This elegant film [from the story by Ogai Mori] utilizes 11th-century Japan. It tells the story of a noble mother and her two children who are separated by river pirates. The latter sells the children to a tyrant, and the mother to a brothel. Film builds up a fine, well-ordered story as the children grow up but never forget their mother who tries desperately to escape to them. Legend, adventure and poetry fuse to make this engrossing, if overlong, film material.

This elegant film [from the story by Ogai Mori] utilizes 11th-century Japan. It tells the story of a noble mother and her two children who are separated by river pirates. The latter sells the children to a tyrant, and the mother to a brothel. Film builds up a fine, well-ordered story as the children grow up but never forget their mother who tries desperately to escape to them. Legend, adventure and poetry fuse to make this engrossing, if overlong, film material.

Director Kenji Mizoguchi has given this a lacquered, fetching mounting. The big cast is all admirable. Kinuyo Tanaka is superb as the strong but self-effacing mother. Her two children are well played by Yoshiaki Hanayagi as the son and Kyoko Kagawa as the daughter. Lensing has the beauty and plasticity of most Japanese product. Editing is fine.

Sansho Dayu

Japan

Production

Daiei. Director Kenji Mizoguchi; Producer Masaichi Nagata; Screenplay Fuji Yahiro, Yoshikata Yoda; Camera Kazuo Miyagawa; Music Fumio Hayasaka; Art Director Kisaku Itoh

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1954. Running time: 120 MIN.

With

Kinuyo Tanaka Kyoko Kagawa Eitaro Shindo Yoshiaki Hanayagi Ichiro Sugai Masao Chimizu
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