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The Hidden Fortress
Film 隠し砦の三悪人 (The Hidden Fortress)
Country Japan
Director Akira Kurosawa
Year 1958
Cast Toshiro Mifune, Misa Uehara
Details B&W 138 minutes
Plot: in feudal Japan a loyal general tries to see a princess and a gold treasure to safety, after a rival state invades. Two squabbling greedy peasants find themselves caught up in the hazardous escape.

On one level a very conventional film about princesses and heroic generals and villainous invaders. But "Hidden Fortress" transcends the genre as characters in the film transcend the ordinary. There is real depth here, and the ending soars. Kurosawa inverts the film to tell the story from the point of view of 'minor' characters (a pair of peasants) rather than the 'major' ones. Ironically George Lucas when he remade "Hidden Fortress" as the first Star Wars film uninverted the film with R2D2 and C3PO (the peasants) as minor comic characters.