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元禄 忠臣蔵 1941
Description: In 1701, King Takuminokami Asano has a feud with King Kira and he tries to slay Kira in the corridors of the Shogun's palace. The Shogun sentences King Asano to commit suppuku and deprives the palace and lands from his clan, but does not punish King Kira. King Asano's vassals leave the land and his samurais become ronin and wish to seek revenge vs the dishonor of their Lord. But their leader Kuranosuke Oishi asks the Shogun to restore the Asano guild with his brother Daigaku Asano. One year later, the Shogun refuses his request and Oishi and forty-six ronin revenge their Lord.
Released: 01 Mar 1979 Director: Kenji Mizoguchi Writers: Kenichiro Hara (screenplay), Seika Mayama (play), Yoshikata Yoda (screenplay) Actors: Chôjûrô Kawarasaki, Kan'emon Nakamura, Kunitarô Kawarazaki, Yoshizaburo Arashi Genres: Action, Drama, History
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元禄 忠臣蔵 Reviews:

I saw this movie on the large screen when it was screened at a local theatre last summer. Needless to say, I went alone for this 3h40min marathon - I should not coax my wife to come! The "47 Ronin" is an epic movie about this legendary Japanese storyline about how 47 masterless samurai plot to avenge their Lord's death. I won't expand on the plot here, but if you Google the subject or go to Wikipedia, it's a really fascinating story.That this movie is not for everyone is an understatement. It is slow moving, monumentally long and requires a lot of patience. But, the viewer is rewarded with incredibly genuine acting, pretty and poetically shot scenes, and in the context of when the movie was made, a window into WWII-era Japan. Saying to the wartime era this movie was made in, the credits at the beginning of every Part give credit to the "Propaganda Department" (English translation).Also poignant and disturbing, is the very serious and thoughtful portrayal of the Japanese practice of seppuku, or ritual suicide by slicing the stomach until the bowels spill out, then decapitation by a skilled swordsman.Overall, I'm very glad I saw it - and would suggest it to others interested in this story. It's one of those films that you only need to see once though.


This storyline is a retelling of the popular Ako Vendetta of 1702 when 46 boys + 1 honorary member, stormed into King Kira Kouzukenosuke's Edo mansion slaying him as an act of vengeance for their King Asano Takuminokami. Although not all of the features are known specifically about the current happening aside from a handful of eye-witness accounts, I felt that this film does not do it justice and is far from being Mizoguchi's greatest work. Unlike another stories based on the Ako Vendetta such as Inagaki's "Chushingura hana no maki, yuki no maki" (2 parts), and even the puppet enjoy "Kanadehon Chuushingura" from the mid 1700s, (still preformed today) this movie does not place enough emphasis on why King Asano had assaulted King Kira and instead puts its focus entirely on the loyalty of the 47 involved ronin. The movie relies entirely on loyalty without question and never brings into enjoy the morality of the vengeance or the justification of the avenged. Essentially what we are seeing is a typical war-time movie where the focus is on its propaganda. Soon films, such as Inagaki's aforementioned work, spends more time on portraying King Kira as a villain, thus justifying the act of vengeance. However, that does not harm the film, it now enhances it. Understanding that this movie is the effect of the Japanese government's interference with the war-time movie industry allows you to look at it in a fully various light.If you are looking for an accurate portrayal of the Ako Vendetta, you will not search it here. The movie is long winded and dry, despite having some of the most convincing and impressive acting ever. If you can place aside its near 4 hour length and objectively look into its war-time mentality, I search that watching this movie can be a rewarding look into Japan's history. You can search an old story, retold, and transfixed with WWII ideals.


Yes, the pace is slow, yes the film is long; especially to our eyes used to modern (?) movie-making of the newest years that knows only two rhythms, ultra-fast and ultra-ultra-fast. Yet the storyline of those 47 ronins, at least for those of us patient enough to enter it, to allow themselves flow into it, is all in all very interesting and tells a lot about 18th-century Japan. This film is remarkably well constructed and acted and while the rhythm is slow, it is also implacable : the nice side of having a slow rhythm is that you can eventually accelerate, something that ultra-fast doesn't allow.But most of all, I notice this : for a movie that was supposed to take zone into a war-propaganda effort, I do search this tribute to the traditional virtues of the Japanese fighter to be remarkably sober in tone and almost fully devoid of any rhetoric. So, I am not at all surprised to learn that it was a commercial insuccess when it was released in 1941 Japan : for the spirit and inspiration of 'The 47 Ronins' are much too elevated to fit the ultranationalist hysteria of the times.



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