- 241969“ Eiichi Kudo's 1969 film is the personification of the Samurai western. I have unfortunately never been able to find a print of this film, and so I have never seen it and know very little about the plot. If anyone can help me on this you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank You „
- 381964“ Assassination (or Ansatsu) marked Masahiro Shinoda's first attempt at a period film, and is widely considered to be his finest achievement. Previously gaining fame and status alongside Nagisa Oshima and Kiju Yoshida, challenging established Japanese cinema with tales of reckless youth, The Dry Lake (1960) and the seminal yakuza drama Pale Flower (1964) Shinoda graduated from Shochiku, where, like Shohei Imamura, his grounding was working as an assistant to Yasujiro Ozu.
The story of Assassination begins with the events of 1853 when "four black ships" — the foreign steamboats of Commander Matthew Perry — anchored at Edo Bay, sparking civil unrest and the major political maneuvering that saw the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate. At a time when assassination had become a disturbing political tool, Shinoda's film follows Hachiro Kiyokawa (Tetsuro Tamba), an ambitious, masterless samurai whose allegiances drift dangerously between the Shogunate and the Emperor. Filmed in richly stylish black and white 'Scope by cinematographer Masao Kosugi, Shinoda's film explores the character of Kiyokawa as he singlehandedly attempts, against a backdrop of betrayal and abrupt violence, to prevent the outbreak of civil war.
With an award-winning score by Toru Takemitsu (Pitfall, The Face of Another) and a deft, twisting narrative structure, Assassination's profound nihilism has a striking contemporary resonance which fiercely displays the director's skill and individual vision. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Assassination for the first time on home video in the West. „
- 441958“ In the Tokugawa Era, the clan of Lord Yagyu has hidden away three scrolls containing clan secrets which, if revealed, would cause revolution and disaster for the clan. The information is divided among the three scrolls, all of which must be possessed for the secrets to be understood. When Princess Yuhime steals the scrolls, Tasaburo, a samurai with magical powers, and his brother Senshiro are sent to retrieve them. In Part II, the search for the scrolls continues. Written by Jim Beaver „
- 31963“ A dangerous pact has been signed by Tadanaga, the son of Shogun Hidetada, to prevent his brother Iemitsu from becoming the third Shogun. In a time where highly skilled ninja organizations carry out secret missions, Iga Jigoza's group of seventeen ninja must find a way to infiltrate the enemy's stronghold and steal the pact from Negoro ninja Saiga Magokuro „
- 61955“ Special Forces commander Captain Tadamori returns to Kyoto after successfully defeating the uprising of pirates in the western sea of Japan. But because the high courtiers dislike career soldiers gaining power and influence, they ignore the will of ex-Emperor Toba and refuse to reward the captain. Reward recommender Lord Tokinobu is punished, and the captain sends his son Kiyomori to the Lord's residence, where he falls in love with Tokiko, the Lord's daughter. Meanwhile, Kiyomori finds out that he is possibly the ex-Emperor's son.. „
- 271960“ "Killing in Yoshiwara" a.k.a. "Yoshiwara: The Pleasure Quarter" is an enthralling glorious melodrama set in the infamous red light district of old Edo. A successful and wealthy textile industrialist from the provinces, who is beloved by his employees for his kindness, cannot find a wife because of a disfiguring birthmark on his face. Even the courtesans in Yoshiwara refuse to entertain him, until an indentured peasant prostitute, Tamarazu, takes the unsavoury assignment and treats him with brash tenderness. "The scar is not on your heart," she scoffs, and the grateful businessman falls madly in love with her, ultimately losing his fortune in the expensive quest to purchase her freedom. The lively evocation of life in Tokyo's pleasure quarters, the detailed portrait of social life, the sumptuous set and costume design, the widescreen cinematography, and the performance by frequent Uchida leading man Chiezo Kataoka are flawless. „
- 101964“ This is the story of a ‘Drifting Crow’, which is slang for a homeless wanderer, who seeks the murderer of his father, brutally cut down by an armed robber. The killer has eluded the authorities after pulling the job, leaving 5 guards dead on the side of the road. This collaboration between Raizo as star, and Misumi Kenji as director ranks as one of the most unique films that they did together. Exciting action right up to the thrilling climax „
- 281962“ Another rare gem of a movie starring the late Ichikawa Raizo as a traveling gambler who takes a job as a lumberjack in the mountains near Edo during the samurai era. When he and his Boss vie for the same woman it’s bound to lead to trouble. After a corrupt official stages a false raid of a gambling parlor, causing the players to leave their money on the table while making good their escapes, Masakichi decides to teach them a lesson which leads to more problems. When he winds up helping a young couple in peril his past comes back to haunt him. Filmed in glorious black and white, this unique story is filled with many surprises and strong swordplay „
