The Hidden Fortress

The Hidden Fortress ★★★★½

Filmmakers don't have to make chamber dramas about death to be great. John Ford made westerns, Alfred Hitchcock made thrillers and Akira Kurosawa made samurai films. There's something to be said about a director working in the popular vernacular. You are provided with a huge canvas, and if done right, you can reach untold millions. Who would ever have thought that a Japanese film from the 50's (that was itself inspired by the westerns of John Ford) would wind up inspiring generations of kids to take up filmmaking? But it did! After seeing this movie in film school, George Lucas was inspired to tell his own epic adventure from the perspective of two lowly characters. While this film might not be a one-to-one analogue for Star Wars, you can see what drew Lucas to this film: the adventure, the action, the characters, the scale, even the use of wipes to signify the passing of time. And that right there is the power of influence. John Ford inspires Akira Kurosawa who inspires George Lucas who inspires THE WHOLE WORLD!

Craig liked these reviews