|The 47 Ronin|
Director : Kenji Mizoguchi
Starring : Yoshizaburo Arashi, Utaemon Ichikawa
The tale of the 47 Ronin (Chushingura) is the classic true story of samurai honor. In the year 1701, a young clan lord is forced to commit seppuku (ritual suicide) after being provoked into striking a court official.
His loyal followers, now "ronin" (masterless samurai), dedicate their lives to avenging him. After spending a year patiently planning their vengeance, and waiting for their target to relax his guard, they launch a furious assault on his heavily defended estate, knowing full well the penalty for failure will be the same as the reward for success - they will join their master in death!
The true story is so beloved in Japan that it has been the subject of over 80 films, as well as many books, graphic novels and TV series.
In 1941 the Japanese military commissioned director Kenji Mizoguchi (Ugetsu) to make The 47 Ronin. They wanted a ferocious morale booster based upon the familiar rekishi geki ("historical drama") of The Loyal 47 Ronin. Instead, Mizoguchi chose for his source Mayama Chûshingura, a cerebral play dealing with the story. The 47 Ronin was a commercial failure, having been released in Japan one week before the Attack on Pearl Harbor. The Japanese military and most audiences found the first part to be too serious, but the studio and Mizoguchi both regarded it as so important that Part Two was put into production, despite Part One's lukewarm reception. Renowned by postwar scholars lucky to have seen it in Japan, The 47 Ronin wasn't shown in America until the 1970s.
1941 Blk/Wht Full Screen 4:3 222 Min
Japanese with removable English, Korean, subtitles