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Sen-hime to Hideyori (1962)
Starts with a bang, but then...
I picked up this title solely due to my interest in the historical character of Toyotomi Hideyori, and for the first 20 minutes I was very impressed. The fall of Osaka castle and the rescue of Princess Sen by the character of Naomori was well shot, and set my hopes high for the rest of the movie.
Unfortunately, things drop off considerably after that.
Even excusing the pretty dramatic departures from historical fact that most people won't care about or even notice, the main problem with the film is the lack of any likable character. Once Princess Sen starts her killing spree to defame the Tokugawa house, Hideyori and Naomori become the only two characters worth caring about, and both characters are killed off by about the 40 minute mark.
You are supposed to sympathise with Princess Sen's situation, but I think both Misora Hibari and the script she had to work with did a little *too* good a job at turning the character in to a monster.
Not really worth the price of admission I'm afraid, even with the impressive opening sequence.
I caught the beginning of this movie late one night while flicking channels and found myself unable to stop watching the story revolves around a young man who moves in to an apartment with his pregnant girlfriend. Across the hall from him lives an old man who invites him over for dinner, however the young man declines several times before finally conceding. He joins the old man for dinner, and quickly discovers that the old man is insane (he sits a mannequin at the dinner table, telling the young man that it's his wife). When he tries to leave however, the old man knocks him unconscious and locks him in a secret compartment. The rest of the film details the efforts of the young man to keep his sanity and escape, and the ever-increasing cruelty of the old man.
Overall, I really enjoyed the film. The level of cruelty served out by the lonely old man is bone-chilling, but even so you can't help but feel a little sorry for the old man as all he really wants is some company.
**** out of *****
A very good early horror film, & I wish reviewers would be more careful
This is, currently, the only silent movie I have ever seen, and I was unsure how I'd take it. I had heard a lot about this movie and was expecting big things, and I must say I was impressed.
The only major complain I have is that, as with many older classics, I read a review of it prior to buying in which the reviewer gave WAY too much away (the ending sequence, namely).. this has happened to me far too many times. I really wish reviewers wouldn't assume that everyone has already seen the movies they are reviewing, just because they are 'classics'. It really dampened my experience with the ending of both this movie, and The Man with X-Ray Eyes, just to name a few.
Anywho, the version I saw (the Kino remaster) was great. The picture quality was about as good as you could expect from a film more than 80 years old. The score was very good, maybe a tad repetitive, but it suit the film. The acting is quite good, very reminiscant of the acting style from the mid-to-early 20th century.
The scare factor? Well, probably not much these days. The Jewish ghetto is very well constructed, and really suits the setting. The golem himself is not so scary, more goofy to me, but to people in 1920, I can imagine he could have been quite scary. This is more of an 'interest' movie, than an all-out scare fest. You can really see where so many of the great horror/scare films over the years got their ideas from after seeing early films such as this.
I would definately recommend everyone who is interested in horror to track it down. Don't be put off by the fact that it's a silent film, it took all of 20 seconds for me to forget that completely, and to just enjoy the film.