The film tells the story of a rogue samurai, Iemon, who kills a man and marries his daughter. However, he quickly grows tired of the girl and wishes to marry his wealthy mistress instead. Iemon tricks his wife into an adulterous affair at which time he kills both her and the amorous lover. The two return as ghosts and attack Iemon on his wedding night. He goes mad, slaughtering his new bride and her entire family before killing himself. A lasting work of Japanese film history, this pinnacle of the ghost film is considered Nakagawa's masterpiece. Compared with other film adaptations of Tsuruya Nanboku's "Tokaido Yotsuya Ghost Story", the Nakagawa version focuses on the anguish of ridiculed people's desire for love and success. The film is marked by Nakagawa's high aesthetic standards of art direction, lighting and cinematography, as well as originality in directing. Incorporating experimentation with typically Japanese forms of beauty, the film portrays the mental state of the characters in a daring manner, as in the scene where Iemon slashes down Naosuke inside a temple and the tatami mats metamorphose into a swamp. The vivid storytelling is characterized by the long static take of the opening and the imagery of fireworks. The realistic performance by Amachi and Wakasugi displays a humane sorrow.
World Sales: Kokusai Hoei
Screenplay: Onuki Masayoshi, Ishikawa Yoshihiro, based on the play by Tsuruya Nanboku
Cinematographer: Nishimoto Tadashi
Art Director: Kurosawa Haruyasu
Composer: Watanabe Michiaki Ton: Dogen Yuji
Editor: Nagata Shin
Cast: Amachi Shigeru, Wakasugi Katsuko, Emi Shuntaro, Nakamura Ryuzaburo, Kitazawa Noriko
Format, screen ratio: 35mm, 1:2.35, Color
Running time: 76 minutes, 24 frames/sec.
Foto: ©Kokusai Hoei