Friday, November 30, 2007

Toshiro Mifune's late-in-life indie flick

Here's a cool factoid about Japanese movie great Toshiro Mifune: In 1994, when he was 74 years old, Toshiro appeared in a small independent American film.


The film, Picture Bride, is about a young Japanese woman who in 1918 is sent to Hawaii to marry a man she's never met. This compelling, well-made film began life as a short-film project while the writer-director, the late Kayo Hatta, was still in film school but expanded into a full-length feature when Ms Hatta realized the story was too important for a short.


Here's where Toshiro Mifune comes in.


Before filming of Picture Bride began, Kayo Hatta wrote to Mifune asking if he would appear in the role of the benshi, a professional narrator of silent films. She knew the letter was a "Hail Mary" pass and later said she never expected Mifune to say yes. But that's exactly what he did.


The rest, as they say, is history.


You can read about the filming of Picture Bride here.



Mifune in 1962's Sanjuro, sequel to Yojimbo.



A real-life picture bride.



—Mellow Monk


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