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An Actor's Revenge (1963)

Yukinojô henge (original title)
Yukinojo, a Kabuki actor, seeks revenge by destroying the three men who caused the deaths of his parents. Also involved are the daughter of one of Yukinojo's targets, two master thieves, and a swordsman who himself is out to kill Yukinojo.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kazuo Hasegawa ...
Yukinojo Nakamura / Yamitaro the Thief
Fujiko Yamamoto ...
Ohatsu
Ayako Wakao ...
Eiji Funakoshi ...
Narutoshi Hayashi ...
Mukuzu
Eijirô Yanagi ...
Hiromi-ya
Chûsha Ichikawa ...
Kikunojo Nakamura
Ganjirô Nakamura ...
Saburô Date ...
Kawaguchi-ya
Jun Hamamura ...
Isshosai
Kikue Môri ...
Cruel Old Woman
Masayoshi Kikuno ...
Yukinojo's Father
Raizô Ichikawa ...
Hirutaro
Shintarô Katsu ...
Hojin
Yutaka Nakayama ...
Townsman
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Storyline

While performing in a touring kabuki troupe, leading female impersonator Yukinojo comes across the three men who drove his parents to suicide twenty years earlier, and plans his revenge, firstly by seducing the daughter of one of them, secondly by ruining them... Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

kabuki | year 1836 | love | kimono | japan | See All (8) »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 June 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

An Actor's Revenge  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During an exchange about half-way through the film, two characters are discussing the southern city Nagasaki, and they pronounce it 'NaNgasaki', which indicates the convention of speakers from Tokyo/Edo and the north of Japan, despite both characters notionally coming from the south (i.e. Osaka and Nagasaki), where terminal 'g' is not pronounced 'ng'. See more »

Connections

Version of Yukinojô henge: Daiippen dainihen (1935) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Tragic crust with a playful center
16 December 2005 | by (NY, USA) – See all my reviews

Yukinojo Henge, or "An Actors Revenge" in English can be appreciated on a number of different levels. First of all there is the intricate plans of revenge the kabuki actor main character carries out against those who had been responsible for his parents deaths. Secondly one can enjoy it as a period piece. Those interested in Tokugawa Period Japan will enjoy critiquing the historical accuracy of the film. However what really separates this movie from other tales of revenge and intrigue is in its playfulness.

The movie was considered a tribute to the actor who played the part of the lead. It was Kazuo Hasegawa's 300th role and the movie was a remake of the 1935 film of the same name. In many scenes you can see Hasegawa injecting himself as an actor into the movie. These can usually be picked up only if one is somewhat familiar with the behind the scenes aspects of the film. If one is aware that Hasegawa is not only playing the main character, but also that of Yamitaro the thief then there are certain parts of the dialogue that take on a new meaning.

One example of this is when Hasegawa playing the thief witnesses Hasegawa playing Yukinojo Nakamura lying to his love interest and pawn Namiji. After seeing this Yamitaro comments to himself, and also to the audience, that Nakamura is such a great actor, referring to his lies, that he shouldn't be wasting his time with his kabuki troop. Since we as viewers are aware that we are seeing a movie, as well as being aware that the one being commented on is the same as the one doing the commenting, we can see this as Hasegawa making his presence as the actor Hasegawa known. He is essentially complimenting himself saying, "I am such a great actor, why am I wasting my time doing this movie?" There are a couple more instances of similar playfulness between the three part relationship of Hasegawa as Hasegawa the actor in the reality of the film audience, Hasegawa as Nakamura the actor in the reality of the characters, and Hasegawa as Yamitaro. In one scene Yamitaro explains that the reason he is aiding Nakamura in his quest is because he has come to feel a kinship with him as if he were his brother, again playing on the audience's knowledge that the two "brothers" are played by the same person.

Another example of how playful the film is can be seen in its cinematography. The main character is a kabuki onnagata, or a male actor who specializes in playing female roles. There are a couple of scenes in the movie that play up on this fact and shoot the movie in a fashion that provides the audience with the feeling that they are watching a kabuki play. In one example there is a swordfight in a forest. Even though the movie is made in the 1960s when it would have been very possible to have realistic looking backgrounds, the trees do not look real at all. This makes the forest in which they are fighting feel more like a theater set than an authentic landscape. During this swordfight an onlooker says to herself that it is better than watching one on a kabuki stage. Since the audience is aware of the fake scenery, the characters role as an onnagata, and some would even know that the actor himself was once an onnagata, the comment takes on a whole new life than were it an onlooker in a basic action movie watching a scene and saying, "wow that was even cooler than in the movies!" With all of these inside jokes between the actors and the film audience that the characters are not aware of, the movie becomes much more interactive and thus more enjoyable for someone looking for a fun multi-layered movie.


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