Throne of Blood (1957) Script

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THRONE OF BLOOD

Producers: KUROSAWA AKIRA and MOTOGI SOJIRO Screenplay by: OGUNI HIDEO, HASHI MOTO SHINOBU, KIKUSHI MA RYUZO, KUROSAWA AKIRA Cinematography: NAKAI ASAKAZU Art Director: MURAKI YOSHIRO

Score: SATO MASARU

Cast:

MIFUNE TOSHIRO YAMADA ISUZU SHIMURA TAKASHI, KUBO AKIRA, TACHIKAWA YOICHI, CHIAKI MINORU


Director: KUROSAWA AKIRA

Look upon the ruins Of the castle of delusion

Haunted only now By the spirits Of those who perished

A scene of carnage

Born of consuming desire

Never changing

Now and throughout eternity HERE STOOD SPIDER'S WEB CASTLE


Fujimaki mutinies at North Garrison.

Caught unawares, fire ravages the Fourth and Fifth Fortresses.

And the Third Fortress?

The Third Fortress had no time to prepare itself.

And the Second Fortress?

Fighting like a man possessed, Second Fortress commander Miki has redeployed men of the Third Fortress.

Our First Fortress?

As flames engulfed the Fourth and Fifth Fortresses, First Fortress, under commander Washizu, came under assault from Inui's men, some 400 strong, who poured across our border full force.

So, this is Inui's scheme.

And how does Washizu fare in battle?

A bitter fight.

Attend to this man.

Shall we strike?

Or barricade ourselves in this castle?

We must confine ourselves here.

Striking at forces bent on victory will only bring greater injury to our men.

First, post sentries at the edges of Spider's Web Forest, divide our foe's forces by luring them into its maze, and wound as many as we can.

Then withdraw and barricade ourselves here.

This would be my strategy.

Our supplies?

We can eke out three months, slurping gruel.

I bring word. I am a messenger from the Second Fortress. Let him enter.

Let him enter.

Lord, the tides of battle favor you.

How is that?

Even as Miki's valiant defense exhausted our foe's strategies, Washizu tore through Inui's lines at the First Fortress, raining arrows on their ranks.

Washizu did this? Yes.

Washizu did that.

Washizu's gambit has easily wasted our enemy, and turned the tide of war to our advantage.

Lord, even now Washizu and Miki's men have driven the enemy back, trapping them in the Garrison.

Lord.

Lord.

At the Garrison, Fujimaki prepares to abdicate and begs for peace.

No, we shall not talk of peace.

Noriyasu.

Take your men to North Garrison at once and slay Fujimaki.

Fortify our border positions, and if Inui refuses to move his men...

Bring Washizu and Miki here. I wish to thank them myself.

What is this day?

I have never seen such peculiar weather.

Make haste. I wish to see our Lord's joyous face.

Indeed.


No, this is... the very path where we last stopped our beasts.

Indeed, see the hoof marks where our horses tread.

This is baffling.

Is not this the Spider's Web Forest?

Without question.

Then the castle must be but very near.

We have wandered the forest two hours now.

Finding no outlet.

The infamous Spider's Web Forest.

Stretching out like a spider's web, protecting Spider's Web Castle against all foes.

Ridiculous.

Though perilous to our foes, surely we know this forest well.

Hear that? There's evil afoot.

That was an evil spirit.

Then I'll trust my spear to conquer it and pass.

And I shall depend upon my faithful bow and arrow.


What is that?

Do you recall such a hovel?

No, the sight is new to my eyes.

Also the work of an evil spirit.

And yet...

Look at the horses. They're out of their wits.

Strange is the world Why should men Receive life in this world?

Men's lives are as meaningless As the lives of insects The terrible folly Of such suffering

A man lives but As briefly as a flower Destined all too soon To decay into the stink of flesh

Humanity strives All its days To sear its own flesh In the flames of base desire Exposing itself To Fate's Five Calamities

Heaping karma upon karma

All that awaits Man At the end Of his travails

Is the stench of rotting flesh That will yet blossom into flower Its foul odor rendered Into sweet perfume Oh, fascinating The life of Man Oh, fascinating

Who are you?

Are you human or of the spirit world?

Speak now. If you can sing, surely you can speak.

Yes.

Washizu Taketoki.

Commander of the First Fortress.

What? You know of me?

Yes.

From this day forward, Lord of the North Garrison.

What? Lord of North Garrison from this day?

Yes.

One day, you shall also be Sovereign over Spider's Web Castle.

How dare you. Cease your jesting.

Why should you show fury when my tidings are so joyous?

