7.7/10
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Lady Snowblood (1973)

Shurayukihime (original title)
A young girl is born and raised to be an instrument of revenge.

Director:

Toshiya Fujita

Writers:

Kazuo Kamimura (story), Kazuo Koike (story) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Meiko Kaji ... Yuki Kashima (Shurayuki-hime)
Toshio Kurosawa Toshio Kurosawa ... Ryûrei Ashio
Masaaki Daimon Masaaki Daimon ... Gô Kashima
Miyoko Akaza Miyoko Akaza ... Sayo Kashima
Shinichi Uchida Shinichi Uchida ... Shirô Kashima
Takeo Chii Takeo Chii ... Tokuichi Shôkei
Noboru Nakaya Noboru Nakaya ... Banzô Takemura
Yoshiko Nakada Yoshiko Nakada ... Kobue Takemura
Akemi Negishi ... Tajire no Okiku
Kaoru Kusuda Kaoru Kusuda ... Otora Mikazuki
Sanae Nakahara Sanae Nakahara ... Kitahama, Okono
Hôsei Komatsu Hôsei Komatsu ... Genzô Shibayama
Makoto Matsuzaki Makoto Matsuzaki ... Daikashi
Hiroshi Hasegawa Hiroshi Hasegawa ... Daihachi Kachime
Takehiko Ono 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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Action | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese | English

Release Date:

1 December 1973 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Lady Snowblood See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Toho Film (Eiga) Co. Ltd. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Meiko Kaji was originally supposed to say the word "tears" at the end, but this line was ultimately cut from the film. See more »

Goofs

The revolver that Gishiro fires at Yuki is a Webley, which is capable of holding but six rounds. Gishiro fired 7 rounds without reloading. See more »

Quotes

Yuki Kashima: Look at me closely. Do I look like someone you raped?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ban the Sadist Videos! Part 2 (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Waves of the Danube
(uncredited)
Music by Ion Ivanovici
See more »

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User Reviews

Super-entertaining female revenge flick
7 November 2014 | by mevmijaumauSee 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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