Arts & Events

The Magnificent Seven One:

Mifune Memorialized Magnificently

Gar Smith
Thursday December 08, 2016 - 01:15:00 PM

At the Landmark Shattuck, December 9

It is fair to say that, without director Akira Kurasawa and actor Toshiro Mifune, there would have been no Magnificent Seven, No Clint "Fistful of Dollars" Eastwood, No Dirty Harry, and no Darth Vader.

George Lucas has admitted that Star Wars was inspired, in large measure, by Kurasawa's samurai epics. (Look no further than Darth Vader's Space Samurai costume.) Lucas even tried to get Mifune to play the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi in the first Star Wars film but, when the Japanese legend turned down the offer, the role went to Sir Alec Guiness. (Spielberg had better luck many years later when Mifune signed on for a role in the WWII comedy, 1941, where Mifune co-starred with the likes of John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd.)

There are two towering legends in Japanese cinema and Godzilla takes second place to Mifune. You wouldn't want to run afoul of either one of them. Toshio Mifune made 27 films in four years, a testament to the grueling task of a contract employee. Mifune and many of his colleagues routinely worked 350 days out of every year. -more-