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The Sukaiwaka Fortress — The Hidden Fortress with a Star Wars score (Released)


If George Lucas had never seen Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress, we probably wouldn’t have the Star Wars we know today. Now it’s time to put some Star Wars back into The Hidden Fortress.

Editing goals:
• to rescore The Hidden Fortress with John William’s music from Star Wars
• to rename the major characters and clans with Starwarsian names: Reia, General Kenobi, Atu, Situri, and a few others best left as surprises
• and to make the edit family-friendly by removing a questionable scene, curse words, and lightly rewriting some of the dialogue.

There will be other trims to improve pacing. The story will remain largely unchanged from the original film, but incidental dialogue will be altered to reference the Star Wars universe.

Rescoring won’t be flawless, since the original audio is essentially mono. The 3.0 Perspecta sound is really a mono track manipulated to provide directionality, so there’s no music-free center channel. Still, it’s possible to rescore this baby, and if my early drafts are any indication, the movie picks up a different vibe with a JW score.

Sneak peeks:
password for both = fanedit.org

And part of the featurette:

[if anybody can instruct me on posting video directly here, i’d be much obliged.]


another sneak peek. this clip uses the imperial audiophile TESB soundtrack, courtesy of A B C and darthrush. thanks again!

password = fanedit.org

• the imperial audiophile edition sounds less brassy than the official 1997 soundtrack release. it works well in this particular passage, though in other scenes, i’ll use the tracks from the CD.
• the wipe is george’s, i mean, kurosawa’s. the video hiccup immediately after the wipe appears to be a source issue, as it’s present on both the blu-ray and dvd.
• this clip has the original music by masaru sato right before transitioning to the john williams score. the two can exist side-by-side without incongruity, methinks.
• the imperial slaver doesn’t say “so hurry” in the original movie, but i thought i’d have fun transliterating a japanese line that sounds like english.


Just came across this and it is excellent! I haven’t checked out the vids yet, but will shortly.

Definitely have a Star Wars crawl to explain your project in the context of Lucas lifting the whole cloth of Fortress as his plot-line and then bunching it up his own way for his movie … pretty much as in your OP.

Maybe include mention of Lucas’s direction as a 60’s/70’s filmmaker in California“I’m a '60s, West Coast, liberal, radical, artsy, dyed-in-the-wool 99 percenter before there was such a thing”. It’s interesting to note that his film ideas (not very many) started out as anti-establishment statements. The ironic thing is, with his precious socialists finally in power, his old films now look like pro-Liberty statements against the truly tyrannical social/communism.

(No wonder he’s always moaning that “his big films” are not really his (too many other Americans injecting better ideals to make them work). He wants to get back to “small films”. But he has no other ideas to make and has stopped being a film-maker a long time ago. Poor George.)

BTW, how about including Star Wars sound effects and sound environments? (With the wall-to-wall music, it might put the picture even more squarely in the Star Wars motif.)


thanks for the interest, spaced ranger!

i considered very briefly having an opening crawl (even light saber sound effects for the elite samurai), but i still want this film to be very much a kurosawa film. thanks for the suggestions, though!

found an outlet for light saber sound effects. you’ll notice something in the youtube featurette. . . now that i have that out of my system, i don’t feel the need to insert these sounds in the actual movie, where they would be fun but also out of place.

but maybe. . . just for kicks, i might consider a second audio track with tie fighter sounds for horses, blaster noises for gunfire, and light saber sounds. building audio is a lot of work, though!


another reason not to place a traditional crawl detailing my editing intentions:

from a storytelling perspective, it’s usually best to show, not tell. consider how often you’ve seen a studio-released movie with an opening statement detailing a director’s intention. that kind of stuff is best left for the cover and the eventual edit description that will be posted @ fanedit.org.

still, there will be plenty of starwarsy goodness in this edit. i recently edited the spear fight to the precise length of a certain J Williams tune. 😃


That is a great idea … of alternate audio tracks (or even “angles” to switch in/out alternate video sequences). I hadn’t thought of that. Depending on what’s done, one could “dial-up” as much, or as little, Star Wars as perferred. But, of course, all within the parameters of your project.


another clip. nota sorta bene: there be schpoilers within.

password = fanedit.org

• tune: yoda raises the ship (TESB audiophile version)
• entirely rebuilt audio: bubbling spring, large waterfall, smaller cavern waterfall. particularly liked how the audio volume for the large waterfall drops sharply as we transition to the cave interior.



first draft completed. some stats:

• 34 john williams tunes deployed
• 215 subtitle changes
• 45 subtitle additions
• runtime of 2 hours, 7 minutes (14 minutes removed; about 2.5 minutes added for opening disclaimer & end credits)

before sending this out to previewers, i’ll keep going over the edit to adjust sound levels, tweak dialogue, and make any other adjustments.

still in the works: cover (particularly the back of it), trailer, supplemental featurette, and a commentary track.


the cover unwakens.

darkjedit: made a few changes, including tweaks to the back cover verbiage.


Hmm. I’ve never seen the movies or any samurai movies, really. Sounds cool!


Awesome (v2) trailer!

