Chushingura


3h 24m 1963
Chushingura

Brief Synopsis

A young lord attempts to combat the official corruption endemic to the Shogunate, only to be placed in an impossible conflict of duties. He refuses to bribe a Chancelor who is responsible for teaching him the etiquette to receive the Shogun's envoys. The Chancelor goads him into drawing his sword when the envoys are present, a crime punishable by death. The young lord's vassals are ordered to break up his estate, and his samurai to disband. To obey the Shogun, they must follow orders, but to be loyal to their master and to elemental fairness, they must revenge him. The conflict of obligations is the essential dilemma of Japanese society, which is why this is their national epic. The story is richly woven. Worth seeing just for the supremely gorgeous art works, buildings and costumes of 18th century Japan.

Film Details

Also Known As
47 Samurai
Release Date
Jan 1963
Premiere Information
New York opening: 3 Oct 1963
Production Company
Toho Co.
Distribution Company
Berkeley Cinema Guild; Toho International, Inc.
Country
Japan
Location
Japan
Screenplay Information
Based on a Kabuki play-cycle Kanadehon Chushingura by Izumo Takeda, Senryu Namiki and Shoraku Miyoshi (Osaka, 1748).

Technical Specs

Duration
3h 24m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

In March of 1701, the incorruptible young Lord Asano of Ako is appointed to receive and entertain imperial envoys calling on the shogun in Edo. Lord Kira, his supervisor, expects graft payments for every bit of advice, but Asano will have no part of bribery. Kira goads Asano beyond endurance, and the young lord finally draws his sword and wounds Kira. Asano is ordered to commit harakiri and his fief is forfeited. Chamberlain Oishi, Asano's chief retainer, calls a meeting of Asano's men, and they swear to avenge the injustice to their late master. To insure his family's safety, Oishi divorces his wife and sends her away with their children. Oishi then moves to Kyoto and descends to a life of debauchery to mislead Kira, who surrounds himself with bodyguards, fearing a vendetta. Twenty-one months later, after much spying on both sides, the group of 47 avengers acquire the plans of Kira's mansion, complete their plot, and attack. After decapitating Kira they march to Lord Asano's grave where the populace greets them as heroes. After deliberation, the sentence of death is passed on the 47 retainers, but in recognition of their loyalty to their lord and the approval of the populace, they are not executed like common criminals but are allowed to die by their own hands as befits true samurai.

Film Details

Also Known As
47 Samurai
Release Date
Jan 1963
Premiere Information
New York opening: 3 Oct 1963
Production Company
Toho Co.
Distribution Company
Berkeley Cinema Guild; Toho International, Inc.
Country
Japan
Location
Japan
Screenplay Information
Based on a Kabuki play-cycle Kanadehon Chushingura by Izumo Takeda, Senryu Namiki and Shoraku Miyoshi (Osaka, 1748).

Technical Specs

Duration
3h 24m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Released in Japan in 1962 as a 2-part film; combined running time: 204 min. Rereleased in uncut version in 1966 by the Berkeley Cinema Guild. According to a U. S. source, film was subtitled 47 Samurai.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Fall October 3, 1963

Released in United States September 10, 1990

Re-released in United States 1966

Shown at Los Angeles Festival (Modern Masters of Japanese Cinema) September 10, 1990.

This is the 39th film adaptation of the Kabuki play which was first performed in Osaka in 1748. It was produced for the 30th anniversary of the creation of Toho Company.

Tohoscope

Re-released in United States 1966 (original version)

Released in United States September 10, 1990 (Shown at Los Angeles Festival (Modern Masters of Japanese Cinema) September 10, 1990.)

Released in United States Fall October 3, 1963