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  • I first saw this very great film in the fall of 1965 when I started as a freshman at Cal. It had been playing at a local art house for ELEVEN months and, it being Berkeley, people were picketing to demand a new movie! I was lucky to have the chance to see it three times before it finally closed six weeks later. At the time, I thought it was UNDOUBTEDLY the greatest movie ever made, or ever likely to be.

    Six years later, I had a second encounter with "Chushingura" when it was revived at an art house in San Francisco. A group of friends and I attended a showing where we were the only Caucasians in attendance -- EVERYONE ELSE in this 200+ seat cinema appeared to be Japanese or Japanese-American. It being the early '70s in the Bay Area, we had fully prepared ourselves to maximally enjoy the sheer visual beauties of this film. Sure enough, it was gorgeous, and we all muttered "wow" either singly and in chorus as we wallowed in the cinematographic feast.

    But the stunning thing, to me, was the response of the Japanese/ Japanese-American audience. Utterly quiet throughout the movie, when the lights went up most of them had tears streaming down their cheeks --no vocal crying, mind you, just the overwhelming emotional response to a peak, deeply moving experience. I really envied them their cultural insight into the profoundly Japanese issues this masterpiece explores, something which as much as I admire "Chushingura" I must admit that as a Westerner I don't entirely comprehend.

    The story is described elsewhere, so I'll focus first on the unparalleled BEAUTY of this movie. It is simply the most gorgeous thing ever committed to celluloid. Every single frame is like a perfect work of art, a series of superbly imagined Japanese images of nature and humanity which engulf your senses in endless, exquisite splendor. Next, "Chushingura" has stupendous pacing -- the shifts between tension and serenity, between lyricism and violence are expertly crafted, and the movie flows, sometimes majestically and sometimes in terrifying haste, to its incredibly exciting climax and compellingly tragic denouement. Finally, "Chushingura" explores deep themes of honor and loyalty, retribution and atonement, that may not resonate fully with a Western audience, but which nevertheless inspire awe and an enhanced curiosity about the culture and people that produced and are molded by them -- the culture that created this unforgettable cinematic masterwork.

    Is "Chushingura" UNDOUBTEDLY the great movie ever? Maybe not, but it's definitely in the running with only a handful of other films for that exalted position.
  • pmc7715 March 2005
    I have actually seen this film several times because it was my college boyfriend's favorite movie and I was dragged to the local art house to see it 5 times. But I have to say I found something new in it each time. While I agree with the previous reviewer that it can be confusing, the story is legendary in Japan and the film makers didn't feel the need to explain elements the Japanese audience would be familiar with. I suggest a second viewing will make it more coherent. I have yet to see a more recent samurai/martial arts film match the suspense and beauty of the snow scene or the heartbreak at the end of the first half. It is a visually rich and rewarding movie experience.
  • barleeku14 December 2005
    I first saw Chushingara in 1972 in Boulder, Colorado on the CU campus. I racked up 3 additional viewings in the next couple of years, one at Boston's Park Square Cinema, long gone and lamented. The Park Square often showed Japanese films and I saw the Samurai Trilogy there as well as some of the other classics. I've since seen in again in theaters and now have the video. I was struck, reading some of the other viewer comments, by how many people felt exactly as I did, remembering each viewing as though it were a superb meal to be savored the rest of our lives, rather than simply "seeing a great film". The other comments articulate the reasons why quite well, but I'll add my two cents. Aside from being perhaps the most gorgeous film ever made, its beauty is integral to the psychological mood of heroism intensified by each moment's transience and each life's fragility. The great trial and seppuku scene, framed by that stunningly beautiful music and the equally intense cherry blossoms, stands as one of the most concise statements of life's tragic beauty as well, of course, as the soul of Bushido. The course of action pursued by Chamberlain Oishi creates the emotional hook and the humorous scenes, highlighted by Toshiro Mifune's wonderful character, keep things barreling along. In the end, though, it is the whole package - the stunning sets, many of them modeled fairly closely on classic Japanese woodcuts; the brilliant acting and direction; the loving detail of so many aspects of Japanese culture; the unfolding of justice; the close relationships and their exacting depiction; the revelation of a code that is so alien to anything in contemporary western life; the self-conscious gamble to make this film a cultural monument that breathes life; and of course, the final battle - wow! - certainly one of the greatest movies ever made. It is a shame that it is not more accessible on the large screen - the bigger the better - but as it sustains multiple viewings, see it on video anyway - it's worth it and you can always watch it again.
  • "Chushingura" retells the famous story of Lord Asano's loyal men in a way uncommon to most historical dramas. Not only does it give the account in wonderful detail, incorporating a great many historical characters (though, as has been said, they can be hard to keep track of), but it is also a wonderfully beautiful and emotional film.

