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Ugetsu Monogatari

Tale of two men in seething 16th-century Japan has a color and panorama which makes this absorbing film fare. The trials of the two men, one a potter (Masayuki Mori) who gets involved with a phantom princess (Machiko Kyo) and the other a merchant (Sakae Ozawa) who yearns to be a Samurai warrior, is unfolded on the teeming tile of the clan wars.

With:
Machiko Kyo Masayuki Mori Kinuyo Tanaka Sakae Ozawa Mitsuko Mito

Tale of two men in seething 16th-century Japan has a color and panorama which makes this absorbing film fare. The trials of the two men, one a potter (Masayuki Mori) who gets involved with a phantom princess (Machiko Kyo) and the other a merchant (Sakae Ozawa) who yearns to be a Samurai warrior, is unfolded on the teeming tile of the clan wars.

One man finally breaks the hold of the phantom princess, who has created a romantic paradise for him, when his longing for his wife and child gets too strong. The other gives up his military armor and glory when he finds his wife (Mitsuko Mito) has been reduced to a prostitute during his absence.

Lensing is rich in tone and resembles old Japanese prints in composition. Direction of Kenji Mizoguchi keeps the complicated proceedings coherent. Editing is fine. Acting is good right down the line. Mori, as the bedeviled potter, and Kyo, as the princess, are excellent. Production value of period settings, mob scenes and eye-catching architecture and costuming are other top assets.

Ugetsu Monogatari

Japan

Production: Daiei. Director Kenji Mizoguchi; Producer Masaichi Nagata; Screenplay Matsutaro Kawaguchi, Yoshikata Yoda; Camera Kazuo Miyagawa; Music Fumio Hayasaka; Art Director Kisaku Itoh

Crew: (B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1953. Running time: 96 MIN.

With: Machiko Kyo Masayuki Mori Kinuyo Tanaka Sakae Ozawa Mitsuko Mito

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