Welcome to The B-Side, from The Film Stage. Here we talk about movie stars and filmmakers and not the movies that made them famous or kept them famous, but the ones they made in between.

This is the final selection from our listener-selected series we started earlier this year. Not to play favorites, but this is one of our favorite episodes about a favorite subject: Mr. Toshiro Mifune!

Conor and I are honored to be joined by Moeko Fujii, a NYC-based writer who provided this amazing essay for The Criterion Channel’s “Mifune At 100” Series. Together, we discuss five lesser-known Mifune pictures: Wedding Ring (1950), Hell In The Pacific (1968), Red Sun (1971), The Challenge (1982), and Shadow Of The Wolf (1992).

We dig into Mifune’s start, what makes Mifune one of (if not the) greatest to ever do it, his complicated relationship with legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, and that part of that one movie where he turns into a hawk! 

There’s the incredibly revealing interview director John Boorman gave about the making of Hell In The Pacific, and also a rare interview Mifune gave in the early ‘80s, in which he discussed the making of The Challenge and the infamous war picture Inchon. And, of course, we mention how George Lucas offered him a role in Star Wars.

Please be sure to give Moeko Fujii’s work a look, including a great piece on Setsuko Hara, which we reference in the episode.

For more from The B-Side, you can find every actor/director and the films discussed in one place here.

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