    The cinematography is fantastic. Colors are put to good use and set up a wonderful atmosphere; it is a shame that the only DVD release of this film available in the United States is of such poor quality that much of the effect is lost. Akira Ifukube's score is, as usual, magnificent and adds as much mood and atmosphere to the film as the beautiful photography. Many of Toho's great actors are present here and do a commendable job of portraying the vast array of characters. The classic story is told with great emotion as well as attention to detail, and the pacing never slips. There are also many interesting transitions from scene to scene, set up in such a way that a scene often appears at first to be part of the one before it.

    A terrific movie. Recommended for all who are interested in this most memorable part of Japanese history and/or dazzling cinematic beauty.
  • In 1962, Toho Ltd. released "Chuchingura" as an anniversary piece. At nearly four hours' length, it almost requires a devotion to Japanese cinema and the culture's many nuances to appreciate. But it is exquisitely filmed in Toho Vision, right down to the fluttering cherry blossoms and snow tumbling from trees, and the costumes, sets and makeup win my awards for best I've seen from Tokyo. Having been to Japan and studied Japanese literature and language in the '60s, it was fairly easy for me to get into the story. Indeed, it has been written about many times, and anyone who has read one of the stories should be able to follow the plot. Like many epic films, it begins to bog down in the center, as the ronin go their separate ways and take up all matters of industry and living conditions, fall in love or not, waiting for the day of retribution. We are led up to that point with the unfolding of the drama behind the story. The fast-paced conclusion brings it all together and ends, rather abruptly I thought, with a narrative about what happens once the deed was fulfilled. It's a story of loyalty and courage to the nth degree. The bushido code is one of Japan's most revered cultural elements and it is celebrated here. If you can tolerate the length, the film is definitely worth a look, if for no other reason than to understand more about what the Japanese samurai life in the 18th and 19th centuries was like.
  • There is not much more that I can add to Michael Stephens' review. As the film closed, I, too, had tears running down my face in awe of what had transpired, not only because of the greatness of this film, but the courage and loyalty of the men and women depicted in this magnificent story.

    I am a Caucasian American, but I have a deep love for Asian culture, especially the Japanese culture, so I have a little insight to their way of thinking. I agree with Michael that many Americans will not be able to completely identify with certain events in the film. Nevertheless, you must have a heart of stone if you cannot feel SOMETHING for what happens in the film.

    Yes, this is a long movie, but I found I wanted more. The story, the acting, directing, EVERYTHING was MAGNIFICENT!!! And, of course, there was TOSHIRO MIFUNE, brilliant as always even in this limited role. If you are a fan of Japanese cinema, you will see MANY familiar faces. And, to top it off, the music was composed by the GREAT Akira Ifukube.