Some may not know the significance of The Hidden Fortress to Star Wars. Perhaps in the next trailer, this description card can be updated to something like:

The Forerunn er Of George Lucas!
The Inspirati on For Star Wars!
Kuros awa’s
The Hidde n Fortress
Now With Star Warsian Dialogue!
And The Musi c Of John Williams!

hey, marioxb. yup, without the hidden fortress, there’d be no star wars. it wasn’t the only influence on star wars, but a fairly big one.

if you’re interested in checking out samurai films, some entry-level movies would be yojimbo, the seven samurai, and the hidden fortress. intermediate to advanced: harakiri (1962).

spaced ranger, thanks! i really like how that turned out.

wanting to keep things simple (i’m a simple guy), i think i won’t go into an explanation of star wars’ origins in the trailer. that’s discussed on the cover and will eventually be on the edit’s page at fanedit.org/IFDB, so i plan to keep the trailer relatively clutter-free.

thanks for the interest, dudes. will keep you updated as i get closer to finishing. . . hopefully it’ll be released in september.


the great director kurosawa (deceased) graciously contributed to the sukaiwaka supplemental material. much love and thanks to kurosawa-sama!


• based on the “It Is Wonderful to Create” featurettes that accompany many of the criterion releases of kurosawa’s films.
• it’s true. all of it.


LOL! That was excellent. I started watching with a “Hey, wait a second here.”, then a “Oh … really?”, and finally a “Fascinating. Never knew that!

Now, I’m all ready to buy the Brooklyn Bridge. Are small bills okay?


tenkyu, SR!

regarding payment, i accept m. falcons. no tracking devices, please.


update: working on the commentary. hope to release this baby mid-month.

rewatched the original film, which i haven’t done in months. it now sounds to my ears relatively silent without the john williams score.

the 720p version will be released first. then comes the 1080p.


Good that you caught that. I once read of Lucas and Williams and the original Star Wars music where it stated that Lucas specifically wanted wall-to-wall music. His previous experience with American Graffiti was to make an environment of a time and place. Clearly, he liked it and continued it, only bigger, in Star Wars.

Forgive my over-thinking this but … what about traditional Japanese instruments (Shamisen) playing Star Wars? 😄

Opening Titles
Opening Titles continued - more instruments
The Dark Side
The Throneroom
End Titles - more instruments

and you could cross-fade between Shamisen and full Star Wars symphony (it would probably work best only at the start and end of the film).


awesome, ranger! i enjoyed those. i don’t think those’ll work in the edit proper for a variety of reasons, but i might be able to work one into the commentary track. 😃


kick-ass cover by faneditor ThrowgnCpr. like it so much, it’s going to be the primary cover for the edit.


The edit is available! Please PM me for details.

by ssj

Original movie title: The Hidden Fortress
Genres: Adventure, samurai
Fanedit type: Fanmix
Original release date: 1958
Original running time: 139 minutes
Fanedit release date: September 2016
Fanedit running time: 127 minutes

Star Wars, the prodigal son of The Hidden Fortress, comes home to Papa. Through the music of John Williams and numerous subtitle changes, The Hidden Fortress is transformed into a Star Wars experience.

• to rescore The Hidden Fortress with music from Star Wars
• to rename major characters and places with starwarsian names: Princess Reia, General Kenobi, Atu, Situri, and more
• to make the edit family-friendly by removing a questionable scene and all curse words, and by rewriting dialogue for certain scenes
• to repurpose memorable dialogue from Star Wars
• and to improve the story’s pacing.

Other sources: Various Star Wars original motion picture soundtracks
The Empire Strikes Back—Imperial Audiophile Edition by ABC
Distant Heavy Waterfall sound effect from freesfx.co.uk

Thanks: To ThrowgnCpr for invaluable feedback on sound editing and for a magnificent cover; to Junko for tending to my Japanese script; to Vultural for feedback on the trailer; to ABC for creating the IAE and to darthrush for pointing the way; to Vili Maunula for spreading the word; to blueyoda, Gatos, Neglify, and njvc for inspiration; and to reave for being reave.

Thanks also to addiesin, thecuddlyninja, dangermouse, DigModiFicaTion, DominicCobb, Dwight Fry, Flixcapacitor, JJE-187, Kal-El, Slart, Spaced Ranger, TMBTM, TM2YC, TV’s Frink, Ugetsu, Vultural, yo_yojimbo.

And to Kurosawa Akira, George Lucas, and John Williams for all the amazing movies and music.

Release details:
Video: H.264 MP4, 1280 x 534 and 1920 x 800
Feature audio: stereo, 256 kbps AAC
Commentary audio: stereo, 128 kpbs AAC

Special features: It Is Wonderful to Chronohop, a making-of featurette
Commentary track

Changes—cuts and additions
• music from Star Wars Episodes I, IV, V, VI, VII
• 44 new subtitles
• custom title screen and end credits

• 217 subtitles, generally to add Star Wars flavor but also to make the edit more family-friendly
• full names presented surname first

• several scenes of climbing and descending hills
• bickering in the ditch
• bits of overacting
• less interesting parts of the spear fight
• discussion of violating the princess
• any singing beyond the fire festival
• serial horseback arrivals to the overlook


thanks to everyone who’s expressed interest in this edit thru OT, fanedit.org, akirakurosawa.info, and twitter.

the 1080p version is now available. please PM me for the keys to the fortress.


hey, jjdout! thanks for seeking the fortress. will send you a PM.


Is there anyone that has a copy that they could share with me?