Master of drama and value-conflicts both in the domestic and collective realm, Mizoguchi delivers here not only a stunning drama but also a profound essay on aesthetics where the relevance of Plato and Aristotle surface in a Japanese context! The triumphant show is followed by fatalistic suicide, which itself, cunningly, signals the dawn of a new era for the arts. Tanaka, as always, is the motor of this superb film!
A fascinating film - a real departure in many ways for both its director and star - based on actual characters who, round the turn of the century, brought Western theater to the Japanese stage. Doubtless it pleased the Occupation authorities, yet there's not a totally uncritical view of the effect of newfangled ideas on the Japanese character. And, as one expects from the maestro, it's beautiful as can be.