Taken as a whole: a grotesque display of male power wank fantasy, nauseatingly (but fittingly) fused with Japanese nationalistic whitewashing at its finest. Not a disease unique to Japan, but one which continues to have troubling cultural manifestations... Here in 1966, it's just a joke. If you know anything of the history you will guffaw your way through this. Finale is bushido death cult heroic gibberish.
It's always weird to see Masumura's approach to cinema. You can see the effect of his cinema schools in Italy overflowing here and there, from the soundtrack up to the heavy melodrama. I think there's way better in the same department (war cinema) from other japanese (as well as Italian) directors, although the ending scene is effectively stunning.
Brutally honest film by Japaneses master Yasuzo Masumura. This film is an uncompromising haunting pamphlet against the cruelty and horrors of war. With this deeply depressing, dark and pessimistic movie Yasuzo Masumura achieves a memorable masterpiece. Technically convincing, brilliantly performed, realistic and unforgettable. Highly Recommended!