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The Influence and Imagery of Akira Kurosawa

Part III: The Sequels

Lucas took much of the plot of Empire Strikes Back from Dersu Uzala , and so of course a heavy visual record of that film exists:

 

 

 

 

 

The original Yoda, Dersu:

 

 

Luke's mysterious lesson in "the cave" in Empire Strikes Back may have its roots in Kurosawa's tragic gangster film, Drunken Angel . In that film, the gangster Matsunaga, played by Toshiro Mifune, tries to escape his criminal past but is unsuccessful. In one scene he drifts off and has a vivid nightmare. He is walking on a beach and finds a casket. He chops it open with an axe and is horrified to discover that the body inside is himself. The corpse comes to life and tries to grab him. This scene may have also inspired a similar surreal dream sequence at the beginning of Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some have also tried to connect the dis-armed Wampa in the Special Edition to the famous arm-severing in Yojimbo (though such a generic image could just be coincidence):

 

The speeder bike chases was originally done with horses in Hidden Fortress :

 

 

 

 

CONTINUE TO PART IV

Star Wars, the Star Wars logo, all names and pictures of Star Wars characters, vehicles and any other Star Wars related items are registered trademarks and/or copyrights of Lucasfilm Ltd., or their respective trademark and copyright holders. All other images are copyrights of Toho studios. They are used here for educational purposes under fair use.

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