Toshiro Mifune is among the people set to get their very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame this year.
The other movie players included are Bradley Cooper, Quentin Tarantino, Michael Keaton, Steve Carell, Kurt Russell, and Ashley Judd. But never mind them, because did you hear the bit where I said Toshiro Mifune?
One of the absolute greats of 20th century Japanese cinema, Mifune is of course best known for his run of sixteen (!) movies with one of the most accomplished directors of all time, Akira Kurosawa. That partnership — like De Niro and Scorsese once upon a time, but more prolific — yielded some of the greatest and most important movies ever made.
But here’s the thing: Kurosawa could’ve been a punch-drunk chihuahua with a camera, and as long as he’d manage to point it roughly in Mifune’s direction it would’ve turned out a compelling experience. Because Toshiro Mifune is charisma.
Oh you don’t agree?
OK, tell you what: after you’ve gone through the following evidence, come back and tell me that again.
Now, what were you saying?
That’s what I thought.
Now go watch Yojimbo and think about what you did.
(Interesting side note: Mifune apparently turned down the roles of both Obi-Wan and Darth Vader.)