Rentaro Mikuni
Director: Masaki Kobayashi Cast: Rentaro Mikuni
Rentaro Mikuni
, Michiyo Aratama
Michiyo Aratama
, Misako Watanabe
Misako Watanabe
Masaki Kobayashi

Blu-ray (Color / Wide Screen)

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Kwaidan is an impressively mounted anthology horror film based on four stories by Lafcadio Hearn, a Greek-born writer who began his career in the United States at the age of 19 and moved permanently to Japan in 1890 at the age of 40, where he eventually became a subject of the empire and took on the name Koizumi Yakuno. Hearn became a conduit of Japanese culture to western audiences, publishing journalism and then fiction incorporating traditional Japanese themes and characters. "Black Hair," the first tale, concerns a samurai who cannot support his wife; he leaves her for a life of wealth and ease with a princess. Returning years later, he spends the night with his wife in their now-dilapidated house, only to awake to a horrifying discovery which drives him insane. In "The Woman of the Snow" (deleted from U.S. theatrical prints after the film's Los Angeles opening; it is on the DVD version), two woodcutters seek refuge during a snowstorm in what appears to be an abandoned hut. A snow witch appears and kills one of them but lets his partner free. Years later, the survivor meets and married a lovely young woman, only to learn her true identity. The most visually impressive tale is "Hoichi the Earless," in which a blind musician is asked by the ghost of a samurai to play for his late infant lord at a tomb. The monks who house the musician cover him with tattoos to prevent any harm coming to him, but they forget his ears. He returns from the engagement with his ears cut off; however, his misadventure propels him to fame. "In a Cup of Tea" concerns a samurai who is haunted by the vision of a man he sees reflected in his tea. Even after he drinks from the cup, he still sees the man while on guard duty.

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Product Details

Release Date: 10/20/2015
UPC: 0715515158916
Original Release: 1964
Source: Criterion Collection
Region Code: A
Presentation: [Wide Screen, Color]
Sound: [Dolby Digital Mono]
Time: 3:03:00
Sales rank: 77

Special Features

New audio commentary by film historian Stephen Prince; Interview with Kobayashi from 1993, conducted by filmmaker Masahiro Shinoda; New interview with assistant director Kiyoshi Ogasawara; New piece about author Lafcadio Hearn, on whose versions of Japanese folktales Kwaidan is based.; Trailers

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Rentaro Mikuni Samurai
Michiyo Aratama First Wife
Misako Watanabe Second Wife
Keiko Kishi Actor
Tetsuro Tamba Michi
Tatsuya Nakadai Woodcutter
Katsuo Nakamura Hoichi
Ganemon Nakamura Kannai
Joichi Hayashi Yoshitsune
Noboru Nakaya Heinai
Ganjiro Nakamura Head Priest
Takashi Shimura Priest
Jun Tazaki Actor

Technical Credits
Masaki Kobayashi Director
Yoshio Miyajima Cinematographer
Yoko Mizuki Screenwriter
Hisashi Sagara Editor
Toru Takemitsu Score Composer
Shigemasa Toda Art Director
Shigeru Wakatsuki Producer

Customer Reviews