Thursday, October 10, 2013

Chikemuri Takatanobaba / [Blood Spattered Takatanobaba], short digest version, Ichiro Kataoka benshi performance

CHIKEMURI TAKATANOBABA [Il duello a Takata-no Baba / Blood-Splattered Takatanobaba] (Nikkatsu, JP 1927) (condensed version) D, SC, story: Daisuke Ito; DP: Hiromitsu Karasawa; C: Denjiro Okochi (Yasube Nakayama), Enichiro Jitsukawa (Rokuroemon Sugano, zio di/uncle of Nakayama), Harue Ichikawa (domestica/maidservant), Junzaburo Ban (cittadino/townsman); 35 mm (from 16 mm), 427 ft, 7' (16 fps); print source: National Film Center, Tokyo. Japanese intertitles, with English subtitles. Benshi commentary: Ichiro Kataoka; M: John Sweeney, Frank Bockius. Viewed at Teatro Verdi (Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, Pordenone), with e-titles in English and Italian, 10 Oct 2013

Johan Nordström: "Chikemuri takatanobaba (Blood-Splattered Takatanobaba) was originally a feature-length film, but all that remains is this drastically shortened version."

"Yasube Nakayama (played by Denjiro Okochi) is a masterless samurai (ronin), living in the poor section of Edo. He spends his time drunk on sake, and ekes out a living by breaking up fights and then later claiming compensation for his efforts. One day Yasube returns home drunk and finds a letter from his uncle saying that he has been challenged by some samurai to a fight at Takatanobaba. Yasube immediately sobers up, and rushes towards Takatanobaba at breakneck speed in order to try to save his uncle."

"Yasube Nakayama was an actual historical figure, who became a servant to Asano Takuminokami, and later a member of the legendary 47 ronin, the former retainers of Lord Asano who avenged their master’s death after he had been obliged to commit seppuku, and then had to commit suicide themselves."

"The story depicted in Blood-Splattered Takatanobaba is part of the folklore surrounding the samurai in Japan, and has been made into several films over the years. This version established Denjiro Okochi (1898-1962) as one of Japan’s top stars of jidai-geki (period dramas), a position he would hold until the early 1950s." – Johan Nordström

AA: This digest of a wild action picture was made even wilder by the live sound world. The quality of the image is very challenging.

No comments: