No, not a hagiography (as one might expect) about Seishu Hanaoka and his famed historical accomplishments in medical surgery, but rather a Kaneto Shindo screenplay which focuses upon the plight of Edo era women in the family household,
each struggling to bolster and elevate the male counterpart, while effacing themselves in deferential subordination to men as a sole societal purpose, allegiance and duty.
About an hour into it I was sure it would turn out a masterpiece. Wakao Ayoko is the hard-luck wife of Ichikawa Raizo's monomaniac doctor; her mother-in-law the village beauty she's idolized all her life - only to find that the woman (Takamine Hideko sans eyebrows) is a rather sinister customer. Unfortunately the movie veers from the women's duel to duller Raizo's quest for anesthetic and interest dribbles away.