Toshiro Mifune was the legendary Japanese actor who appeared in almost 170 feature films. He’s best remembered for his roles in Akira Kurosawa films. He was the perfect portrayal of a samurai. Mifune was tough! But he was more than just tough, he was funny. And unlike a lot of western tough-guys, he could act! Mifune could be clownish (Seven Samurai), stoic (“Samurai” trilogy) or tender (Red Beard).
My first encounter with Mifune was Rashomon, where he plays the roaring bandit. Then I watched Yojimbo, where he plays the proud, invincible samurai. Then my jaws dropped permanently after I watched Seven Samurai, where Mifune plays the fearless, reckless, funny samurai. Well, if Kurosawa is your greatest director of all times, then you will agree that Mifune is the greatest actor- such is my case!
I’ve never known an actor as adorable as Mifune. I’m sure, if heaven exists, he’s up there, drinking sake with Miyamoto Musashi and Kurosawa, the three then discussing art and cinema with Satyajit Ray and then jamming all night with Hendrix!
Just kidding. Heaven doesn’t exist. They are long dead with nothing but their incredible work left behind.