Director: Kon Ichikawa Cast: Koji Yakusho, Yuko Asano, Bunta Sugawara

DVD (Wide Screen)

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As the Japanese studios were declining in 1969, four legendary directors from that country's "golden age" of cinema -- Kon Ichikawa, Masaki Kobayashi, Keisuke Kinoshita, and of course Akira Kurosawa -- banded together to start their own production company. The financial and critical failure of the studio's first feature, Kurosawa's Dodes'ka-Den (1970), scrubbed all subsequent projects. One of the shelved works was this film, which was adapted by the quartet from Shugoro Yamamoto's "Diary of Town Magistrate" and was originally going to be directed by all four masters. With the passing of Kurosawa and Kinoshita in 1998, directing duties of this almost forgotten script fell to the group's sole survivor: 85-year-old Ichikawa. The film centers on Koheita Mochizuki (played by charismatic leading man Koji Yakusho), a samurai selected by the regional lord to be the magistrate of the particularly lawless district of Horisoto, a place where three such officers disappeared. This appointment arouses more than a little curiosity from the locals; Mochizuki's reputation for liquor and general licentiousness has earned him the nickname Dora-Heita, or "alley cat" (meaning "playboy"). In fact, Mochizuki has carefully cultivated his debauched persona, as he quietly tells his friend Senba (Ryudo Uzaki), who works as district administrator. He exhorts his pal to keep the rumors circulating. When the venerable district council -- who is aghast at Mochizuki's slatternly appearance -- almost votes to remove him, Dora-Heita reveals the lord's signed letter of endorsement giving him absolute authority. His first task is to clean out three powerful gangs who control Horisoto, keeping it awash in prostitution, extortion, gambling, and murder. Though samurais are forbidden to sullen themselves with such riff-raff, he boldly ventures into the prohibited brothel quarters and plays up his libertine persona in order to suss out the real criminals. In the process, he profoundly offends a band of right-thinking young samurais who soon plot to assassinate the heretical Dora-Heita. With almost everyone in the area out to get him, Mochizuki's life is further complicated by the appearance of geisha and former mistress Kosei (Yuko Asano), who demands that he take her back. Told with a sly sense of humor that was common to all four directors, this film is directed with a muscular dynamism that recalls the best of the samurai movies of old, such as Yojimbo (1961) and Harakiri (1963). Dora-Heita was screened at the 2000 Berlin Film Festival.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/10/2007
UPC: 0737187011856
Original Release: 2000
Source: Animeigo
Region Code: 1
Presentation: [Wide Screen]
Sound: [Dolby Digital Stereo]
Time: 1:53:00

Special Features

Theatrical trailers; Image gallery; Program notes

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Koji Yakusho Koheita Mochizuki (Dora-Heita)
Yuko Asano Kosei
Bunta Sugawara Nadahachi
Tsurutaro Kataoka Hanso Yasukawa
Nekohachi Edoya Actor
Renji Ishibashi Actor
Takeshi Kato Actor
Kyoko Kishida Actor
Noboru Mitani Actor
Hideji Otaki Actor
Tsuyoshi Ujiki Actor

Technical Credits
Kon Ichikawa Director,Screenwriter
Yukio Isohata Cinematographer
Yoshinobu Nishioka Production Designer,Producer
Keisuke Kinoshita Screenwriter
Masaki Kobayashi Screenwriter
Akira Kurosawa Screenwriter
Chizuko Osada Editor
Masaya Nakamura Executive Producer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Dora-Heita
1. Waiting [3:38]
2. Strategy [5:46]
3. The Official Meeting [9:04]
4. Horisoto [5:31]
5. The Morning After [4:57]
6. The League of Heroic Gentlemen [6:31]
7. Kosei [6:43]
8. Boss Taju [6:19]
9. Boss Saibei [6:17]
10. Judgment [3:56]
11. Checking In [2:56]
12. A Headstrong Woman [1:25]
13. Ambush! [2:29]
14. Wrong Place, Wrong Time [4:01]
15. Summoning [3:20]
16. Intervention [2:51]
17. Boss Nadahachi [9:26]
18. Worry [1:11]
19. Sentence [4:56]
20. The Traitor Revealed [3:56]
21. Shakedown [7:07]
22. Aftermath [3:51]
23. The Horse With Miso [1:57]
24. End Credits [2:44]

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