- 291964“ A skilled assassin's services are called upon to put an end to the ugly turf battle between two yakuza families, Mitsuwa and Aikawa. With an all-star cast that not only includes two of Toei's biggest stars Otomo Ryutaro and Okawa Hashizo, but also has a special guest appearance by famed Toho actor Shimura Takashi, this is one of the more serious films from Toei Studio during the golden age of samurai films. Forced by the code of the yakuza to put one's life on the line for a Boss who offered a meal and lodging, each side manages to get hold of powerful swordsmen who will stop at nothing to pay their obligations. A truly stunning motion picture that is not to be missed „
- 301964“ During the Warring States Period, the struggle for absolute supremacy stood between two might warlords, Takeda Shingen, ruler of Shinano and Kai provinces, and Oda Nobunaga, ruler of Owari province. In an attempt to finish off his rival, Takeda sends his master ninja Chidoken to assassinate Oda Nobunaga. Three Iga ninja loyal to Nobunaga learn about the assassination plot and set out to intercept Chidoken. „
- 311969“ Branded a criminal, Okatsu's vengeance knows no bounds! In the final episode of the LEGENDS OF THE POISONOUS SEDUCTRESS series, OKATSU THE FUGITIVE, Junko Miyazono appears one final time as the legendary swordswoman, but this time seeking a corrupt merchant responsible for the death of her parents. Betrayed by her fiancé, Okatsu finds herself aided in her quest by a handsome stranger – who happens to be as handy with a sword as she is! What is the reason for his kindness, and will Okatsu be able to prevail? Whatever the end may be, the restless spirits of her murdered parents drive Okatsu along her crimson-colored road of vengeance „
- 431957“ In the Tokugawa Era, the clan of Lord Yagyu has hidden away three scrolls containing clan secrets which, if revealed, would cause revolution and disaster for the clan. The information is divided among the three scrolls, all of which must be possessed for the secrets to be understood. When Princess Yuhime steals the scrolls, Tasaburo, a samurai with magical powers, and his brother Senshiro are sent to retrieve them. Written by Jim Beaver „
- 451969“ During the Sixteenth Century, ODA Nobunaga was gaining power with his right hand man kinos**ta Tokichiro at his side. Recognizing that guns win wars, ODA tries to enlist the aid of SAIKA Magoichi, a flashy samurai with exceptional 'Yari' (Spear) skills and his troop of gunners. Powerful performances by some of Japan's greatest actors highlight this historical drama from brilliant director MISUMI Kenji. KATSU Shintaro as ODA Nobunaga matches wits with NAKAMURA Kinnosuke as Magoichi, the one man that is not afraid of him. Not widely known outside of Japan, this is a fine film with a rich tapestry of Japan and the people who united the nation „
- 461962“ Fifteen years after Ishida Mitsunari lost in the battle of Sekigahara, Tokugawa Ieyasu foresees his unavoidable battle with Toyotomi Hideyori and goes into Fushimi Castle. At the night, Hattori Hanzo, the leader of 36 Iga members who were performing as guards of the castle, perceives the existence of a ninja and captures the sneaker. Unexpectedly, the ninja turns out to be a woman, and Hanzo rapes her. Years later, when the nation is under the rule of Iemitsu, the third Tokugawa shogunate, a magician pair of a mother and her child appears in a busy area in Edo. The mother is the woman ninja, who is actually a daughter of Mitsunari. The pair of mother and son ninjas is waiting for the opportunity to take revenge. They learn the opportunity has come, hearing that Iemitsu will hold a martial arts tournament on the premises of one of his direct retainer, Mizuno Jurozaemon. The winner will be awarded with 10 swords that were captured from Toyotomi family’s ware- house. Wakakage, the son ninja, sneaks into the mansion of Ono Jirouemon, a sword instructor of the shogunate and a judge of the tournament, and copies the written proceeding of the tournament. Then, he goes back to his mother, who orders him to steal the 10 swords! One of the best old-school ninja movies, including an all-star cast and tons of cool action, not to be missed! „
- 131973“ In feudal Japan, women are vulnerable, in need of protection, and capable of deception. Jokichi of Mikogami, a drifter, has not yet fully revenged the death of his wife and son. He searches for Kunisada C**ji, who in turn has hired the knife-throwing Windmill Kobunji to kill him. Kobunji and Jokichi meet in the winter, near Sasago Pass, when both have rescued women: Jokichi has saved the lute-playing Oyae whose clan and whose lover want her dead; Kobunji has rescued Oharu, a well-born woman married to an innkeeper. Is this rescue a whim or something deeper? And why does Jokichi become the consumptive Kobunji's protector? What ultimately will Jokichi do about Oyae? Written by „
- 141965“ Toei Films presents a film like no other. This is the tale of three Yakuza gamblers who traveled Japan during the samurai era living by their wits and sword skills. Told in 3 separate vignettes, each part tells the story of a different drifter’s life. This is a superb film, with great action complemented by gripping stories.