    My only complaint is the DVD. As beautiful as this print is, it still looks like it needs to be restored. I can't imagine how wonderful that would look!! Also, some extras like a short background story would be helpful to those that have no real knowledge of Japanese history. I CANNOT recommend this film enough!!
  • It is unfortunate, to say the least, that the original 1962 incredibly loving critiques are no longer in print regarding the true nature of the origin, history and creation of this film. When I first saw it in 1963 (at the Castro, I believe, in S.F.) there was a lengthy story "blown up" on display board in the entryway. This film was a one-of-a- kind deliberate and heartfelt "gift to the world", created by a group of Japanese artists using film as their medium. This particular film was a reflection of what happened in the hearts of sentient Japanese artists AFTER Japan's defeat in WWII. Out of profound dignity they crafted this film to tell of the truest, deepest beauty of their culture, revealing it through the vulnerable opening of their hearts and sharing the story of the true Japan. In a manner similar to "The Passion" of our time, there was always a great historical purpose to this gift -- not merely a commercial undertaking. Thus, I believe the HISTORY of this film holds an even more noble place than the film itself, which happens to be a masterpiece painted with the love of its creators.
  • This is one of my favorite stories and this film does it great justice. It is a "must". Check it out! The acting is very good, as is the "staging" of action. The gamut of emotions is wide. The story develops is a slow, inevitable, and suspenseful way --- even if one actually knows the ending beforehand. The motivations of the characters are clear. Their internal conflicts between duty, pride and sorrow, on the one hand, and the desire for a normal life, on the other, are strongly portrayed --- as are their nostalgia and sense of loss. The interesting quality of this story is that there is no one protagonist: All of the characters must take part. It is easy to see how the story has remained so popular for about 300 years. To my mind, however, this film is not quite as visually "beautiful" as the black and white "47 Ronin" that was made in 1940, I believe. Check it out!
  • "Chushingura" offers one of the screen's finest and most powerful depictions of the personal qualities of integrity, loyalty, and personal sacrifice. This exquisite-looking film, photographed in rich color for the wide screen, is much more compelling than Mizoguchi's rather stolid WWII era telling of the oft-filmed story of the loyal 47 ronin. Although this one might have benefitted from slight trimming in the middle, it largely holds the interest for more than three hours and ends with a final showdown that's one of the most exciting ever filmed. Its release in the West on video should go far in increasing the underrated director Inagaki's reputation. This, and Masaki Kobayashi's "Harakiri," also released in 1962, are two of the greatest films made in Japan.
  • Inagaki's Chushingura is a big-screen film. The colours are vivid, the composition meticulous, and the various characters disappear for long periods requiring concentration to remember who's who. Modern audiences used to more nuanced characters in period pieces (such as The Assassination of Jesse James, or Twilight Samurai) might find this straight telling of the tale in undiluted terms slightly twee. Indeed, Chusha Ichikawa as the villain Kira is the film's major flaw, a pantomime villain, lecherous and mean-spirited, who seems to be mugging it up for people in the back row. Dated characterisation aside, the telling of this tale earns your tears at the end as the worthy assailants troop off to Edo castle to meet their unhappy destiny, the actual moment of seppuku relegated to a final credit-roll.

    More modern renditions of Chushingura have focused on the inner human conflict, the lovers thwarted by demands of loyalty and honour. Inagaki unashamedly keeps his narrative on surface events, preferring to wow the audience with scale and spectacle. Japanese audiences come to the film the way Brits come to the tale of Robin Hood, with an inner template of longing for values cherished but long gone. Their eyes are already moist in the ticket queue. Western audiences less familiar with the tale of the 47 ronin might get a little lost in the narrative, but the pace of events and elegiac sense of living a life for a higher purpose is conveyed to universal appeal. Excellent music score.
  • Chushingura (47 Samurai) is director Hiroshi Inagaki's '60s big budget vision of the mythicized historical event that occurred at the beginning of the 18th century, about a lord being forced to commit harakiri after offending another, high ranking Edo lord, named Kira. After the former's death, his 47 vassals begin plotting a revenge against Kira, and after killing him, they're forced to commit ritual suicide themselves in order to reclaim their honor. The story has a legendary status in Japan, and has been adapted to film too many times to count.

    Inagaki's version is a color period piece with 3+ hours of runtime, in style and execution very similar to the period films you'd usually see from Hollywood. Unfortunately, this also means that the director's personal touch is barely felt and the movie is very conventional within the boundaries of period films. It's divided into two parts; Blossoms and Snow, has an interesting traditional soundtrack (which almost amounts to Godzilla's theme near the climax) and stars many famous Japanese actors, like Takashi Shimura, Setsuko Hara (in her final role), and Toshiro Mifune, who's supposed to be the selling point but in actuality has little screen time.

    The movie's pace is not really well thought out, in my opinion. The build-up takes ages, and while the 20-minute climactic action sequence is sort of satisfying, the rest of the film is too long, focusing on some irrelevant stuff, and overall, it doesn't feel like it'll ever amount to something, it just stagnates in boredom, without ever raising tension. The characters are too numerous, hard to keep track of, and mostly uninteresting. Besides some rudimentary romance subplots, the character of Kira is like a comic book villain, even going as far as bluntly saying two or three times that all he cares about is sex and money.

    One good thing about this snoozefest, however, is the cinematography. Although the transfer isn't perfect, the traditional Japanese visual tone reserved for jidaigeki films is present in all of its colorful glory. Utilization of indoor space, multicolored clothing and interiors, as well as some nice panoramas, make the movie at the very least pretty to look at.

