Posted at 4:23 PM on March 27, 2006
by Euan Kerr
One of the few New Year's resolutions I have managed to keep is to try to watch those classic movies which people talk about which I have managed to miss. This weekend I had "On the Waterfront," the Marlon Brando film on union corruption directed by Elia Kazan, and "Throne of Blood," Akira Kurosawa's adaptation of "Macbeth."
I'll be honest, I was slightly regretting my decision as the prospect of watching three and a half hours of black and white film from the 50's loomed.
Yet as soon as the Kurosawa got rolling that all melted away. Toshiro Mifune stomps his way through playing Taketori Washizu, the Macbeth character. Transferring the story to the slopes of Mount Fuji, Kurosawa combines Shakespeare with Noh Theater in an elegant exploration of the lust for power. Once Washizu hears the prophecy that he will become "the Great Lord" the inevitability of betrayal and tragedy is marked on Mifune's face. It's riveting.
As is Brando in "Waterfront." The whole "I could have been a contender" scene is quoted so much it has become little more than a punchline in a lot of bad jokes. But there in context as part of the larger story, it just rips your hear out.
Next on the list? More Kurosawa with "The Hidden Fortress," and then some Hitchcock with "Rear Window."
Anyone else seen anything classic recently which touched or moved them?
Where can I go to rent Kurosawa?
Right after September 11, 2001, I rented "The House on 92nd Street". The scene where the FBI checks thousands of fingerprint cards in a warehouse-sized room reassured me vicariously.
Now, I wouldn't feel comforted by "The House on 92nd Street" if I saw it again.
In St Paul I have found some at Home Video on Snelling. Anyone else have good tips?