Gate of Hell

1953

Drama / History / Romance

129
IMDb Rating 7.2 10 2,850

Synopsis


Downloaded times
May 28, 2020

Cast

720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
821.08 MB
1280*720
Japanese 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
89 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.49 GB
1920×1080
Japanese 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
89 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by marymorad 10 / 10 / 10

One of the best of all time

I saw this film in 1970 or 1971 in New York and have remembered it ever since. We came in late to a double feature and didn't see the title--I have been unsure of it all these years. It features impressive battle scenes, a heart-wrenching love story and beautiful cinematography. It is also the first film I ever saw that depicted medieval Japanese culture in all its glory. The beautifully photographed compound of the shogun is, by itself, worth the price of admission. There are many interior shots, showing beautiful rooms with sliding screens that figure in the plot. Now I would dearly love to see Gate of Hell again, but apparently it is not available on DVD. Criterion, here is a worthy quest for you!!

Reviewed by sonztwin 10 / 10 / 10

A gorgeous film - even now

I saw this last night on TCM, which, BTW, is a rare treasure in this medium called the "idiot box". Isn't it remarkable that this movie is 53 years old, and it still sparkles? What an accomplishment! It had the ingredients of a truly great film - complex characters that are developed fully and efficiently, great story-telling with attention to details, and good acting - a little stylized, but keep in mind that that impression might be due partially to Westerners unfamiliarity with Japanese culture, and partially to how the definition of "good acting" has evolved. I love the film's nobility and moral rectitude. Those were the days when (and we were in a culture where) "doing the right thing" was the expected norm. It was seen in Moritoh's loyalty at the price of - at least it seems at the time - expediency, which was preceded by Kesa's unflinching sense of duty and willingness to lay down her own life. This is the beauty of Kesa's "soul" that Moritoh found out all-too-late he failed to see, which manifested itself as bookends in the plot, but is in fact the moral center of the movie. Such ideals are no longer frequently or fully embraced these days. Look at how we glorify criminals in shows like The Sopranos and Thief. I also liked how the plot falls together: Kesa's readiness to sacrifice herself at the outset of the story made her self-immolation at the end of the film ring true. The little details: remember the talk of chestnuts when Moritoh first saw Kesa with her aunt? We saw later on those very chestnuts hanging on the swaying trees during Moritoh's unfortunate night time visit. When Wataru and Kesa took what turned out to be their last walk in the garden under a full moon, it was all peace and serenity. The very same setting is transformed sinister and ominous just moments later, with the moon now hidden by clouds, as Moritoh slowly emerges out of the darkness in the background - a truly masterful and memorable scene in the history of cinema. The theme of "folly" pervades the movie: we see a lot of it just from one character, Lord Kiyamori - and he's a top dog and a leader! His son had to advise him to act quickly to quash the uprising when we first see him. He then failed to reward Kesa, who is every bit as deserving as Moritoh of recognition. Even if you chalk that failure up to be culturally driven, we have his Jephthah-like stupidity and arrogance in giving Moritoh pretty much carte-blanche in his wish for a reward. What's more, we have his incessant and insensitive teasing - instrumental in precipitating the tragedy, in that it made the proud Moritoh all the more determined to have Kesa. Was Wataru cowardly, foolish, or both, when he "threw" the race? Lest you missed it, there's the cruel irony of Moritoh's comment after his brother's treachery resulted in his execution, "My brother was a foolish man". Well you proved to be no Solomon, Moritoh. I thought it was a little frustrating to watch Kesa's helplessness when Moritoh blackmailed her. Surely there's another way out, woman! But I suppose that's part of the tragic theme: all the characters had strengths as well as tragic flaws. At the risk of second-guessing the director of a great movie, I felt that he could have kept the identity of the person in bed a secret until the moment of truth, but I'm sure I need to remind myself that this is not meant to be a thriller. I'd like to watch this movie again, maybe along with a movie it reminds me of: Kurosawa's Ran.

Reviewed by lreynaert 10 / 10 / 10

Loyalty

'Gate of Hell' is a story about loyalties. All those who transgress their loyalties, and are beaten or unmasked, are sent to 'Hell' through its 'Gate'. In this movie, the loyalty operates at the social (clan) as well as at the personal level. Rival subjects of the emperor break loyalties by fighting each other for a privileged position at the court. On the other hand, unrestrained passion and sexual harassment of wives of other clan members are also considered as an unacceptable conduct. One of the participants of the yearly 'ceremony of conciliation' among the clans is simply thrown out of the ceremony for his aggressive behavior. Finally, there is also the loyalty of a wife to her husband. Teinosuke Kinugasa's movie shines through its magical mix of color and light, with dark scenes for unrestrained passion and light ones for beauty and self-sacrifice: every frame of every shot is simply a formidable Japanese print. It shines also through the masterful directing and the restraint acting of its main female character. Ultimately, it shines through its treatment of such almighty important themes as the battle between 'good and evil' / 'war and peace' resulting in 'life or death' for its protagonists. While Carl Theodor Dreyer's 'The Passion of Joan of Arc' was a pioneering feature film because of its camera movements and bold focalizing, while Dziga Vertov's 'Man with a Movie Camera' was a pioneering movie because of its brilliant shooting angles, its split screens and its rhythmic 'one by one frame' editing, Teinosuke Kinugasa's 'Gate of Hell' is a pioneering movie because of his magnificent play with light and color, turning it into a grandiose spectacle. He shot an eternal masterpiece. A must see.

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