    3 hours and 20 minutes is way too much time for the story to unfold, and most of the screen time is spent on tedium. However, it's not completely bad because the final fight scene (more like, the only fight scene) and the visuals save it from being a colossal disaster.
  • This story of the 47 loyal ronin (ronin is a Japanese word for a master-less samurai) is based on actual events that took place in 1701 and 1702--although some of the exact details are uncertain (including the actual number) . What is certain is that a feudal lord attempted to murder on of the Shogun's trusted men in one of the royal castles. As a result, the attempted murderer was ordered to commit ritual suicide and his retainers (now ronin) vowed revenge on the man almost killed. What the exact insult was is lost to history, but the tale is considered a classic and most Japanese people are very familiar with it.

    It would have a very hard time giving any version of this story a 10 because there are so very many that you can't give them anything for originality. According to IMDb, on Japanese TV alone, something like a dozen different versions were made just during one decade! And, as far as movies go, there are also quite a few. I've seen the classic 1941 version and found it to be very, very different from CHUSHINGURA because it was much more nationalistic and seemed, at times, like wartime propaganda (albeit, very good propaganda) AND because the film was much more fast-moving--skipping much of the setup that you find in this remake. In other words, in 1941, the insult and the attempted murder take place very early into the film and here in 1962, it doesn't occur until about an hour into the film. In fact, while an amazingly well made film, CHUSHINGURA is perhaps too deliberately paced and could have used an edit. While I like very long films, this one just wasn't paced well enough to merit its 3-1/2 hour running time. At 2-1/2 or 3 hours, it would have played better.

    As for the acting, sets and everything else about the film, it was all first-rate. The film was obviously a prestige film and as a consequence was filmed in lovely full-color. In fact, other than the pacing and ubiquity of the plot, it's a very well made and interesting film--probably even more so in Japan, where it's a beloved tale illustrating loyalty and honor.

    Finally, it should be noted that although ToshirĂ´ Mifune is shown on the DVD art and all the pictures here on IMDb, his role is very small and this is definitely a film with a large ensemble cast--not a Mifune film per se. His fans might be disappointed by this and you might want to consider this before you watch.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    For centuries, the story upon which this film is based has been extremely popular in Japan but little-known in the wider world. The 1962 movie "Chushingura" is the most famous of literally dozens of cinematographic retellings. It focuses on some of the individual samurai who set out to avenge their dead lord. The character work is quite good, especially for some of the younger samurai whose romantic entanglements make them question their commitment to their suicidal pact. The film takes a long time to build to its climax, and a full appreciation of its nuances may require some preexisting knowledge of Japanese history and culture. Despite being the only actor depicted on the usual poster, Toshiro Mifune has a very minor role, though it is an intriguing one.
  • plinkster16 January 2005
    Fantastic telling of the classic Japanese tale of the 47 Ronin. Very good camera work and quality. Great costumes and scenery as well. I was spellbound throughout the entire movie which is very long by the way. In the review it was stated there was great samurai swordplay but there really was very minimal swordplay and it wasn't even all that good. This certainly is no complaint as I feel it was one of the finest classical Asian movies I have seen. It seems to a be a fair representation of samurai culture and has some very good lessons in Japanese traditions and cultural expectations. The main thing I liked about it was the setting up of the plot .. it wasn't just an action thriller type of flick ... it had numerous twists and turns with a lot of dialogue that always seemed to lead somewhere unexpected.
  • The Japanese Classic epic. (I've heard it referred to as the Japanese "Gone with the Wind" in terms of impact.) Not for all tastes, but easily one of the greatest movies of all time. Played the American art houses briefly when it came out, in the early 60's, and 35 years later I bought a DVD player just so I could see this movie again. It held up well to my memory of originally coming out of it totally stunned, and is actually better than my memory of it. At the time I was impressed with the historical spectacle and fight scenes , but they are minor compared to the character development and total visuals.

    The director, Hiroshi Inagaki has had few releases in the US, but if you like Kurosawa, rent or buy this DVD. The transfer is excellent, the color amazing for the period. Long and slow by today's formulas, but if you give it the full 207 minutes, you will find yourself coming back multiple times.

    A 1962 "Crouching Tiger..."
  • Gorgeous color, magnificent scenery, superb acting, a classic story from the history of Japan, what more could a movie have that you would want? Even though you have to read the subtitles, the grandeur of the movie captivates you so that you forget that you are reading - you begin to hear the actors in English. I have seen this movie (the four hour version) six times and would go to see it again whenever I know that it is playing. It is hard to say that one of the actors is better than another - they all do their part to make this a movie worth seeing time and time again. The only other movie I would put in the same class is 2001, but of course I am a science fiction fan.
  • I know this movie has a good reputation in the world of movie cinema, a story about a young lord who attempts to combat the corruption to the Shogunate, only to be placed in an impossible conflict of duties. To obey the Shogun, they must follow orders, but to be loyal to their master, they must revenge his untimely death.

