Starred in most of Kurosawa's films, notably Yojimbo, The Seven Samurai, and The Hidden Fortress (a main inspiriation for Star Wars. Plot summary : a general Toshiro Mifune helps rescue a princess with the help of two buffoonish knaves.)

Did not combine the best parts of Clint Eastwood and Sir Alec Guinness. Actually, Eastwood studied Mifune!.

Akira Kurosawa later wrote of Toshiro (1920 - 1997) in his autobiography:

"Mifune had a kind of talent I had never encountered before in the Japanese film world. It was, above all, the speed with which he expressed himself that was astounding. The ordinary Japanese actor might need ten feet of film to get across an impression; Mifune needed only three. The speed of his movements was such that he said in a single action what took ordinary actors three separate movements to express. He put forth everything directly and boldly, and his sense of timing was the keenest I had ever seen in a Japanese actor. And yet with all his quickness, he also had surprisingly fine sensibilities."

Between 1948 and 1965, Kurosawa cast Toshiro Mifune in leading roles in all but one of the seventeen films he made in that period. Beginning with Drunken Angel (Yoidore tenshi) in 1948, and continuing through such masterpieces as Rashomon (1950), Seven Samurai (Shichinin no samurai, 1954), I Live in Fear (Ikimono no kiroku, 1955), Throne of Blood (Kumonosu-jo, 1957), The Bad Sleep Well (Warui yatsu hodo yoku nemuru, 1960), Yojimbo (1961), High and Low (Tengoku to jigoku, 1963), and Red Beard (Akahige, 1964), Kurosawa tailored one role after another to the special strengths of this extraordinary actor.

In 1963, Mifune formed his own production company. In 1968 he appeared in Grand Prix, made for John Frankenheimer. After this he appeared primarily in American films, in tedious, unconvincing roles. Very sad.

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