This is one of Hideo Gosha’s last great movies before entering into his “Women’s Films” stage. Set in the frigid wilderness of Hokkaido during the early days of the Meiji era, this film stands out for its mixture of brutality, sexuality, romance, and bloody violence. Nakadai Tatsuya stars as the brutal warden of Kabato Prison, where the convicts were sentenced to forced labor to build the roads needed to open up the territory. All the elements of his greatest films are here, from vicious catfights to brilliant sword action and a plot that’s filled with twists and turns like no other. —karagarga
Hideo Gosha was born on February 26, 1929, in Tokyo. After graduating with a business degree from Meiji University, Gosha worked for several years as a reporter for Nippon Television. By 30, he moved to Fuji TV where he became Chief Producer and Director. One popular show he produced, Sanbiki no Samurai (Three Outlaw Samurai), caught the eye of Shochiku Studios and he was soon offered a contract.
His first film, also called Three Outlaw Samurai (an adaptation of the television series), premiered in 1964. A brilliant debut, the film not only marks the beginning of Gosha’s distinct style, but also features the first of twelve collaborations with the actor, Tetsuro Tamba (who also appears in The Geisha). Its success opened the door for other television shows that eventually made the transition to the big screen, most notably the Zatoichi series. Throughout the decade, Gosha directed several more critical and commercially viable films, including three films, Gohiki no shinshi (Cash… read more