The Famous Sword Bijomaru (Meito Bijomaru)
Dir. Kenji Mizoguchi. 1945, 65 mins. 35mm print from the National Film Center (Tokyo). With Isuzu Yamada, Shotaro Hanayagi, Ichijiro Oya, Eijiro Yanagi, Kan Ishii. Like The 47 Ronin, this tale of a nineteenth-century swordmaker was commissioned as a morale booster by the military government, although its emphasis on female fortitude looks forward to the films that Mizoguchi would make once his artistic freedom had nominally been restored. Sasae is engaged to her father’s killer, but she has other ideas, recruiting a blacksmith to forge her a weapon suitable for revenge.
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