Part 1: Starring Nakadai Tatsuya is the story of a man on the run after killing 2 Hasshu Officials to avenge his Boss. He must make a life or death decision as he is asked to protect a gang from attack.
Part 2: Starring Matsukata Hiroki and Shimura Takashi as a pair of gamblers chased out of a crooked game who must fight not only their pursuers, but the ghosts of their pasts as well.
Part 3: Starring Nakamura Kinnosuke as a wanderer who wants to live according to the Yakuza Code, but is not sure that he can do so when asked to save a town from an evil official. „
- 121972“ Thirsting for revenge, Jokichi rashly attempts to assassinate the evil Chogoro but ends up being captured by Yakuza. His life is spared by Boss Juzaburo, in order that the harmony of an important commemoration not be further disturbed. Though now even more of an outcast, Jokichi is asked by another Yakuza boss, Umezo, to guard Oyuki, the wayward daughter of Juzaburo. The tragic consequences of this assignment will lead him into a deadly trap and a final confrontation with Chogoro. „
- 161957“ It's special effects galore in the first film from noted director SAWASHIMA Tadashi,as the ninja of Koga and Iga Clans square off against each other. During the Age Of Wars (Sengoku Era), Tokugawa Ieyasu and Toyotomi Hideyoshi are vying for power and each uses their secret weapons in order to try and defeat the other. Momochi Sandayu of the Iga, along with his disciple Ishikawa Goemon are ordered by Ieyasu to assassinate Hideyoshi and get the blueprints for the hidden fortress within Osaka Castle.
Meanwhile the Koga group organizes to try and defend the castle for the peace of the nation. Beating off every trick from Sandayu,Torawakamaru protects the drawing, and when Ieyasu figures out a way to hold amatch between Koga and Iga the two masters fight the greatest ninja battle ever held. The effects are truly spectacular in this classic ninja film from Toei. It has never been released on video, and this is the first opportunity to see it in the West. „
- 111972“ Can a sinful man change and find peace? It's unlikely in gang-plagued Japan. Jokichi of Mikogami, a drifter (and hired sword), goes straight after protecting a woman in distress: they marry, have a son, and Jokichi pursues his father's craft. After three years, the gangs he embarrassed when he saved his wife find the family and leave Jokichi in grief, vowing revenge. To parry his terrible swift sword, rival gangs join forces, hiring a prostitute to pose as a woman needing help and breaking the code of honor to double cross the drifter. He finds unlikely allies: a thief who aids him for fun and a one-eyed swordsman who may be Jokichi's equal in skill and honor. A woman watches „
- 151969“ Two notorious forces in Japanese exploitation cinema before either hit their nadir. A few years later, director Ozawa was responsible for two Streetfighter films and Tomisaburo Wakayama went on to star in the Lone Wolf series. While this film doesn't rise to the questionable levels of either series, it certainly has it's moments.
Ichibei is sent by the Shogun to stop the Dutch from selling rifles to the Satsuma clan in the south. Ichibei stocks up on all his gadgets and bombs and sets out. Along the way he meets up with a cowardly ronin and a female spy who is nearly his match. We also find out he is impervious to viper venom and can turn his sword scabbard into a telescope. Intrigue and action occur as he makes his journey towards the Dutch ship carrying the armaments.
