed consider Mifune for the role. It makes sense on top of everything, anyway. Kenobi is loosely inspired by Mifunes' character in " The Hidden Fortress " , the name as I already stated is Japanese, and Mifune was the perfect age to play the role in 1977. Im not sure if Wikipedia is any kind of reliable source of information but if there saying it, just as Ive heard it somewhere, then Im sure its stated somewhere else, also. By the way Im about the most cpu illiterate person as your likely to run into in this web site so if " PPOR " means physically providing a link, Im afraid it just wont be happening. Ill scan through all my " making off SW " and " art of SW " books when I get home and try to provide the proof in a more old fashioned way, like a publication title and page # where said proof will be. I could definetely be wrong but Im pretty sure Im right. On a side note I thought the casting of Guiness was perfect, anyways ( although Im sure Mifune as Kenobi wouldve been wonderful ).
  5. Obi-Ewan Force Ghost

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    Jan 24, 2000
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    Toshiro Mifune was who George had in mind initially to play Kenobi. Maybe the language thing kept him from taking the role but George did keep the Japanese name in spite of casting a British actor.

    Not to pull the PPOR card, but do you have some proof of this you can link me to? I have never heard of this before.


    Star Wars: Behind the Magic. It was also in an Insider issue from 1994.

    Yoda wasn't based on the character in Seven Samurai. Four films after his debut, Lucas had his animators add in the bald-head rubbing as a reference.

    Star Wars isn't so much based on Hidden Fortress as it is loosely inspired by it: R2-D2 and C-3PO came from two farmers. The first film starts by following the droids because Hidden Fortress was told from the farmers' POV. The droid-angle POV element has been dropped as the series went on. A shot of Makabe Rokurota meeting the farmers was copied in ANH when Obi-Wan meets Luke. Other than the droids, only Obi-Wan, Leia and Padme have any counterpart in Hidden Fortress--and both Padme and Leia come from the same character. She disguises herself as a peasant, much like Padme does. Passing through Tattooine and Coruscant to return to Naboo parallels the Princess's journey in HF. But the series as a whole is it's own entity, with a few elements lifted from HF.

    Obi-Wan cutting off arms in AOTC and ANH is taken from Yojimbo.

    The TPM shot of the Trade Federation tanks on the horizon (beginning of second trailer) is taken from a shot in Seven Samurai, when the bandits arrive for the climax of the film.

    Star Wars has been described as a "space western," and having Jedi involved, as well as Han Solo, can be traced back to the tradition of remaking Kurosawa films as American westerns.
  6. Darth-Stryphe Former Mod and City Rep

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    Apr 24, 2001
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    also showed he was in 'Shogun'

    Yeah, he did a good job, but spoke only Japenese.


    It was also in an Insider issue from 1994.

    Would you happen to know which one?
  7. Obi-Ewan Force Ghost

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    Jan 24, 2000
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    23, 24 or 29 I think. Can't seem to find my copy at the moment. But it mentions that he considers casting Mifune.
  8. zombie Force Ghost

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    Aug 4, 1999
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    Its also in one of the first issue of Bantha Track, issue one or two, where it also mentions that Lucas briefly considerd filming SW in japan. On the THX1138 dvd Lucas also states that he was going to film THX in japan with japanese actors but couldnt afford it.
  9. severian28 Force Ghost

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    Apr 1, 2004
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    The amazing point of this very good thread thats largely being missed is the historical conexion of contemporaries John Ford and Akira Kurasawa, how they influenced each other, how they both influenced Leone ( he used Kurasawas more pragmatic approach to making films, used Fords' visual stylings of the American West, but ultimately parodies Fords' films with his " spaghetti western " because of their Anglical bias ) and how Lucas basically infused the styles of all three directors, drew some serious plotting points in the case of Kurasawa and Leone, and set the story in a galaxy far, far away. Robert Rodriguez Mariachi trilogy is also an homage to the historical conexion of Ford, Kurasawa, and Leone, but not nearly as good as the SW Saga. For the record I believe that Leone is the most brilliant of all the filmmakers Ive mentioned and HIS influence on SW is at least as blatant as Kurasawas. Anakin on the swoop bike set against the setting Tatooine suns is 100% Leone inspired stuff and I think is one of the best shots in modern cinema.
  10. zombie Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 1999
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    I dunno, i find more of John Ford than Leone in SW, aside from perhaps the Cantina and Han's gunning down of Greedo of course and the occasionaly humour that is somewhat Leone-esque (like Han blasting the radio when he doesnt like the conversation). Visually Lucas draws from Kurosawa and Ford, which is interesting because, as you mentioned, Kurosawa was primarily influenced by Ford rather than anything distinctly eastern. I mean the whole Anakin's search for Shmi in AOTC is literally a transformation of The Searchers, right down to copying the exact same shots. Anything with a sunset in it seems very much in the Ford romanticism rather than the harshness of Leone's compositions, with their sun-bleached landscapes and sweaty, hairy human faces.

