May 25th, 2012: The Hidden Fortress (1958)

Cast and Crew:  Takashi Shimura

What It’s About:  Two peasants (Minoru Chiaki and Kamatari Fujiwara) stumble upon a hidden fortress on a battlefield and agree to help a princess (Misa Uehara) and her general (Toshiro Mifune) smuggle their clan’s gold out of the area for a share of the gold.

Why Watch it Today?: Star Wars was released 35 years ago today in 1977.  The Hidden Fortress is an acknowledged inspiration for the classic blockbuster, giving us great events (and a princess in distress) through the eyes of two bickering servants who get caught up in the affair by accident.  It is also an entertaining film in its own right from director/writer/producer Akira Kurosowa.

Where to Get It: Hulu Plus; Netflix (Rental)

Other Choices:  Flash Gordon (1980) pulls the trick of both being an influence on Star Wars (or at least its source material was) and existing purely because of the success of Star Wars.  Or you could watch one of the sequels.

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