Now considered a classic, Nakagawa's adaptation of Nanboku Tsuruya's kabuki play went unhailed by critics at the time but was popular enough to prompt at least three remakes in short order (by Tai Kato in 1961, Shiro Toyoda in 1965 and Issei Mori in 1969). With the connivance of the servant Naosuke (Emi), destitute ronin Iemon (Amachi) marries O-Iwa (Wakasugi) after secretly murdering her disapproving father. Two years later they are living in poverty in Edo with a baby. Desperate for money, Iemon courts O-Ume (Ikeuchi) for her father's wealth and plots to kill O-Iwa after framing her as an adulterer. But O-Iwa is hideously disfigured by poison and kills herself and the baby - and then returns as a ghost to exact vengeance. Concisely plotted and fast-paced, the film somehow reconciles classical elegance with Nakagawa's patented shock effects. Both the remarkable use of sound and the colour expressionism influenced many other directors. Nakagawa's finest hour.
Cast and crew
Masayoshi Onuki, Yoshihiro Ishikawa