Great news for fans of classic Japanese cinema, the fine folks over at Criterion have announced a Blu-ray release of the seminal Akira Kurosawa epic, The Hidden Fortress. Most people know about this film by now so I’ll let their press release do the logistics. Source
Synopsis: A grand-scale adventure as only Akira Kurosawa could make one, The Hidden Fortress stars the inimitable Toshiro Mifune as a general charged with guarding his defeated clan’s princess (a fierce Misa Uehara) as the two smuggle royal treasure across hostile territory. Accompanying them are a pair of bumbling, conniving peasants who may or may not be their friends. This rip-roaring ride is among the director’s most beloved films and was a primary influence on George Lucas’s Star Wars. The Hidden Fortress delivers Kurosawa’s trademark deft blend of wry humor, breathtaking action, and compassionate humanity.
Special Features: New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray; Alternate 5.1 surround soundtrack preserving the original Perspecta simulated stereo effects, presented in DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray; New audio commentary by film historian Stephen Prince, author of The Warrior’s Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa; Documentary from 2003 on the making of the film, created as part of the Toho Masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create; Interview from 2001 with filmmaker George Lucas about Kurosawa; Trailer; New English subtitle translation; One Blu-ray and one DVD, with all content available in both formats; and PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Catherine Russell.
An immensely entertaining film, The Hidden Fortress is one of those films that truly cemented my love for Japanese cinema, particularly the fantastic period films. Not much else to say except that this is one you need to have in your collection. The Hidden Fortress lands on Blu-ray March 18, 2014!