Our Great Lord is the only lord of the castle.

Human beings are so strange.

Terrified to look into the bottom of their own hearts.

Wait now.

Though this may be a spirit creature, it would not jest with your arrow poised at its heart.

Let me question further.

Answer me this.

Do you see into the future as clearly as my eyes now see?

Yes.

Miki Yoshiaki.

Commander of the Second Fortress.

And henceforward, commander of the First Fortress.

Even today, commander of First Fortress?

And my realm and rank thereafter?

Your destiny is both smaller and greater than that of Washizu.

What?

What can you mean by this?

One day your son shall rule Spider's Web Castle.


Ah, there's the castle.

Finally free of that spider's web. Come, at a gallop.

No, wait.

My fatigue is great. My armor weighs heavily, as never before.

And no wonder.

We've tired three mounts since yesterday's battle.

Shall we rest?

I'm drowsy.

I desire nothing more than a deep, restful sleep.

I can't help but feel this is already a dream.

Our encounter with that spirit may well have been a dream.

They say dreams manifest our basest desires.

In truth, who would not dream of ruling over a vanquished castle?

It seems your son shall become Great Lord of that castle.

No, it is you, yourself, who shall rule over that castle.

But first, I must become Lord of the North Garrison.

And I, commander of the First Fortress.

Joyous tidings. Joyous tidings.

Yet... Yet...

What? What did you mean to say? No, what did you?

And yet, what if as of this night, I do become Lord of North Garrison, and you command First Fortress...


Most distinguished warrior in battle, Washizu Taketoki.

Henceforward, you are Lord of North Garrison.

Miki Yoshiaki.

Your service was equally distinguished.

From this night forward, commander of our First Fortress.


Awfully peaceful.

Surely, this is paradise.

Vastly superior to the discomfort of a fortress.

Life can always be improved.

Fine fortune for we who serve them, but our Lord and Lady must be well satisfied.


Is your heart resolved?

No.

I dreamt an evil dream.

Beguiled by a wicked spirit.

But I no longer waver.

Preposterous, to wish I were Lord of Spider's Web Castle.

Do not call your dream preposterous.

Any man who takes bow in hand would dream of such a fate.

No.

I prefer to remain here.

I will serve my Lord loyally from this Garrison.

Savor the peace of a life befitting my rank.

That shall not come to pass. What?

What if Miki Yoshiaki should disclose the forest spirit's prophecy to our Great Lord?

If that comes to pass, we shall not survive here.

At once, the Great Lord would surround this castle with his men, jealous of the threat you pose to his hegemony.

My Lord, you have but two paths ahead.

Remain here and patiently wait for our Great Lord to slay you, or slay him first and become the Lord of Spider's Web Castle.

Slaying the Great Lord would be high treason.

Did not the Great Lord secure his own position murdering his predecessor?

No, only because his own Lord doubted him and sought his death.

Our Great Lord trusts me.

He treasures me like no other.

Only because he does not know the depths of your heart.

My heart?

There is nothing in my heart.

That is a lie.

Ridiculous.

I am... perfectly content with my station at North Garrison.

Even if that were true, do you think the Great Lord will trust it is so, should Miki inform him of that prophecy?

Miki is...

Miki is my beloved friend from childhood.

He is incapable of betrayal.

To advance themselves in this world, parents will kill children, and children, their parents.

In this degenerate age, one must kill so as not to be killed.

I cannot help wondering if Miki has already informed the Great Lord.

I have no respite from this fear.

Asaji. Do not speak of your doubts again.

Lord.

I've word. 300 men of Spider's Web Castle lurk in the woods.

They have assembled in silence.

My Lord.

The forests surrounding North Garrison are thick with armed men, all from Spider's Web Castle.

Their flags and spears are lowered, their horses bridled with twigs.

News for Washizu, Lord of North Garrison.

The Great Lord approaches.

What is it?

My Lord, the Great Lord approaches.

Men, form your ranks.

Form your ranks.

Fall in, men.

Washizu, there is no need.

The Great Lord is out hunting incognito.

And thus no need for an official reception.


My congratulations on your bountiful kill.

No, the hunt is only a pretext

that I may deploy my men to attack Inui.

Inui's behavior is untenable.

Knowing this day would come, I overlooked his conspiracy with Fujimaki.

Take heed. Hereafter, I quarter at North Garrison here, secretly fortify our border, and attack when opportunity permits.

Until then, not a word to anyone.

Washizu. Sir.

Miki. Sir.

I elevate you in recognition of your courage.

Washizu take my vanguard, Miki, Spider's Web Castle.

Sir. Sir.

Asaji.

