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Lady Snowblood (1973)

Shurayukihime (original title)
Not Rated | | Action, Drama, Thriller | 1 December 1973 (Japan)
A young girl is born and raised to be an instrument of revenge.

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Writers:

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Director: Toshiya Fujita
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After spending a year in solitary confinement, Matsu escapes from prison with six more convicts, followed by the guards led by the vengeful warden who wants her dead at all costs.

Director: Shun'ya Itô
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Toshio Kurosawa ...
Masaaki Daimon ...
Gô Kashima
Miyoko Akaza ...
Sayo Kashima
Shinichi Uchida ...
Shirô Kashima
Takeo Chii ...
Tokuichi Shôkei
Noboru Nakaya ...
Banzô Takemura
Yoshiko Nakada ...
Kobue Takemura
...
Tajire no Okiku
Kaoru Kusuda ...
Otora Mikazuki
Sanae Nakahara ...
Kitahama, Okono
Hôsei Komatsu ...
Genzô Shibayama
Makoto Matsuzaki ...
Daikashi
Hiroshi Hasegawa ...
Daihachi Kachime
Takehiko Ono ...
(as Susumu Kuroki)
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Storyline

Yuki's family is nearly wiped out before she is born due to the machinations of a band of criminals. These criminals kidnap and brutalize her mother but leave her alive. Later her mother ends up in prison with only revenge to keep her alive. She creates an instrument for this revenge by purposefully getting pregnant. Though she dies in childbirth, she makes sure that the child will be raised as an assassin to kill the criminals who destroyed her family. Young Yuki never knows the love of a family but only killing and revenge. Written by Fred Cabral <ftcabral@hotmail.com>

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Genres:

Action | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

1 December 1973 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Lady Snowblood  »

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2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The role of Yuki Kashima was specifically written for Meiko Kaji to play. See more »

Goofs

This is set in the 19th century but, at the party in the final act, the Pakistani flag is amongst those on display. Pakistan only became an independent state in 1947. The flag of Australia is also present, although the Australian flag was first flown in 1901. See more »

Quotes

Yuki Kashima: Look at med closely. Do I look like someone you raped?
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Connections

Referenced in Horror Business (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Shura no Hana
Sung by Meiko Kaji
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User Reviews

 
Super-entertaining female revenge flick
7 November 2014 | by (Croatia) – See all my reviews

Toshiya Fujita's Lady Snowblood, (based on the manga of the same name) starring Meiko Kaji, is now most commonly known as the film that inspired Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill movies. Tarantino is a notorious copycat, but I frankly don't find that to be a big deal, I mean other filmmakers like Stanley Kubrick copied from other films all the time yet nobody has a problem with that.

Kill Bill lifted many elements from Lady Snowblood; the female revenge plot with four main villains (the one played by Lucy Liu is even inspired by Shurayuki), battles on snowy fields, fountains of watery blood, fights with the female villain's henchmen, an animated sequence (in LS it's a series of scenes from the manga because I assume the budget was too low for an animated scene), the protagonist killing a girl's parent, division into chapters, some of the music which was plain borrowed, and the non-linear chronology. I actually prefer Lady Snowblood to Kill Bill because it has a far more absorbing atmosphere, which is one of the most important things for a movie to have as I see it.

Lady Snowblood is divided into four chapters and dramatically narrated by some anonymous. Surprisingly enough, the camera-work is just brilliant for an exploitation film. There are many interesting techniques, like zooming in on a stair-ascending character's partially obscured face in the background and then focusing on her as soon as she appears on the others' level, or suddenly zooming out of the scene high into the sky. The color cinematography and costume work are all very memorable.

The bloody scenes have the usual fire hydrant-like blood fountains common in many samurai films at the time, I mean that's just classic, I can't believe some people are having problems with that. The over-the-top acting also isn't a nuisance, it's a lovable exploitation film trope that just makes the movie better. Meiko Kaji is great both in the leading role and on the film's soundtrack; the main song Shura no hana (translated by Tarantino as The Flower of Carnage) is amazing, probably one of the best movie character theme songs I've heard so far.

Lady Snowblood also has a sequel by the same director, a Hong Kong remake, as well as a sci-fi re-imagining which came out years later. But yeah, sadly it's most famous for being an inspiration to Tarantino, which is unfortunate because it's a great film on its own, a masterpiece in its own genre - highly entertaining, dark and colorful. Be sure to check it out.

9,5/10


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