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Years before Akira Kurosawa changed the face of cinema with such iconic works as Rashomon, Seven Samurai, and Yojimbo, he made his start in the Japanese film industry with four popular and exceptional works, created as World War II raged. All gripping dramas, those rare first films—Sanshiro Sugata; The Most Beautiful; Sanshiro Sugata, Part Two; and The Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail—are collected here and include a two-part martial arts saga, a portrait of female volunteers helping the war effort, and a kabuki-derived tale of deception. These captivating films are a glorious introduction to a peerless career.

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Sanshiro Sugata Akira Kurosawa 1943 Kurosawa’s effortless debut is a thrilling martial arts action tale, but it’s also a moving story of moral education that’s quintessential Kurosawa. The Most Beautiful Akira Kurosawa 1944 This portrait of female volunteer workers at an optics plant during World War II, shot on location at the Nippon Kogaku factory, was created with a patriotic agenda. Yet it anticipates the aesthetics of Japanese cinema’s postwar social realism. Sanshiro Sugata, Part Two Akira Kurosawa 1945 Kurosawa’s first film was such a success that the studio leaned on the director to make a sequel. The result is a hugely entertaining adventure, reuniting most of the major players from the original. The Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail Akira Kurosawa 1945 The fourth film from Akira Kurosawa is based on a legendary twelfth-century incident in which the lord Yoshitsune and a group of samurai retainers dressed as monks in order to pass through a dangerous enemy checkpoint.

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EAH23 First Films of Akira Kurosawa DVD Collection (Sanshiro Sugata/The Most Beautiful/Men Who Tread on Tiger's Tail/Sanshiro Sugata Part 2) $59.95 $51.99