In 1159, during an attempted coup, one of the court's ladies in waiting disguises herself as the lord's wife, and a loyal samurai conveys her from the city. This diversion allows the royal ... See full summary »
In 1159, during an attempted coup, one of the court's ladies in waiting disguises herself as the lord's wife, and a loyal samurai conveys her from the city. This diversion allows the royal family to escape. After the coup fails, the samurai asks his lord to let him marry the woman as his reward. The lord grants the request and then discovers she is already married to one of the ruling family's lieges. The samurai clings to his desire, importuning her to leave her husband, then challenging the husband to release her. Although the husband stays calm and she stays faithful, the samurai remains intemperate and stubborn, with tragic consequences. Written by
A samurai falls in love with a woman whose life he saves. He is offered a reward for his bravery, and he asks if he can be married to that woman. Unfortunately, she is already married and the samurai's request cannot be fulfilled. He is steadfast in his desire, and tries forcibly to take her from her husband. The elements of many cheap thrillers exist in that scenario. Gate of Hell doesn't do too much to distinguish itself, although it's certainly not a thriller. Basically, the whole film is an excuse for its admittedly great climactic sequence, where the samurai invades the home of the woman and her husband at night. I really like how this sequence ends, but there are some questions left unanswered - annoyingly so. The husband even asks them aloud, and there really isn't a satisfactory explanation. Other than that sequence, most of the rest of the film is kind of tedious. Fortunately, the absolutely beautiful cinematography - was this Japan's first film in color? - always manages to be impressive. The costume design actually won an Academy Award, a much deserved one, if I may say so myself. It also won an honorary Oscar for Best Foreign Film, the year before that category was made official. Furthermore, it was the first Japanese film to win the Palme D'Or at Cannes. 7/10.
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