Now your suspicious heart must find respite.

Our Great Lord trusts me.

In your uneasy heart that would slander Miki, that evil spirit lurks.

I cannot agree.

And still you doubt. Listen.

Great Lord places his trust in me above all others.

Thus he gives me the noble rank of vanguard commander.

This vanguard commander is vulnerable to arrows on every side.

Great Lord is a fox.

With easy words, he cheats you of the North Garrison, sends his trusted Miki out of danger to guard Spider's Web Castle, and casts you, his most hated adversary, into danger.

From the heights of the castle keep, Miki will laugh as he watches you take your last gullible breath.

Who's there? We are with the Garrison.

That way lie the Great Lord's sleeping quarters.

No one may approach them.

I do not seek his quarters.

I come to air the sealed chamber.

Sealed chamber?

The place where the former Lord, Fujimaki, took his life.

No scrubbing will cleanse the bloodstained floor, and thus the chamber remains locked.

Why open the room on such a night?

The Great Lord sleeps in our Lord's chambers, thus he must rest here.

I thank you for your labors. You may pass.


Most peculiar.

Though I have waded through endless mires of battle dead, these blood stains never fail to chill my spine.

For this is dog's blood.

The blood of a traitor most foul who, when his rash schemes failed, begged our Great Lord for his life. This is coward's blood.

Damn, even the birds cry ominously.

You accuse me of doubting too deeply.

Yet even my distrustful heart, cannot help but trust that spirit's prophecy.

Open your eyes and look for yourself.

Each truthful provision of that prophecy has come to pass, without the slightest help from you.

Do you still not comprehend it?

The Great Lord himself has flown into your very hands.

If you let this night pass, such an opportunity will never come again.

And yet... under what pretext can I commit high treason?

In any case, all his men will turn against me.

Though the Great Lord claims to trust you, he's left Noriyasu's men to guard him. This is our good fortune.

We'll quench their thirst with a sleeping potion mixed in sake.

As his guards dream, you shall slay the Great Lord, and denounce Noriyasu as the murderer to his own men.

What do you hear in that bird's cry?

"Will you risk the world?"

So it sounds to me.

Ambition makes the man.

From your stronghold, Spider's Web, you may yet aspire to all the world. The cry is from heaven.


Who's there?

Your sleeping quarters are ready.

Good work.

And how did you leave the Great Lord's guards?

Spears poised, they maintain their sleepless vigil. Indeed they do.

Let us offer them some sake, then.


Intruders! Intruders!

Take arms!

The Great Lord is in danger.

Traitor.


Let me go. You must hold your temper.

First, back to the castle, Prince.

Let me go.

Surely this is Washizu's work.

Flee now and they mark us traitors.

Hear my story, Prince.

No justice for the dead.

Let me go. Let go of me.

Do not heed the minions. Noriyasu is our only foe.

Where's Noriyasu? He was nearly ours.

So he's escaped.

He fled to the castle with the prince.

What, to the castle with the prince?

My God. Spider's Web Castle is in Miki's charge.

If he admits those two...

Admitting those foul traitors insults our Great Lord.

Press forward.


Give chase.

Ready your arrows.


Damn them.

Word for Lord Miki.

As he prepared to attack Inui, our Great Lord died tragically, in the Garrison at Washizu's treasonous hand.

I, Noriyasu, fought my way back to this castle with the prince under my protection.

Open the gates in haste.

Open the gates.

Lord Miki.

Washizu swiftly approaches.

Open the gates.

Open the gates.

Miki, how dare you?

Prince.

Strike them, Lord.

Hold back.

Give chase and strike them, Lord.

No, hold back.

We cannot move until we perceive Miki's design.

With our Great Lord gone, Miki may plan to usurp the throne, and then Miki himself will become our next enemy.

Lord.

Lord.

A message from your lady.

What is it?

If Miki refuses to open the gates, approach the gates bearing the Great Lord's coffin.

I see.

Open the gates.

The Great Lord returns.

Open the gates.

Washizu will enter, guarding the Great Lord's coffin.


What of the Great Lord's lady?

She has taken her life.

She could not bear to see an enemy occupy the castle.


Surely the evil spirit of Spider's Forest foretold the truth.

With the Great Lord gone, Inui will surely turn against this fortress.

They will come in force.

You alone have the strength to defend this castle.

I will argue the justice of this before the Council.


We shall speak of it at greater length.


Where lies the Garrison?

At the foot of those mountains, see?

From this height, it seems almost pitiful.

Life can always be improved. Fine, fine fortune.

If only there were an heir, this house would have great joy.

