Movie Review: Mifune: The Last Samurai

  • M.

    In Okazaki’s own words

    Given that you had initially wanted to make a film about
    samurai films, was it always the idea to focus on just Mifune’s samurai roles?

    Well, he made nearly 170 movies, and throughout the production we
    didn’t just get free use of the clips from the films. We had to license them,
    and there were a lot of restrictions on how much we could use because of cost
    and just on the use of the footage and how it was used. It became clear that we
    had to limit the number of films we drew from. So that, by default, and because
    everyone thinks of Mifune in terms of the samurai films, we just went with all

    They’re not strictly samurai films, but they’re period films of
    the samurai era. It was something I could work with, as well. Opening it up to
    his other films, it would be great to use one of the detective films or
    thriller films that Kurosawa and Mifune did together. That would have shown a
    different side to him, and some depth. But we actually couldn’t do that, so we
    stuck with samurai.

    • Nathanael Hood

      That’s actually really interesting. But I still think that focusing only on his samurai films does a disservice to the man’s talents and legacy.

      • M.

        Perhaps. It’s still the only documentary about him out there, so far. Anyone who can overcome the cost limitation and the restrictions imposed by the owners of the footage, is free to make another documentary, more complex and with more depth.

        • Nathanael Hood

          That’s fair. I’ll agree to that.

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