Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB
Original title: Dai-Bosatsu Toge
Japan, 1966. Takarazuka Eiga Company Ltd., Toho Company. Screenplay by Shinobu Hashimoto, based on the novel by Kaizan Nakazato.Cinematography by Hiroshi Murai.Produced by Sanezumi Fujimoto, Konparu Nanri, Masayuki Sato. Music by Masaru Sato. Production Design by Takashi Matsuyama. Film Editing by Yoshitami Kuroiwa.
Exciting samurai tale that stars Japanese cinema legend Tatsuya Nakadai and features the awe-inspiring Toshirô Mifune in a brief supporting role. Nakadai plays a devoted warrior who follows orders when he is assigned one murder victim or another, but eventually the sense of power it gives him goes to his head and turns to madness. He murders a man in an execution match that he had falsely agreed to set free, and is later pursued by the victim’s brother who hunts him down at all costs in order to exact revenge. While stunningly photographed and featuring excellent action sequences, the screenplay leaves a few of its many plots completely hanging in mid-air when the film ends, and the experience suffers for this. Not too big a problem, though, for it’s still a stylish and exciting film that is well worth your time.
The Criterion Collection: #280