    I wanted to watch this film for the fact that a lot of well-known actors and actresses from Japan were in it including Toshiro Mifune, Yosuke Natsuki, Eisei Amamoto, Hiroshi Koizumi, Kenji Sahara, Tadao Takashima, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Takeshi Shimura, Yuriko Hoshi, Kumi Mizuno, Yumi Shirakawa and Mie Hama. However, this film was difficult to follow and comprehend due to the numerous appearances of its many characters (some on screen for only 10 seconds). This results in the plot and relevance of the story challenging to understand.

    Also, this movie dragged on and, even though it's a drama, it would have been nice to see some light humor and spirit. The saving grace of the film was Akira Ifukube's music score, especially the palace invasion music towards the climax of the film. The action was great and the sceneries and artwork were also superb. But overall, a pretty dreary movie.

    Grade D+
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I just finished seeing this movie for the second time last night. Running time 3+ hours. I am one for Japanise history and love Samurai movies. This movie tells the true story of the 47 Ronni who took revenge for their Lord (Asano) being shamed and dishonored subjected to Harakiri. Many side plots which actually make the film go on for maybe 30-40 minutes too long. From what i read in histories and legends of Samurai, the revenge factor and also the fact that it takes place a year later actually cause more dishonor. That the Lord Kiri might of died from old age of even sickness would of made their revenge a moot point. That these Ronni didn't really understand what it meant to be a true Samurai. I loved the movie, but what moves me is all the angles which honor dishonor is displayed. A big downer was Toshiro Mifune had such a small roll. I actually bought the movie cause he was on the front cover. This is one of the best movies to discuss about Samurai honor and dishonor, as from what i read after the act happened these 47 Ronin were considered heroes by many.
  • I have in my possession every Japanese samurai movie available on DVD in the UK. Sadly this one is not available in the UK, but I have seen it many times. This is the 1962 version of the movie and is a timeless story.

    The 2 parts of the movie can be summed up separately.

    Part 1 is all about the etiquette within the upper levels of samurai households, with all of the right and wrong things that can be done. It is truly beautiful and splendid in its presentation and epic scale. The formalities of the houses are fantastic.

    Part 2 is all about how the 47 Loyal Samurai of Lord Asano take revenge and bid their time for this to happy. Some great fight scenes and plots
  • I consider this to be the greatest almost-unknown film of all time. I haven't seen it in 40 years, yet I can still remember scenes from it!

    It played in a theater in Berkeley CA for 1 or 2 years straight, around 1964, and I saw it twice at that theater.

    The story is based on a classic Japanese legend, so that there are many different movie versions - but as far as I've heard, this is the best.

    I have no idea where to find a vhs or dvd copy at this time... perhaps someone reading this knows.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    ***May contain some spoilers***

    I remember seeing this movie back in the 1980's in San Jose, Calif. I personally think this is a very well-made movie. However, some IMDb commentators wrote some negative comments about this movie. I understand and do not blame their lack of full appreciation of this movie. This is a very, very Japanese movie. The movie was based on a series of actual events which took place in the 1700's in Japan and is very familiar to most Japanese. Director Inagaki made this movie for Japanese audience who are familiar with these 18th century events. Moreover, the full meaning of this movie can be understood only by people who are familiar with the classical Japanese play "Kanadehon Chushingura." Inagaki's movie is an abridged version of "Kanadehon Chushingura." This play is an extremely long Kabuki drama written in the 18th century. It takes days to perform it from the beginning to the end. (No wonder this movie is four hours long.) Even in Japan, only the most experienced connoisseurs of Kabuki theater can understand all the subtle nuances in this gargantuan play. Fully appreciating "Kanadehon Chushingura" is comparable to a passionate fan of Richard Wagner's "Ring of Niebelungen" appreciating the subtlety of Wagner's use of various leitmotifs or Tolkien connoisseurs appreciating the complexity and richness of Tolkien's fantasy world in "Lord of the Ring."

