Yotsuya Kaidan (1949)

aka The Ghost of Yotsuya
Article 3251 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-14-2010
Posting Date: 7-9-2010
Directed by Keisuke Kinoshita
Featuring Kinuyo Tanaka, Ken Uehara, Haruko Sugimura
Country: Japan
What it is: Part of a Japanese ghost story

A man, hoping to end his financial troubles, is tempted to have his current wife murdered so he can marry into a rich family.

I almost sat through both parts of this movie in one sitting before it occurred to me to check if IMDB split it into two movies, and, lo and behold, they did. Since I use IMDB as my guide in such matters, I decided I would review each movie separately and write separate reviews. Though this puts me in the somewhat awkward position of reviewing only half of a story, that’s not the biggest problem I have here, since it’s another case where I’m watching a movie in a foreign language without English subtitles. Still, I wasn’t totally lost; I’ve seen two other versions of this story, so I know the basic gist of the story. This first half ends with the murder of the wife, so this half really ends before the fantastic content really sets in, though the death of the wife through a deforming poison is certainly on the horrific side. There are some interesting visual touches, but since ninety percent of the movie is involved with the various plot elements that require talking, it’s really not that engaging when watched without understanding the language. It’s also much less explicit than the other versions I’ve seen; you never get a clear look at the wife’s deformity, because the moments it’s on display are pretty fleeting.

Still, I bet no one will be surprised what tomorrow’s movie will be now.

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