Akira Kurosawa's Influence On Sergio Leone And George Lucas

1695 Words 7 Pages
Joe Muti
Professor Carmen
The Good, the Bad, and the Wookie Akira Kurosawa’s Influence on Sergio Leone and George Lucas
The post war renaissance in Japan had a great influence on contemporary American filmmaking. Viewing Akira Kurosawa’s films, one will see his influence on modern filmmakers such as Italy’s Sergio Leone and America’s George Lucas, through storytelling, cinematography and character development. Akira had a unique and genius style of creating new movies from classics, such as his Throne of Blood retells Macbeth; Hakuchi adapts Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Idiot.
Akira Kurosawa is a genius story teller who was born in Tokyo in 1910. At a young age, his father, a professor with a military background, wanted Akira to experience
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Rashomon won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and Seven Samurai was remade as the Western, The Magnificent Seven! During the 1950s, the American film industry decreased in Western movie productions for the big screen. Most Westerns were produced for television. However, there still was an increased demand for Westerns in foreign countries. An Italian filmmaker, Sergio Leone, saw the opportunity to take advantage of this demand of popularity with The Magnificent Seven. Sergio Leone revered Akira Kurosawa’s filmmaking. Credited with inventing the “Spaghetti Western,” Leone adopted a lot of his cinematography and storytelling from Akira. Leone’s film, A Fistful of Dollars, is an unauthorized remake of Akira’s film Yojimbo. The similarities are very apparent between both filmmakers. Both films are about a nameless hero (Toshiro Mifune in Yojimbo and Clint Eastwood in A Fistful of Dollars) who travel into a town caught in a conflict between to rival gangs. The main character takes advantage of this rivalry by secretly working for both gangs in exchange for money. The major conflict is when the hero discovers that a mother is held prisoner which compels the hero to save her and the town. Even the cinematography is similar! A Fistful of Dollars is Leone’s first film in which he debuted his unique style of visual direction. Leone was a key role in choosing the cast members, production design, and the creative aspects of filmmaking. He used Akira’s method of direction that was used in films such as Rashomon. Just like Akira did in Yojimbo, Leone used extreme close-ups on the faces of different characters to create an operatic tone to the film. It was so closely similar to Yojimbo that Akira actually sued Sergio Leone for copyright infringement. Akira eventually wrote to Leone saying, “it’s a fine movie, but it’s my movie.” Leone’s Dollars Trilogy and other Spaghetti Westerns became

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