The film is tongue in cheek with obvious nods to the spy thriller and it's rather bloody. We can see glimpses of the f*ture Lone Wolf series as the overweight Tomisaburo Wakayama ably jumps, flips and slices his way thru the action scenes. There's also some pinku style woman torture for those who need this stuff. The direction is planted firmly in Japanese TV action style which sometimes is very good and other times just quickly filmed and sort of sloppy. The music is pure TV action themes and gets quite annoying unless you have an appreciation of it. The main problem with this film is that it moves at a snappy pace for the first 50 minutes and then stalls out in a number of talking samurai in discussion scenes. The last ten minutes pick up as Ichibei finally gets to the Dutch but the fun is diminished. About fifteen minutes of the film has Ichibei pose as a blind masseuse which is sort of fun since Wakayama's brother, Shintaro Katsu was playing Zatoichi at the time. This is the second film Wakayama poked fun at his more successful brother. „
- 391965“ Years of warfare end in a Japan unified under the Tokugawa shogunate, and samurai spy Sasuke Sarutobi, tired of conflict, longs for peace. When a high-ranking spy named Tatewaki Koriyama defects from the shogun to a rival clan, however, the world of swordsmen is thrown into turmoil. After Sasuke is unwittingly drawn into the conflict, he tracks Tatewaki, while a mysterious, white-hooded figure seems to hunt them both. By tale’s end, no one is who they seemed to be, and the truth is far more personal than anyone suspected. Director Masahiro Shinoda’s Samurai Spy, filled with clan intrigue, ninja spies, and multiple double crosses, marks a bold stylistic departure from swordplay film convention. „
- 471979“ Yataro Tanigawa, a one-eyed hired assassin, impresses yakuza boss Gomyo Kiyoemon with his skill. Gomyo hires Tanigawa as his bodyguard, or yojimbo, to protect him during an inter-clan conflict. Tanigawa quickly rises in stature in the clan, but finds his boss's enemies almost overwhelming. „
- 171962“ Lord Asano (Yuzo Kayama) won't bribe the corrupt Kira (Chusha Ichikawa), a court protocol expert who procedes to do everything possible to discredit the young and idealistic Lord. Asano is forced to pay a fortune to have a building's worth of floormats replaced overnight to pacify the selfish and greedy Kira, but he still won't bribe him. To make Asano grovel, Kira withholds vital protocol information for an important meeting. Finally Asano cannot bear the humiliation, loses his head, and attacks. He is subdued after only wounding the cowardly Kira. Drawing a sword within the Shogun's palace is a capital offense, and Asano's sentence is carried out with yet more protocol ending in a formal seppuku ceremony: Asano disembowels himself with a knife and is decapitated by a headsman.
Asano's fate isn't the end of grief; his estate and castle are forfeit, and his vassals, including his family and the 47 samurai who serve him, are left both destitute and dishonored, banished from royal life. Expecting the 47 to defend the castle in a renegade outlaw battle, the Shogun's agents are surprised when their leader, Kuranosuke Oishi (Koshiro Matsumoto) not only surrenders it, but does repairs first. The samurai scatter and those that settle nearby are the source of constant gossip. Are they really pacified, or do they secretly plot to get revenge against Kira for their lamented Lord Asano? How will honor be regained, and their conflicting obligations to their Lord and their Shogun be satisfied? „
- 361965“ The final showdown between the two rival swordsmen comes on Funajima Island when Musashi has to somehow find a way to defeat the 37" long sword that his arch enemy Kojiro uses for his "Swallow-tail" cut. While the clan lord who backs Kojiro plans to ambush Musashi, the time is ripe for one of Musashi’s most famous tricks, that of using an oar to defeat the extremely long sword of his arrogant foe! But how can he escape the vengeance of those who are defeated? „
- 481968“ It is a wonderful movie with the genius actor Tomisaburo Wakayama. Wakayama is extraordinary and the story of the film is very good with very emotion. It is a movie that have to be seen by all the Wakayama's fan. Shinkai, the character played bye Wakayama is closed of the famous Zatoïchi played by the brother of Wakayma the great Shintaro Katsu. And Wakayama, in his character, look very like his brother in his character of Zatoïchi. More, Wakayama him-self sing very well the songs of the film. Shinkai is the predecessor and announce the character of Ogami Itto of the Babycart's movie with his moral code, his violence and his kindness to the women and the children. „
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