    The creators of "Kanadehon" depicted hundred of characters in the play and wrote complex plots and subplots for them. The main plot of the play (47 masterless samurais assassinating an ex-shogunate official as an act of vengeance) was historically based but many of the other minor plots are purely fictional. The plots and subplots are typically Japanese--very sentimental and melodramatic. Many Japanese still consider this act of vengeance by the 47 samurais as an exemplary act of loyalty and self-sacrifice. It is very difficult for non-Japanese audience, who are not very familiar with the play or the historical events on which the play and movie was based, to fully appreciate the subtlety and aesthetics of this movie. (By the way, a character in a recent movie "Ronin" mentions this historical event. However, his statement is filled with historical inaccuracies.)

    If somebody is looking for thrilling sword plays, forget about this movie. The emotion of the characters and the sentimentalism, which build to the climatic sword fight at the end of the movie, are the crux of the movie. Sword fighting at the end of the movie is merely secondary in this movie.

    Even though this movie is excellently made, it may not be for everyone. It is definitely an acquired taste.
  • I read the old play in an Asian History class in college some quarter-century ago, so I don't remember a lot of the "classic" plot. So I came to this movie almost cold, only knowing that there were 47 masterless samurai bound to avenge their master. This no doubt colored my view of the pacing, which to my mind took a very long time to get to the point where the young Daimyo Asano was provoked into his fatal breach of protocol.

    I thought that the villain, Lord Kino, was painted awfully black, a shameless greedhead and womanizer and a coward to boot, as well as playing petty personal politics. Since it had been so long since I read the play, I don't know whether the traditional portrayal of this character is quite as one-sided as here, or whether he is traditionally portrayed as believing himself to have been morally in the right, rather than merely self-serving. Portraying Kino as believing he was himself an honorable man would have made the young Daimyo's choice between defending his personal honor, and violating formal protocol, more poignant. Thus the ronin's own dilemma would have not only been between conflicting expectations of traditional duty, but a question of which course of action would be Doing the Right Thing in an abstract sense.

    I found the way the movie was edited made it difficult to distinguish one sequence from another -- I could not always tell whether a new sequence was begun, or the cut was a continuation of the current overall scene.

    Near the end, as the ronin are gathering for their final assault of Kino's palace, we cut to a brief scene, in which one woman, hidden in a hooded cloak, attacks another woman with a blade while she is sleeping. The sleeping woman awakes and subdues her attacker, pulling back her hood so we can see her face. My partner and I could not figure out which women in the story these were, nor how this fit into the larger plot. Could one of you who has seen this movie multiple times clue me in on what happened here?
  • wj20078 October 2007
    The tale of the 47 ronin is one of the great Japanese tales, forming one of the central traditional bases of the national character. It concerns an actual historical incident that occurred in 1701 to 1703. For three centuries the story has been taught to school children. It teaches the values of loyalty, self-sacrifice, honor, and integrity, even in the face of certain death. Those not familiar with the story can find numerous accounts on the web (e.g., on Wikipedia).

    Sadly this movie version is a disappointment. It simply does not really engage the viewer. Many key points of the story are omitted, even though the movie is 209 minutes! If I did not already know the tale from other sources, I would have had difficulty understanding the context or significance of much of the action. This great epic deserves much better.
  • Intense emotions and an ethic of honor and duty are at war in this medieval Japanese epic. When a lord is provoked into drawing his blade in anger in the emperor's house, law mandates that he kill himself and that his clan be dissolved in disgrace. A number of samurai in his clan make a pact, deciding it better to seek revenge on the one who provoked their lord than to die fighting to defend his castle. To this end, Their leader pretends to have dissipated himself in whores and wine, while he bides time and gathers forces. When the fatal moment arrives, some samurai don't show. Some thrilling action scenes, but way too much talking, too many indistinct characters, and generally very dry and impersonal. Mifune makes a brief appearance. Memorable night battle for the climax.
  • This telling of story of the 47 Ronin has more in common with those 1950's Hollywood biblical epics (Quo Vadis, The Robe, The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur) than it does with the samurai masterpieces of Akira Kurosawa. The impression starts with the choral music heard over the opening credits and remains throughout this very long, unrelentingly solemn movie. The sets and costumes are so spectacular that they make for a very attractive picture visually, but the cinematography and style of direction are very conventional and not particularly imaginative. The acting is good but in a stylized, overdone manner (again like the '50's biblical epics).

    It's a well-made film of an interesting story, worth seeing, but there's nothing really special going on here.