In 1701, Lord Takuminokami Asano has a feud with Lord Kira and he tries to kill Kira in the corridors of the Shogun's palace. The Shogun sentences Lord Asano to commit suppuku and deprives ... See full summary »
Japan's timeless tale of honor and revenge, the Loyal 47 Ronin is the true story of group of samurai who became ronin (masterless samurai) after their Lord was forced to commit seppuku (... See full summary »
"Chushingura" is the first sound film to recount the fact-based story of the loyal 47 ronin, who avenged the enforced suicide of their master, Lord Asano. It's a solid piece of work by director Teinosuke Kinugasa ("A Page of Madness," "Crossroads," "Gate of Hell.")
The print of this film shown at MOMA was in dire need of restoration. Decomposition was evident, the sound track had gaps, and the subtitling in the first several reels was barely adequate. But after a slow and confusing start (the assault on Lord Kira by Lord Asano is told in flashback)things pick up due to Kinugasa's lively cutting and good acting, particularly by Kinuyo Tanaka as Yae-chan and Chojo Hayashi in the dual role of the impetuous Lord Asano and the youngest of the ronin, Sawaemon Yoshida.
Kinugasa's handling of the assault on Kira's residence is well done for the period. The film ends with the triumphant return of the ronin with Kira's head, which they take great pains to return to the deceased's family. Their ensuing condemnation by the Shogunate and enforced seppuku are not shown, only subtly suggested by the director. This is an interesting approach, although, for instance, Mizoguchi's full depiction of the ronins' anguish as they await their fate was quite potent.
All in all, a good film. One hopes that it will receive the restoration it so fully deserves.
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