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There is some confused information on this site regarding this film. I don't claim to be an expert on the samurai genre, but the version I saw was directed by Kono Toshikazu, not Inagaki, and was a Toei COLOUR release from 1959, not a 1942 B&W from Daiei. The cast list is correct
for the 1959 version, that is. It is possible there are two versions,
in which case the only mistake here is listing the cast of the 59 version under the 42 title. If there are two versions, this review may be inappropriate, but since both were based on a novel, I am assuming they follow the same storyline...(?) Kinnosuke delivers an excellent performance, though I wish we could have seen more of the volatile, unpredictable temper Date Masamune was famous for. Historical purists will be disappointed - the film (perhaps wisely) ignores his early aggressions and atrocities against his neighbours, and (unfortunately) his ultimately futile backing of a trade mission to the Pope in Rome. This was an effort distinct to Masamune, and would have lent the story a similar uniqueness. Instead, the story concentrates lengthily on a doomed romance with a woodcutter's granddaughter, and his relations with the ruling government under the usurper Hiedeyoshi. I suspect the budget was rather limited - there are too many exteriors that are obvious stage sets, and the battle scenes, while large enough to be believable and exciting, are very brief. Despite its failings, the direction is sound and there are some powerful moments, such as Masamune's discovery of his ruined eye, and the kidnapping of his father by an enemy clan. All in all, worth tracking down for fans of samurai films and samurai history.
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