Shooting the Arrows in Throne of Blood

Inside Criterion / Sneak Peeks — Jan 10, 2014

It’s impossible to watch the unforgettable climax of Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood and not wonder, How’d they do that? Spoilers ahead: In the scene, Toshiro Mifune’s ruthless warrior, modeled on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, finally gets his comeuppance in the form of a shower of arrows. Some narrowly miss him, others, well, do not. To get some insight into how Kurosawa, his crew, and, of course, Mifune, accomplished this, check out this short clip from a supplement on our new edition of the film, taken from the Toho Masterworks series Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create. In it, the film’s set decorator and prop master Koichi Hamamura fills us in some of the tricks of the trade (yes, those were real arrows), as well as the suitably terrified star’s response to having acted out this ambitious, violent denouement.