Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
Original title: Tora No O Wo Fumu Otokotachi
Alternate title: They Who Tread On The Tiger’s Tail
Japan, 1945. Toho Company. Screenplay by Akira Kurosawa, based on the plays Kanjincho by Anonymous, Gohei Namiki, and Ataka by Anonymous. Cinematography by Takeo Ito. Produced by Motohiko Ito. Music by Tadashi Hattori. Production Design by Kazuo Kubo. Film Editing by Toshio Goto.
A group of monks trekking through the forest are told by their servant that there is a rumour that a feudal lord is on the run with his bodyguards in an attempt to travel to safety. Imagine the peon’s surprise when he realizes that he is with the very men he has been talking about and, in recognizing them, has put his own life in danger. This short early work by Akira Kurosawa then has the protagonists face off with border guards in a dangerous match of survival. It’s nothing compared to his later masterpieces (The Hidden Fortress immediately comes to mind), but Kurosawa’s rich visual style and sharp editing is something he obviously had going on for him from his earliest beginnings. Like all his most popular samurai films, this one is never satisfied with just being an action film and, even in 60 short minutes, manages to have a soul.