According to me, a movie must handle universal themes in order to be called a masterpiece. If not, the film may be good but is more an object of curiosity than a first class work of art. With 'An Actor's Revenge', most of the themes of the film, like revenge or greed, are universal as well as the formal experimentations with the cinemascope format. But I have to say that the Tabuki codes will stay a mystery to me.
It was the Japanese, far more than the Americans (yo, props to Nick Ray none the less), who most radically revolutionized the possibility of 'Scope cinematography. In fact, they practically couldn't leave it alone. You probably cannot find a more sterling example than AN ACTOR'S REVENGE. It is a wholly experimental mainstream anachronism and a prodigious testament to the firework power of images and their relations.
maybe i set my expectations too high but ultimately i found it unwilling to explore its more interesting facets in favor of a rather generic and half-assed revenge plot. still interesting to watch for what could have been and maybe worth watching for that alone.
this one is a truly idiosyncratic movie. the dual roles should not work with this actor, but it is a superb performance, which ichikawa clearly hoaxes out of him. the visuals are beautiful with some of his compositional work, something imamura would be proud of. i love the variation in the soundtrack with some american jazz thrown in. this marks the transitional period of japanese cinema from kurosawa to the new wave