    I think Kurosawa was still the overriding primarily visual influence on Lucas, you can see him copying the exact same set ups as Kurosawa. For instance the way the first scene with Luke, the sandcrawlers and the droids when they first meet looks like it is straight out of Seven Samurai or something.
  11. severian28 Force Ghost

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    Truly its hard to pin down because of how similar all three of those directors are to each other. I mean the only thing that seperates Leone from Ford when it comes to westerns is that Leone doesnt paint it as the pretty picture that Ford does. In alot of ways, thematically, Leone is the anti-Ford, even though he is obviously inspired by his filmmaking.
  12. Darth-Stryphe Former Mod and City Rep

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    Visually Lucas draws from Kurosawa and Ford, which is interesting because, as you mentioned, Kurosawa was primarily influenced by Ford rather than anything distinctly eastern.

    True. Kurosawa was actually considered very western by Japanese standards, and as such, was received internationally better than he was nationally.
  13. gezvader28 Force Ghost

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    Mar 22, 2003
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    about Mifube playing Kenobi:
    it's mentioned on page 189 of the john baxter biography of Lucas, but I know it was said in other places too cos I knew it long time ago .

    when the part had more action and less rhetoric he considered Mifune.


  14. Darth-Stryphe Former Mod and City Rep

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    That would have been awesome. Although Guinness is a fantastic actor, so in the end it worked out good.
  15. darth_frared Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 24, 2005
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    it would have been absolutely fabulous to have mifune in the saga!

    not only the kurosawa nod, also it would have given the sage more racial depth IMO.
  16. Obi-Ewan Force Ghost

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    Jan 24, 2000
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    Obi-Wan is my favorite character, and I still look at the character as a nod to Toshiro Mifune. That being said, I can't think of a better match-up than Alec Guinness and Ewan McGregor. Replacing Alec Guinness was hard enough. Finding an actor today who could master Mifune's performance is almost unthinkable.

    P.S. Just remembered. The Star Wars Trivial Pursuit game (Original trilogy, not saga edition) also confirms that Mifune was considered for the role.
  17. Darth-Stryphe Former Mod and City Rep

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    Ah, I didn't know that, either. I stand corrected.
  18. Fettist Jedi Knight

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    Jan 27, 2006
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    GL has a great ego not to admit the link...
  19. zombie Force Ghost

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    Aug 4, 1999
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    he is on the Hidden Fortress dvd talking about how much Kurosawa influenced him. One of the very first issues of Bantha Tracks had a large article on the japanese influence. Its no secret. Havent you been reading these posts?
  20. Darth-Stryphe Former Mod and City Rep

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    I didn't realize this thread had been locked. I'm unlocking and upping it at user request.
  21. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    Also, having Motti about to say "hidden fortress" in ANH right as he's choked by Vader sort of comes across as an admission...:p
  22. the_immolated_one Jedi Knight

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    Sep 24, 2006
    star 3
    That was me.

    I never watched "Hidden Fortress" until the other day so I never could reply. I dug "Hidden Fortress" and it had a good message but it wasn't anything like "Star Wars". Other than comparing R2 and 3PO being caught up in an epic struggle to the 2 peasants being caught up in an epic struggle, I really don't see much similarity. I probably wouldn't have even made that connection without Lucas saying it here and there because R2 wants to do his duty or is programmed to do his duty or whatever, but the 2 peasants are just in it for selfish reasons and it isn't until the end of the movie that the peasants learn what is most important in life.

    However, it's a good movie. I loved the shots of Toshirô Mifune riding atop a horse with his sword drawn.

    But "Hidden Fortress" is just a good Kurosawa movie and "Yojimbo" and "Seven Samurai" are great Kurosawa movies.
  23. Pizza-the-Hutt Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
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    I was reading Zombie's Secret History of Star Wars last night and there's a quote in there from Lucas where he says that if Mifube had been cast, Han Solo would most likely have been black.
  24. Pizza-the-Hutt Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 4
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--BVUTOrYP8

    Has some comparison clips of Star Wars and other films including The Hidden Fortress, Flash Gordon, and The Searchers. It's only short but is interesting for those of us who haven't actually seen some of the films that have been discussed in the thread.
  25. Darth-Stryphe Former Mod and City Rep

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    I never watched "Hidden Fortress" until the other day so I never could reply. I dug "Hidden Fortress" and it had a good message but it wasn't anything like "Star Wars".

    They are very different kind of movies, but there are a lot of scenes and elements from HF that served to inspire scenes and elements in SW. For example, the two peasants wander through the wilderness, get mad at each other, part ways only to get captured and end up together again. Likewise the droids through the wilderness, get mad at each other, part ways only to get captured and end up together again. And there is the princess pretending to be the commoner as she is smuggled through enemy lands, much like Padme pretends to be the hand maiden as she is smuggled through dangerous lands. So forth. There are many other influences from which SW pulled, but this is undeniable one of them.
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