6.8/10
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Daibosatsu tôge (1957)

Tsukue Ryunosuke is a master swordsman with an evil style, reflecting the evil in his heart.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Chiezô Kataoka ...
Kinnosuke Nakamura ...
Yumiko Hasegawa ...
Satomi Oka ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ryûtarô Aoyagi
Shinobu Araki
Koji Arima
Mitsuo Asano
Koreya Chida
Kin'nosuke Fujiki
Sumiko Hidaka ...
Otaki
Hiroshi Hitomi
Masayuki Ika
Fukuko Kanô
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Tsukue Ryunosuke is a master swordsman with an evil style, reflecting the evil in his heart.

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Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

13 July 1957 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Le passage du grand Bouddha  »

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2.35 : 1
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Version of The Sword of Doom (1966) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Nihilistic samurai
7 December 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This a portmanteau review of all three parts of Daibosatsu Tôge.

An adaptation of the first volume of a forty-one volume roman fleuve, in three parts, taking nearly six hours- and it still doesn't get everything in!

It tells the adventures- symbolically significant in Buddhism, it seems- of a nihilistic and murderous samurai, his family, his lovers and his enemies. Chiezo Katsaoka at first seems too old and too passive for the lead role, but eventually his impassive face and emotionless bass voice seem appropriate for a figure who is- partly at least- an agent of fate, rather than entirely acting by his own will. From the very opening, the ambiguity is there: an aged pilgrim prays to die before he becomes a burden on his grand-daughter and Ryunosuke kills him at once. The thief who sees the killing then dedicates his life to looking after the grand-daughter, and Ryunosuke's career of slaughter begins. Good things first: as always with Ushida there are wonderful shots; the fight scenes are powerful and Ryunosuke's own helplessness in the hands of the fates is well-conveyed. Indeed, two scenes in part two, one where Ryunosuke, now blind, kills several samurai with a flute (for some reason, no doubt symbolic, Ryunosuke is a flute virtuoso) and another where Hyoma- who pursues Ryunosuke through the films in search of revenge- kills a few with his bare hands effectively make the supernatural aspects to their nature manifest without being absurd, and another in part three where Ryunosuke and his disfigured lover emerge from a burning house and he kills a few people in an extraordinarily choreographed fight, shot in a single take, are astonishingly effective. However there are also enormous faults- the plot isn't effectively controlled or restricted- characters appear and vanish, either completely or for a couple of hours, and their fates are unexplained; indeed there are large gaps in the plot- we never learn how Ohatsu ends up in the household of the wicked lord Kamio (her aunt sold her, in fact) or how the circus acrobat escapes in his meeting with Ryunosuke. The two lords, Kamio and Makio, whose rivalry takes up quite a bit of the film just vanish when we know too much about them to accept it- indeed, when the rivalry between progress and reaction seems to have taken over as the centre of the plot; Ryunosuke's lovers get killed with tedious frequency so he can move onto the next episode; his pursuers miss him when they could deal with him; eventually, he drowns trying to rescue his son (who isn't actually in danger) from a flood, and probably evades hell as a result and it needn't have taken anything like as long. Wonderful scenes, but it just doesn't hold together.


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