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Kurosawa's film Throne of Blood

Akira Kurosawa's film Throne of Blood (1957) is a free "adaptation" of William Shakespeare's Macbeth. The film has been much honored and highly regarded, but at the same time the critical reception accorded the film has raised certain questions about the meaning of adaptation, about the degree to which this film can be called an adaptation, about how successful it can be deemed as an adaptation, and about the degree to which one should be expected in making an adaptation to adhere to the text. There are clear differences between a stage play and a film, and the techniques of the playwright and the techniques of the filmmaker are quite different even when they intend to convey the same plot, the same themes, and even the same general atmosphere and tone. Even some of those critics who have praised the film for its power have also questioned whether it can be called an adaptation of Macbeth and have referred to the film as a "transmutation, a "distillation," a "transportation," "not an adaptation," and "an illusion" of Macbeth. How much of this is in reference to some real difference between whatever Kurosawa has done in transferring the story of Macbeth to Throne of Blood. Clearly, these critics have some conception of what an adaptation should be, though they do not define it, and they see Throne of Blood as falling short in some element that would make it fit their definition of adaptation. An examination of the source material--Macbeth--the film Throne of Blood, and various critical responses may help clarify what these critics mean by "adaptation," whether their definition has validity, and whether the Kurosawa film should be regarded as a good adaptation as well as a good film.

The method to be followed is to examine the play Macbeth for its plot, themes, characters, and events, then to do the same with the film Throne of Blood. The comparison to be made of the two takes place on two basic levels:

1) direct compariso...

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Kurosawa's film Throne of Blood. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 00:10, December 14, 2019, from