Shogun


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Back in 1981    
  
After the colossal success of Shogun    
on television in the United States     
and around the world, and the     
superb performances of     
Richard Chamberlain,     
Toshirô Mifune and Yôko Shimada     
in the series, it was logically expected    
that these nominated actors would    
be granted an Emmy award.     

These expectations were so deeply        frustrated that the new program         
 Entertainment Tonight in its first show       carried, as the lead story, the news     
about Richard Chamberlain not        
receiving an Emmy for Shogun.      
Richard Chamberlain thus became       
the first celebrity to be interviewed      
on the show. The actor was quite         philosophical about it all.        


 

 

 



1980 'Shogun' is one mini-series that retains maximum impact   

The TV landscape in the late 1970s and early 1980s 
was dominated by mini-series - unwieldy, grand, 
and often grandiose affairs that sacrificed story and character for spectacle. To modern viewers, these shows feel dated, hokey. 

There are notable exceptions: Roots (1977) is still essential viewing. As is Shogun, a lavish, fiercely paced, five-part drama based on the James Clavell novel that aired on NBC in 1980. The 547-minute epic has been digitally restored and released by Paramount in the five-disc set James Clavell's Shogun.

 Shot on location in Japan and set in the opening years of the 17th century, Shogun features Richard Chamberlain as an English sailor caught up in a bloody civil war waged by various feudal lords or daimyo all vying to win control of the nation. 

Toshirô Mifune turns in a terrific performance as Lord Toranaga, a character loosely based on Ieyasu Tokugawa, the man who eventually unified the nation and founded a dynasty that lasted for almost three centuries. Shogun is an exciting adventure filled with compelling characters - and it provides an unromanticized look at feudal Japan. 
© 2011 Tirdad Derakhshani, The Philadelphia Inquirer


 



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