The Devil's Ballad (1977)
"Akuma no temari-uta" (original title)

 |  Mystery  |  2 April 1977 (Japan)
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Kôsuke Kindaichi, a somewhat peculiar private detective, visits a remote town. He meets a police detective and they start to investigate an old unsolved murder. Then some murders happen. ... See full summary »



(screenplay) (as Kurisutei) , (novel)
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2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kôji Ishizaka ...
Keiko Kishi ...
Rika Aochi
Akiko Nishina ...
Chi'e Bessho
Kôji Kita ...
Kanao Aochi - Rika's Son
Yôko Takahashi ...
Yasuko Yura - Kanao's Girlfriend
Mitsuko Kusabue ...
Atsuko Yura - Yasuko's Mother
Hisano Yamaoka ...
Ito Izutsu
Michiko Hayashi ...
Misako Watanabe ...
Harue Bessho - Chi'e's Mother
Takeshi Katô ...
Inspector Tachibana
Hideji Ôtaki ...
Dr. Gondô
Hôan Tatara
Nobuto Okamoto ...
Police Officer Nakamura
Eiko Nagashima ...
Satoko Aochi - Rika's Daughter
Yukiko Nagano ...
Fumiko Nire


Kôsuke Kindaichi, a somewhat peculiar private detective, visits a remote town. He meets a police detective and they start to investigate an old unsolved murder. Then some murders happen. Kindaichi must find out about the past in order to reveal who the murderer is. Written by Frankie Lafferty

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

2 April 1977 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Rhyme of Vengeance  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The detective Kosuke Kindaichi was created by the novelist Seishi Yokomizu. He has appeared in about 80 novels. See more »


Features Morocco (1930) See more »


Onikobe-mura temari-uta
Music by Kunihiko Murai
Lyrics by Seishi Yokomizo
See more »

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User Reviews

Murder in a smalltown village
22 May 2011 | by (South Africa) – See all my reviews

Synopsis The story is set in 1950 Japan in a a smalltown village called Onikobe (Devil's Skull) where a private detective Kindaichi is hired by Inspector Isokawa to help a solve a 20 year old murder case. Kindaichi and Isokawa reunites after 2 years at the Kamenoyu Inn located at Onikobe. The murder that took place in Onikobe involves the death of a Mr Genjiro (murdered husband of Mrs Rika)and a swindler Ikuo Onda. Presumably Genjiro confronted Onda about his wreath swindling scheme 20 years ago where Onda clubbed Genjiro over the head after which his head landed in a nearby fireplace leaving his face unrecognizable.

PI Kindaichi and Inspector Isokawa investigation yields several difficulties in a smalltown village where a power struggle exists between two families (the Yura- and Nire-family). Upon their investigation even more murders ensue...

Review: The Devils Ballad is a masterfully made whodunnit mystery film done by Kon Ichikawa. As far as Mystery films go, this is way ahead of its time. The amount of facts and names that one must process within the first 30 minutes of the film can be a bit overwhelming so attention to detail is a definite prerequisite to enjoy The Devils Ballad. The Horror element found mainly when the murders take place or when they show the corpses surprised me very much. Theses scenes are brief but graphic,visceral and very effective...they stand well even to today's standards. The amount of comedic relief is even less brief than the graphic scenes but also effective such as PI Kindaichi's dandruff problem and Inspector Tachibana's incompetence.

The Soundtrack is a bit all over the place. It features some upbeat fusion sounds that are borderline cheesy at times. The classical folk sounds and Orchestral work makes up for that. I especially loved the sweeping Orchestral piece towards the end.

Overall the film is beautifully shot; the acting is flawless; the story and characters are intriguing...underrated gem. My only criticism is that the film drags on a little bit just before the end. Nonetheless its a great film for those into classic Mystery films. I'll definitely be checking out more of Kon Ichikawa's work.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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