So I cannot persuade you of the folly in naming Miki's son as heir to the throne of this castle?

At the Council meeting, he ardently argued my right to succession.

I owe my position to his unflagging friendship.

I must repay his loyalty.

I cannot agree.

Miki did not promote you out of friendship.

Surely you know this yourself.

Do not speak of it.

Miki is courageous.

He's a shrewd strategist.

Terrifying as an enemy, but a trustworthy ally.

If I appoint his son to be my heir, he will engage in any labor on my behalf.

Hear this.

At tonight's banquet I will announce and celebrate my successor.

Entertain Miki and his son lavishly.

I did not soil these hands with blood for the sake of Lord Miki's son.

My rule lasts but a generation.

Thereafter, Miki's heirs succeed.

If you believe in the Forest prophecy, it is the most we can hope for. I refuse.

And yet, we are barren.

Someday, we must choose an heir.

I am... with child.

With child?

Yes.


Fool.

What is this?

His loyal horse went mad today.

He bucked his bridle, tore off his reins and fled.

Father, this bodes ill. We cannot visit the Castle.

Ridiculous.

We are honored guests at tonight's banquet. We must attend.

Father.

As I have said already, I am grateful for these honors...

You complain?

No, I make no complaints.

But I refuse to trust an evil spirit's prophecy. Foolish.

Foolish?

I saw it clearly with my own eyes.

For Washizu, the prophecies have been fulfilled.

For me, tonight...

Such reasoning proves you are possessed.

The spirit has tricked you into fulfilling its prophecies, and now you believe the prophecies have come true. Is it wise?

Then believe them not.

And yet, Washizu's wish to name you heir is neither dream nor illusion.

Listen well.

You can become lord and master of a castle,

without bloodshed, without heaping corpse on corpse.

What got into that horse? Look at my wounds.

Kept me behind.

Made you miss out on castle sake.

He's back.


Where can Lord Miki be?

Great Lord is vexed as well.

Such impudence is unlike Miki.

Oh, terrible gods attend our story well The very same tale foretold in ancient legend The warrior Chikata whose devilish men served his traitorous schemes Yet when his demon henchmen murder him in betrayal their debt of royal treachery swiftly brings their own ruin And thus it came to pass That's enough. Enough of your dancing.

Sir.


Damn you, Miki.

Such insolence.

Remove yourself.

Remove yourself.

Great Lord.

Calm yourself.

He has imbibed too freely.

Lately, he is often this way when he has had too much to drink.

No doubt his predecessor's violent death tears at his heart.


I'm terribly drunk.

What's wrong?

Will you men not take a drop?

Let's celebrate.


What can be the cause of Miki's delay?

Rumor has it that Inui has spies afoot.

I pray all is well.

There he is again.

If you reprove me so, draw your sword and strike.

I'll slay you yet again.

My Lord.

Pay him no mind.

His confusion will subside with the liquor.

Forgive this unseemly disruption of our feast.

Please retire for the night.


Retire!


How brilliant.

A Great Lord, his ambitions set on the world, terrorized and undone by phantoms.

Who's there?


Lord Miki is done with...

Enough!

Retire.

My Great Lord.

There is a more pressing question.

His son?

I wounded him, but he escaped, clinging to his steed.

What? He escaped?

I have no excuse.


A fierce wind blows.

As if to shake the castle to its foundation.

These foundations already tremble, without need of the wind.

Nowadays, even the garrison and fortress commanders, who once paid court here daily, are hardly seen.

Let sleeping dogs lie.

Two commanders, whom the Great Lord doubted, forced to take their lives.

Hard to believe it was Inui's spies that murdered Miki.

I've heard tell that Miki's son has taken shelter with Inui.

Only a fool would side with his father's foe.

They say even Noriyasu and our last prince have pledged themselves to Inui.

What will come of this?

In any case, we can no longer trust this castle's invincibility.

I heard a guard of the watchtower say he saw a pack of rats fleeing the castle grounds.

They always say, "Rats flee a house before it burns. "

How is she?

My lady, how does she fare?

Speak.

Why are you silent?

There is nothing to speak of.

My lady has given birth. The child was stillborn.

Stillborn?

And lifeless first some days within my lady's womb, my lady's health is far from certain.

Great Lord.

Great Lord.


Fool!

Fool.


Great Lord.

Great Lord.

A messenger from the First Fortress.

What?

What is it?

Inui's men swarmed our border, taking the First Fortress.

Noriyasu leads the vanguard, swearing vengeance for the prince's father.

The Second Fortress is surrounded.

Miki's son commands them.

