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Kenneth Turan's DVD pick: Kurosawa's 'Throne of Blood,' 'Hidden Fortress'

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The great filmmaker Akira Kurosawa was known as the Japanese director whose sensibility resonated most with moviegoers in the West.

Now, the Criterion Collection has released dual-format discs of two of his best films, both starring Toshiro Mifune and each with a very specific relationship to Western culture.

"Throne of Blood," the better known of the two, features Mifune as an ambitious warlord with a ruthless wife. If that sounds familiar, it's because director Kurosawa based his story on Shakespeare's "Macbeth."

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If the narrative of "The Hidden Fortress" also sounds familiar, that's with good reason as well.

Its tale of a general who has to guard a princess was a key inspiration for George Lucas when he was writing the original "Star Wars."

Follow Kenneth Turan on Twitter at @kennethturan. And are you an aficionado of iconic Hollywood? Like our Classic Hollywood Facebook page to get more Times coverage.  

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