1963 / Color / 2.39:1 / 113 Min. / Street Date February 20, 2018
Starring Kazuo Hasegawa
Cinematography by Setsuo Kobayashi
Written by Daisuke Itô, Teinosuke Kinugasa
Edited by Shigeo Nishida
Directed by Kon Ichikawa
From Twelfth Night to Homicidal, casting calls for cross-dressers are a Hollywood tradition. The stories are alike in their differences; Katherine Hepburn was dodging the cops, Jack Lemmon was fleeing the mob, Dustin Hoffman was just an actor begging for work. Yukitarō, the enigmatic hero of An Actor’s Revenge, is gainfully employed but his motives are far more complicated than Hoffman’s needy thespian.
The story of a female impersonator’s vengeful killing spree, Kon Ichikawa’s 1963 film boasts a plot line John Waters would surely appreciate. But where Waters revels in the high comedy of lowlifes, Ichakawa’s movie is a ravishing melodrama set in the elevated atmosphere of death-dealing samurai, 19th century Kabuki