Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5. Japan, 1953. Daiei Studios. Story by Hisakazu Tsuji, Screenplay by Yoshikata Yoda, adaptation by Matsutaro Kawaguchi, from stories by Akinari Ueda. Cinematography by Kazuo Miyagawa. Produced by Masaichi Nagata. Music by Fumio Hayasaka, Tamekichi Mochizuki, Ichiro Saito. Production Design by Masatsugu Hashimoto. Costume Design by Tadaoto Kainosho, Shima Yoshizane. Film Editing by Mitsuzo Miyata. Academy Awards 1955.
Kenji Mizoguchi (Life Of Oharu) directs this haunting tale about two 16th century peasants who travel to the big city to make money selling their pottery wares. One of them decides to take their hard-earned money and buy a suit of armour in order to run off and become a great samurai, leaving his wife to be raped and tortured by invaders and become a prostitute in order to survive. The other is invited to the palace of a rich woman who likes his work, and he eventually abandons his own wife back home to move in with this new benefactress. Is she everything it seems, though? This new heroine turns out to have a touch of the supernatural in one of the great director’s best.