The legendary Japanese tale of the loyal 47 ronin has been filmed countless times, but received perhaps its greatest screen treatment in this epic 1962 version from director Hiroshi Inagaki. As a storyteller, Inagaki possessed a rare ability to create an action film that was both thrilling and intelligent, and these characteristics are present in Chushingura. Inagaki's vision of history is a romantic one, celebrating a time when honor was important, and filling the screen with gorgeous sets and even more gorgeous scenery. But he avoids simplicity in his approach, showing interest in the political dealing that goes on between the various characters and the intricacies of 18th century social customs. In some ways, Inagaki shows too much interest. At times the film slows to a crawl, but oddly enough, Chushingura is almost too short rather than too long. There are an awful lot of characters and story to chronicle, and as such Inagaki never spends as much time with just some of the characters as perhaps he should. With so much attention on such numerous characters, Inagaki has little time for action scenes until the finale, a stunning raid on Lord Kira's home by the loyal samurai. This climactic battle is flawlessly staged and edited, showing Inagaki at the height of his skills and putting most other action films to shame. And as much as Inagaki is nostalgic about the past, he is also critical of Japan's imperial ways, peppering the film with critical comments toward Japanese royalty, comments that probably would not have been allowed before WWII. Hiroshi Inagaki never received the international attention of many of his contemporaries, but Chushingura shows that he was a first-class filmmaker in his own right.