First and Second Fortresses are both lost, our foe has joined forces and approaches the Third Fortress.


Cowards.

It is two hours since I called council. How can we greet this attack?

Enough with you.

What need for the advice of cowards, who quake and pale under fire?

Bring my horse. My horse.

Come forth.

Evil spirit.

Evil spirit.

Come forth, evil spirit.

Come forth, evil spirit.

Come forth.

Show yourself. I must know.


Whom have we here?

Is this not the Great Lord of Spider's Web Castle?

Damn you. Answer me plainly.

Is it true Miki's son will be Lord of Spider's Web?

So I see, you have finally come to the end of your wanderings.

You have done well.

You have done well.

Damn you. Tell me.

If you have the power, foretell the outcome of my battle.

You may set your fears to rest.

Until the very trees of Spider's Web Forest rise against Spider's Web Castle, you will not be defeated in battle.

The trees rise to attack?

Such a thing is impossible.

Which means, I will not be defeated in battle?

If you choose the path of bloodshed, then climb to the very pinnacle of evil.

Noriyasu, the prince and even Miki's son, I swear I shall kill them all.

If you choose to build a mountain of corpses, build its summit as high as you dare.

I'll lay a fresh mountain of corpses over these bleached bones.

If you will make blood flow, let it be a river, no, an ocean of blood.

A deluge of blood shall stain these woods crimson.

Come for me, Noriyasu.

Ally yourself with Inui, with the prince, and Miki's son.

Join forces with the First and Second Fortress, too.

Thousands, tens of thousands.

Bring every man you can find and lay siege to Spider's Web!


Heed this.

The Spider's Web Forest is but a web of trails.

Do not let the paths beguile you.

Avoid the trails.

Once inside the forest, ride straight through the trees, and press only forward.


What? My hidden troops in the forest have withdrawn?

Cowards.

The men who lay in wait withdrew en masse without receiving a single arrow?

Our foe Noriyasu knows the forest. We cannot entrap him.


I was remiss...

Men, hear me well.

In battle, the final victor takes all.

Skirmishes mean nothing.

Take heart.

I, Washizu, demand your trust.

On no account shall I meet defeat in battle.

If you do not believe me, I'll tell you why.

This happened when I still commanded the First Fortress.

As I returned to the Castle after rushing Fujimaki's mutiny, I saw an evil spirit in Spider's Forest.

According to its prophecy, I would that eve become Lord of the North Garrison, and later, of this Castle.

Behold my fate.

The prophecy foretold my destiny precisely.

And then, today.

I spurred my steed back into the Forest to ask the spirit of my fortune once more.

Rejoice.

None may defeat me, though heaven descends or the earth rends.

The spirit told me, until the trees of the forest rise to attack the Castle, I shall never be defeated in battle.

Men.

Don't tell me. Do trees attack?

Those of you who trust my fate, raise your spears.


Can't see a thing.

Hey.

What can the enemy be plotting, with nary a torch?

What can that be?

No doubt they've abandoned their attack to build defenses.


Even the formidable Noriyasu has no power against these legendary fortifications.

The attackers can see nothing inside the castle.

Yet we have a bird's-eye view of them.

If they do attack us, let them draw near and then shower them with arrows.

What is it?

Is it a covert attack?

What is it?

An ill omen.

Commanders of cowardice who quake and pale.

Do you not see this as good omen?

How dare you let an auspicious omen of our victory fluster you.


My lady.

My lady.


It won't come out.

What an awful bloodstain.

No matter how I wash it, why won't this blood wash away?

It reeks of blood even now.

Why can I not clean this blood from my hands?

Asaji.

What is the matter with this blood?

The stain will not leave my hands.

No matter how many times I wash and wash again, still these hands reek of blood.

Asaji.

This awful stain of blood.


Fools.

Why this confusion as victory approaches?

Quiet down.

Quiet down, I say.

Great Lord. The trees, the trees of Spider's Forest.

What of them? The trees have risen to attack us.

Ridiculous.

A madman's delusion. How would a forest move?


What is this!

Hold your stations.

Do not yield.

Return to your stations.

Cowards.

I see it now.

You'll slay me and offer my head when you surrender.

You traitors.

Murdering a Great Lord is high treason.

And who killed our last Great Lord?


They know our every move from the castle.

Send the large and small carts first.

Hide yourselves beneath the carts.

Conceal yourselves among the branches and don't expose yourselves.


Look upon the ruins Of the castle of delusion Haunted only now By the spirits of those who perished A scene of carnage

Born of consuming desire Never changing Now and throughout eternity HERE STOOD SPIDER'S WEB CASTLE

THE END